September is usually known for being back-to-school month, but even those of us who are not in school can benefit from some organizational tips every now and then right?
This month, I will be posting tips each Tuesday for how to get back on track with time management, goal planning, clutter clearing and more. First up, time management!
Time management is all about self-discipline, which means that like patience, it is not something which can be learned overnight. It takes practice and trial and error to figure out what works best for you, your schedule, and your learning styles.
Below are some tips for time management that I’ve incorporated into my life which you can use as a jumping off point for starting your own.
Writing a to-do list is the easiest way to get a sense of what tasks you have to complete. Most people choose to write lists of what they need to do on a daily basis, but I recommend that you go ahead and add things you have to do this week, this month, even this year.
Then, highlight what you think are the top five items on the list that are time sensitive (what needs to be done today or sometimes his week) and then narrow that down to the three most pressing tasks. Do those first. Cross them off when completed, and keep narrowing down from there.
If your to-do list is long and laborious, restrict the time you spend checking your phone and logging into social media. If you aren’t someone who can leave your phone in your bag or a drawer and simply forget about it (who are these people?) set time limits for when and how long you can check it.
Think about it like this, if you restrict yourself to only checking your phone every two hours and for only fifteen minutes, there will likely be a lot more new content on your apps to browse than if you are checking your phone every ten minutes, right? There is nothing wrong with using it as a reward system. If it works, it works.
- Four is the Magic Number
Did you know that the average person only completes 4-5 hours of work per day? The rest of the day is taken up by breaks, meetings, emailing, commuting, etc. Plan your days in hour-long blocks of time, capping it at five hours max. If you can visualize a realistic amount of time it will take to complete the tasks on your to-do list, you’ll be better prepared to take advantage of that time rather than waste it.
Focus on the things that matter right now. If it’s September 1 and you have a bill that is due on September 15, wait until it is closer to the due date to pay it. You won’t be making the best use of your time if you don’t work to complete tasks that are time sensitive today, by focusing on the future. Keep your perspective when planning.
- Easy Does It
This tip is a little controversial, but I think one of the best ways to manage your time effectively is to complete easy tasks first. Roll together those three or for items on your to-do list that you can knock out in an hour or less and do them first. Some people argue that it’s best to tackle the hardest tasks first, and for some people that might just be the challenge they need to get going. In my experience, the action of completing a few easy tasks and crossing them off my list gives me a boost, knowing I’ve already gotten a few things done, and can move forward with the more difficult or time consuming ones.
What are your tips for time management? What have you found works best (or worst)?