Time management interruptions are one of the biggest time thieves in your life. You may not have actually tallied how many minutes or hours have been stolen from your day by other people or situations barging into your day.
Wouldn’t a couple of extra hours in the day be helpful? Unfortunately, we are all limited to 24 hours and have to work within those hours.
Instead of wishing for more time, there are ways to make the most of the hours available by practicing these practical time management tips.
25 PRACTICAL TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS
1. Build time into every aspect of your day.
You will never have a single day that’s not interrupted by something unexpected. This is usually what throws people off course. It can break your concentration, making it harder for you to get the flow back.
If you’re at work and someone pops in for “just a minute,” you’ll notice that it always turns into a lot longer. Before you know it, half an hour to an hour will have passed and you can’t get that time back. Allocate a specific amount of time (say 5 minutes) and at the end of five minutes, if the other person is still there, say, “I’m sorry, but my time is up and I have to get back to this.” If you respect your time, others will, too.
2. Plan your day the night before.
This will help you manage your time if you know where you have to start and what you have to accomplish that day.
3. Plan your phone conversations.
Phone calls can be a huge time waster. But if you plan your conversations before you make the call, this helps you stay in control of how long the conversation lasts.
Most people don’t want to risk sounding rude, but if someone calls you and you need to get off the phone, there are several ways you can end a phone conversation politely.
It’s okay to tell someone you can’t talk at the moment and will have to get back to them or say that you’re in a time crunch and have to go
4. Technology Interruptions
Technology interruptions such as email or social media can easily take up hours of your day because it’s easy to get sucked into playing a game while you’re handling something business or personal-related online.
If being on social media is a must for you, let it be a scheduled interruption. Add it to your daily calendar or use your lunch hour. If you have to, use an alarm on your smartphone or set an egg timer so that you’re made aware of the end time of this distraction.
5. Prioritizing Your Time
There are billions of people and billions of things that have to get done each day. But there’s only one you and you can’t do it all. So you have to prioritize what gets done and what gets moved to another day or delegated to others.
6. Evaluate each day’s to-do list.
Look at your day’s to-do list and begin your day by starting with the most important item on your list.
When you do the important tasks first and finish them, it gives you a feel-good release of hormones and it makes you feel more energized and more like tackling other items on your list.
Plus, you get to see that you’re making progress. If you start with the easiest task or the fastest task and put off the most important task, there’s a chance you may not get to it by the time the day ends.
7. Refuse opportunities that will take up too much of your time.
You can’t be involved in every activity and you can’t attend every single meeting that you’d like to. You’ll end up overworked and frazzled.
8. Get your rest.
If you push yourself to go beyond what you should do by cutting back on sleep, this will eventually catch up to you. When you lose sleep, it can cause you to lose focus.
9. Take care of yourself in other ways, too.
Make sure that you get the exercise that you need. Taking a break from personal and work responsibilities gives your mind a chance to be refreshed and come back to the task with a fresh outlook.
10. Take time off.
Some people haven’t had a vacation in years – not because they can’t afford it – but because they don’t feel like they have the time.
11. Know that it’s okay not to do it all.
You don’t have to accomplish everything in one day. Instead, concentrate on what’s right in front of you that has to be done first. Get that finished and then move on with the next item.
12. Give everything you need to do a time limit.
Whether you’re a perfectionist or not, this is a good rule of thumb for anyone looking for better time management. Open-ended tasks have a tendency to pile up because there’s no finish line.
13. Don’t schedule anything back to back.
Like your body, your brain can’t go full speed ahead on something without needing a time out every so often. In between your to-do list tasks, take a break and do something enjoyable – or do nothing at all.
14. Divide all of your tasks up
Divide your tasks between your personal and professional life by hours, days, months, seasons, or years. For example, if you know that every fall the gutters on your home have to be cleaned from the leaves that fell, you’ll want to put some time for that task on your schedule.
If you know that every year, there’s a Christmas party at work and you’ll need to bring something as well as show up, put that on your calendar, too. If you own a business that has seasonal items, you’ll want to schedule to take care of releasing those products, press releases, or email newsletters ahead of time. You don’t want to wait until December to talk about December projects.
15. Look over your to-do list – and cut it down.
Most people end up with poor time management because their to-do list has too many items on it. That’s because we all like to achieve things and even the possibility of achieving things makes us feel good.
16. Forget the elaborate organizational systems.
An organizational system should enhance your life, not detract from it. Don’t overcomplicate your organization system. Invest in simple solutions and watch how it transforms the way you manage your time and act in a more productive manner.
17. Don’t procrastinate.
We don’t like to do the things we don’t like to do. It’s as simple as that. When you get the most difficult tasks over with, they’re done and you have that sense of satisfaction that it’s now behind you.
18. Group similar items together
For example, do the banking, post office needs, and any medication pickups on the same day. Driving can be a big leak in your time management success.
19. Do the same at the office.
You can do the same when it comes to work tasks. Things that have to be done every week can be grouped by days and according to difficulty and length of tasks.
20. Have a calendar for both home and office.
Keep it where you can see it every day. You can put it on the wall or on your desk. The ones with the large blocks that enable you to write appointments in them work best.
This way, you can see your day at a glance and your week and month as well. These larger calendars often work better for time management than the smaller ones you can keep tucked away.
21. Don’t waste time.
There are ways to find time. Don’t waste the time you have while waiting in a doctor’s office or while exercising. If you like to use a treadmill, you can get one that has a desk so that you can take care of something that has to be dealt with.
22. Realize that not everything that seems important is.
Look at your life and stop doing the things that aren’t important that drain your time. If something isn’t a matter of you being happy and succeeding personally or professionally, then it’s not important.
23. Run ahead, not behind.
When you get behind schedule, it can make you feel a lot of pressure and it adds stress to your life. Try to get things done ahead of time because this gives you a buffer in time management.
24. Delegating is a great way to help with time management.
Most people like to do things themselves because they know then that the job is done correctly. But if you do the things that others can do, it’s draining your time.
25. Deal with emails the right way.
Manage your time wisely with email by setting aside a specific time to deal with email and setting a time limit on how long you’ll take responding to the messages.
If they’re not important, don’t save them to look at later because they’ll only pile up in your inbox. If your life allows you to, hire an assistant to deal with handling your email.
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