Simple Time Management Tips That Work
In this post, you’ll find tips and insights to look at time management from multiple perspectives. First, we will go over questions and considerations. We will then go over some powerful but simple time management strategies. Finally, at the end of the post, you’ll find some resources to help you manage your time more effectively.
Let’s get started
Why Time Management Is Important:
Time management is a very important part of your personal and professional life.
Every day we have 24 hours, that doesn’t change. The factor that varies is you. Time is one of the issues everyone in the world has an equal share of.
One search query that comes up related to time management is, why is time management so important? I think it’s important because once you use your time, that time is spent, and there is nothing in the world to give back the time you used.
Many of us are mindful of the money we spend, and we know once we are out of money, we will have problems and need to think of ways to get more. Therefore, we are focused on our income, the money we have and spending wisely.
People aren’t as focused on the time they spend as much as they are on the money they spend. Below are a few reasons why.
- Time is given to us freely. You don’t have to work for it, and when you get something free, it’s easy to take for granted.
- You can’t work harder or smarter to acquire more time, so people aren’t focused on it.
- Because you get the same amount of time every day, you expect it, you know it’s coming and you don’t worry about it.
When you focus on time, you begin to change. Let’s look at a few of the issues you may experience.
- You start to appreciate the time you have.
- You’ll stop wasting your time.
- You’ll start to question yourself, for example, is this the best use of my time.
- You’ll get more things completed in less time.
Let’s look at an eye-opening exercise.
Suppose you were told you will live until you are 100 years old. What would you do with your time?
In contrast to living until you are a hundred, you are told you have 90 days to live. Do you think you would manage every minute you had? Wouldn’t you think twice before doing anything that isn’t a practical use of you’re time?
It’s important to use your time wisely and become aware of the time you waste.
Is Time Management a Skill?
Time management is a skill. It’s a skill you will want to develop and use daily. A big change can come from a few simple steps to manage the use of your time.
Self-motivated people work on many skills to make their lives productive, easy to manage and to achieve the success they are looking for. Time management should be at the top of the list because you will need to manage your time to do well and achieve the success you’re looking for.
A skill is something you can learn. Time management is no exception, and it’s one skill you will want to practice and use every day.
What Is a Waste of Time?
Let’s look at what’s considered wasting time.
Would you consider the following activities a waste of time?”
- Watching TV
- Spending time going out with friends
- Laying in the sun
- Spending a day to relax and do nothing
You could answer either way. I would say no to all the above because relaxing and using time for friends and family is important.
The way I see it, wasted time is spending time on something you don’t want to do without benefiting from that activity.
So, for example, a lot of people don’t want to go to work. But, because their living depends on their income, they have to go to work. So they are benefiting by doing something they don’t want.
You will know when you’re wasting time because of the way you feel. If you are participating in an activity and enjoying yourself, then it’s not wasting time. On the other hand, if you spend time on an activity you enjoy but feel guilty about it, then that’s something for you to think about.
Your time is for you, and it’s up to you to decide how you want to spend it.
Time Management Strategies:
In this section, we’ll go over simple and condensed tips, insights, and strategies you can use to significantly improve how you manage your time.
Let’s have a look at each.
Scheduling Your Time:
How you schedule your time will make an impact on your productivity. When you schedule your day, you have set a target, and it’s a good way to get everything finished.
Scheduling can be performed in a variety of ways. You can have a simple to-do list. You can have a detailed schedule that will give you a notification from your smartphone.
Let’s look at a simple time management strategy:
Every day you have 24 hours. So, let’s start subtracting the time most people use daily.
You need 8 hours to sleep, which leaves us with 16 hours.
Let’s take out 9 hours for work, Including your commuting time.
That leaves us with 7 hours a day for family, leisure, and the issues we take care of during our day.
From this point of view, there is a lot of time to play with during each day. But if you have noticed, there are many gaps and a lot of room for improvement. My example shows your day by hours. If you schedule by the minute, you have a lot more room for those small tasks. Also, adding time for completing the task allows better planning.
- 9:00 am – 9:05 am – Check email.
- 9:10 am – 9:25 am – Run the numbers report, analyze and email operations.
- 9:30 am – 9:45 – Attend daily operation meeting.
- 9:50 am – 10:00 am – Update budget entries.
As you can see, when I schedule my tasks by the minute, I can get many small tasks completed within the hour. I have included a start and end time, plus I left 5 minutes between each task in case something takes a few extra minutes.
When you schedule your day by minutes, you’ll be able to cram in those small tasks, and you’ll be able to stay on track because everything is laid out in small achievable steps.
Depending on your schedule, you will benefit by preparing in advance and adjusting as necessary.
If you have a different schedule every day, you will want to update it daily; otherwise, create a template to go through your schedule like a checklist.
Time Blocking Method:
Time blocking is another method of scheduling your time. Instead of using the method above, you split your day into blocks. Each block is used to complete specific tasks.
When scheduling, consider the times you are most productive. Match the most important tasks when you operate at your peak performance. Schedule the less important tasks when you’re not as productive.
Let’s look deeper into your patterns of productivity next.
Learn Your Patterns of Productivity:
Productivity is affected by “Peak Timing” and “How You Process Tasks.” Let’s have a look at each:
The time of day where we are most productive varies by person. For example, some people are more productive in the morning, some in the evening, others are most productive in between. Therefore, it’s important to understand your peak performance timing to tackle your most important tasks during that period.
Will you always take care of your most important tasks when you are most productive? Probably not. Issues will come up, and you will get interrupted. Still, when you understand your most productive time, you can schedule your important tasks for that time.
Let’s look at an example:
Suppose one of your most important tasks is writing content for your newsletter. You have identified your peak timing as 7:00 am to 10:00 am. Moving forward, you will create your newsletter content during this time. The quality of your content and the speed at which you complete it will improve because you are working on these tasks when you are at your best.
How You Process Tasks:
Some people work best when they are focused on one task at a time. Others need to switch back-and-forth or have multiple things going on at once to keep them engaged.
Is it better to work on one task at a time or multiple things at once? The answer to that is, there is no better way, only what works best for you.
If you’re the type of person who is better at focusing on one task at a time, you’ll be less productive when given multiple things to do at once.
If you’re a multitasker and only working on one job, you may get bored and become less productive.
Understand how you operate best and schedule your time according to your best productivity patterns. For more on this topic, see my article on Understanding and Using Your Personal Operating Peak (POP)
Split Large Projects Into Smaller Pieces:
Large projects can take up most of your time. Especially if you’re the type of person that works on one task at a time. If you focus on one project, it’s difficult to get to other work because your effort is going into this project.
One way to get around this is to split your project into smaller tasks to complete in one session. If you can’t finish the split task in one session, you can split it up again using markers. Then, just set up a simple document that allows you to continue where you left off.
Distractions are one of the key issues that reduce productivity and take away from the time you have each day. A few of the more common distractions include:
- Social Media
- Personal Email
- Chatting with Coworkers
- Extended breaks
When you’re on a tight schedule, distractions can easily throw you off track. So avoid them as much as possible.
One key point to avoid diversions is to change your thinking. Recognize distractions as something that is holding you back and stealing time away from you.
Be Aware of the Time Your Spending:
Often you get so involved in a task that you forget how long you’ve been working on it. Sometimes it’s a good thing, like when you’re in the zone.
One way around this is to set a timer for the task you’re working on using your smartphone. Before you start a new task, set a timer for a reminder that you need to move on to the next task.
This way, you’ll get a gentle reminder when time is up; you don’t have to worry about how long you’ve been working. Instead, let your phone do all the work for you.
Learn To Say “No” More Often:
On those days when people ask you to do things for them, don’t you feel like you haven’t accomplished anything for yourself? Doing other people’s tasks takes a lot away from your own work. That’s not to say we shouldn’t be helpful, but if it’s a constant request, you can politely say I don’t have the time. My schedule is full for the day. If you do this numerous times, people won’t depend on you. They’ll get the hint and will think twice before asking you again.
If you allow people to depend on you, then it’s partially your fault that you can’t get your work finished because you’re doing things for other people. You have to become part of the solution, and that solution is to say “No,” more often.
Avoid Office Gossip:
When coworkers gossip, it can take a lot of time away from the tasks you’re working on. Sessions can go on for hours. It’s a time steeler, and nothing good can come out of it.
When you sense the gossip session going on, you can avoid it by indulging in your work and get busy. If you avoid gossip numerous times, people won’t include you in upcoming gossip sessions. To tell you the truth, you’re probably better off.
Setting priorities is an excellent way to get organized. When you set your priorities ahead of time, you organize your tasks on a conscious and subconscious level.
Have you ever noticed that when you make a to-do list, and everything is written down clearly, you usually always get your list completed? When you plan and organize ahead of time, you find ways to get things done.
Whether setting priorities, daily or weekly, it’s an important part of time management, ensuring your most important tasks are completed first.
Priorities are not set in stone. You can change them as needed. Whether you’re using a time management app or an excel spreadsheet, you can sort your items on your list of things to do by priority. When you add or delete an item, the list is updated according to priority.
You have to do many things during your day, and sometimes you can’t get to all of them. What you can do is delegate tasks. When you have the luxury of delegating, you can spend more time on important issues, especially those you can only do.
Delegating to one person could double your work output. Imagine if you could delegate to a group of people. How much more could you accomplish? Becoming good at delegation is a skill you will want to build and use as much as possible.
It’s important to note that you only delegate tasks to people that are competent in those tasks. You don’t want to delegate something to someone that is not qualified. The goal is to manage your time without compromising the quality of the outcome.
Take Regular Breaks
Taking regular breaks can help you get more work done because you are re-energizing. Have you ever noticed when working on a problem, sometimes after a break, you find a solution that comes to you? It’s because your mind is always working. When you take a break, your mind is processing a solution in the background.
Sometimes people will skip a break when they’re behind to get more done, but you’re struggling when you don’t take that break, and you need that little time away. Imagine working in an intense labor position. Would you be able to keep working for eight hours nonstop without a break? You would probably pass out, so just as it is important to give your physical body a break, it’s important to take a mental break as well.
Organize Your Work Area
You could waste countless hours every day if you needed to search for every little thing. Suppose your work area isn’t organized and your desk is piled up with paperwork, and you have clutter over clutter. In that case, your productivity will diminish, and your frustration will rise. This is the same for your computer. If your files are all on your desktop, you’ll have difficulty locating the files you need.
An organized workspace saves hours because you know where everything is. In addition, you can get what you need and put things away in a matter of seconds compared to having no organizational system in place.
Organizing your workspace is a simple task. Once you have a system, then it’s a matter of creating a habit to put things away in their proper place and make adjustments as needed.
Set Your Focus on the Task at Hand
When you are focused, the quality and speed of your work improve, compared to thinking of other things while working.
Before starting on any task, make it a point to forget about everything else and focus only on the job at hand. It may feel weird because you’re not used to doing this. Make it a habit, and soon you won’t have to think about it, and it will come naturally.
Time Management Tools To Help Keep You on Track
There are many tools on the market to help people manage their time and improve productivity. It’s important to take advantage of the tools out there. Whether it’s a daytime planner, software, or an app on your phone, take some time to explore what’s available and choose something that works well for you.
Time Management Apps and Desktop Software
You can use many time management programs on your smartphone or desktop computer.
For any app or program, it takes a bit of effort to set up and get into the habit of using it. Once you use the program, you will find it easier and may wonder why you didn’t get it sooner.
I would suggest selecting a program that syncs on your phone and computer.
For the latest time management tools, see the top search results on Google
Time Management Planners
Suppose you would rather use a book to plan your day. In that case, there are many planners on the market designed specifically to help you manage and organize your day. There are options for the look and feel of your planner as well as the content and layout.
For the latest time management planners, see the top Google search results.
Time Management Games
If you want to take a laid-back approach to learn time management, you can learn while playing games designed to enhance your time management skills.
For the latest time management games, see the top Google search results.
Time Management Books
Naturally, you can learn from books. If you enjoy reading, why not check out the top time management books on the market today. If you don’t have time to read, you can use audiobooks on time management. Audible is a great company that offers the best-selling audiobooks. Here’s a link for books and audiobooks related to time management on Amazon.
We have reached the end of this post. Takeaways include how time is valuable because you can’t acquire more; you can only spend it wisely. You can’t control time; you can control how you use it! So, the choice is yours. You can practice time management to get the most out of your time!