Our attitude is the mental window through which we see the world . What we think throughout the day becomes an integral part of our brain. And then it takes the form of our attitude. Humans with…
Make the most of your time, get more done, and reach your goals with these 8 amazing time management strategies.
First of all, what is time management? Thanks to Wikipedia, we have the following definition: time management is the process of planning and exercising conscious control of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity.
That’s a nice definition. But how do we apply this to our lives? What are specific time management strategies that we- as normal, everyday people- can use to make the most of our lives?
This is a subject near and dear to my heart. I used to be busy all the time. Crazy busy. But I never felt like I was getting anything done.
I had the same 24 hours that everyone else did. Why was I rushing around, but still not making progress towards my goals? It was because I had poor time management skills. I was confusing the concept of “busy” with “productive.” This was wasting my life one busy day at a time.
Then I discovered an amazing goal setting system and the concept of goals vs. systems. With those two things combined, I’ve achieved more in the last two years than the 10 previous years combined. And as I learn more about success, what works, and what doesn’t- I become even more productive. It’s an amazing process that I want you to experience.
Everyone gets the same 24 hours a day. But some people completely rock it! While others get nothing done. And wonder what happened to the day. Good time management allows you to complete more in a shorter period of time, reduces stress, and leads to success.
What are some time management strategies that you can apply to your life?
How effective is your to-do list? Do you have a prioritized list that helps you get things done? Or is it an endless list of things you don’t do and feel guilty about?
Having a to-do list doesn’t mean you’re going to be productive. You need to have an effective one. There are multiple ways to make your to-do list more effective.
2. Set Goals
One of the biggest time management strategies you need to start is setting goals.
You start with a big goal and break it down, step-by-step. Define your yearly goal. You break that down into quarterly milestones and tasks. Then you attack the first quarter and break it down into months. Finally, you take the current month and figure out what specific actions you need to take this week to achieve your goal. You continue the process through the entire year.
3. Beat Procrastination
Procrastinating is one of the biggest stumbling blocks in effective time management. Whether we do it consciously or unconsciously, there are tasks that we are avoiding. However, we don’t have to fall into the procrastination trap. By recognizing it and taking action, we can stop being one of those people who always procrastinate.
4. Activity Priority Matrix
First of all, what is an activity priority matrix? (Isn’t that a mouthful?)
In the activity priority matrix, you define the level of effort a task requires (on a scale from 1–10). And the impact of the task (on a scale from 1–10).
Then you chart it on a graph. Here’s an image of how the graph is divided into four sections.
As you can see, there are four categories.
5. Stop Multitasking
Along with focusing on only one task at a time, you can also set a timer. Setting a time limit helps you become more focused and efficient. It also helps you not to get distracted by social media or phone calls. You’ve got a deadline!
Batch your tasks. Set aside a certain amount of time to answer e-mails (for example). Again, set a timer. When you’re done, you’re done. Don’t be popping in your inbox every hour.
6. Give Up on Perfection
This was a serious issue in my life and one I’ve worked hard to overcome.
Not everything is going to be perfect. A flip on the 80/20 rule is be satisfied with 80% done. Keep the big picture in mind, don’t get hung up on small details.
It can be hard at first. I’ve been there and had to fight to say “this is good enough even though it’s not perfect.” But giving up on perfection has saved me countless hours. And has lowered my stress level.
7. Know Thyself
Are you a morning person? If so, get up an hour earlier than everyone else and knock those tasks out of the ballpark. Or are you a night owl? If so, get the kids to bed early and use this most productive time of the day to get things done.
Knowing your body’s natural cycles will help you take the best advantage of your peak time.
Plan tasks that don’t require a lot of thought (such as replying to e-mails) during times that you know you’re not at your peak efficiency.
8. Do a Time Audit
Get out a sheet of grid paper with 100 blocks. Or design your own spreadsheet on your computer.
Your day starts with 1,440 minutes. Assume you’re going to sleep about 7 & 1/2 hours. That will leave us with an even 1,000 minutes.
For the ease of viewing things, let’s break those into 10-minutes blocks. So you’re standing there looking at 100 little blocks, 10-minutes each, that you have to “spend” throughout the day. So you don’t need to track sleep (we already allotted time for that). But when you’re awake, keep track of what you’re doing each 10 minutes.
In one week, you have 168 hours.
• We’re going to give 7 hours a night to sleep. That leaves us 119.
• Let’s give another 4 hours a week to grooming- brushing teeth, showers, etc. Now we’re down to 115.
• Let’s give 14 hours a week to cooking and eating. That’s 2 hours a day dedicated to that! More than generous. We’re down to 100.
So all your time that isn’t dedicated to sleeping, grooming, cooking/eating, you keep track of what you’re doing. How are you spending each hour? Write it down on the worksheet.
Use the worksheet below to track your life and see if you’re spending your time on important things. Or if things like Facebook are stealing blocks from your life that you could be working towards your goals.
If you don’t want to track it on paper, there are apps for that! I used to use an app called “Eternity” to log into and out of tasks. It made fancy charts and showed me how I was REALLY spending my time. I now limit my Facebook usage.
Apply These Time Management Strategies
Now that you’ve learned about some time management strategies, it’s time to apply them to your life.
Just knowing about them isn’t going to achieve anything. You have to work hard to include these strategies in your life.
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