Updated: Jan 20
Time is the one thread that runs through all of our lives. Whether you're always early for an event, arrive as scheduled, or prefer to be fashionably late, you're probably also watching the clock. Wouldn't you love more time in your day to squeeze in more activities?
So how can you get more hours out of your day?
Consider these time management tips to enhance your productivity:
1. Preview your schedule for the day the first thing in the morning. Use your calendar effectively and you'll be able to spend your time more judiciously.
With practice, you'll learn to recognize which tasks need more time to be completed and which tasks' scheduled time can be shortened.
2. At work, be prepared if you're responsible for leading a meeting. Write the meeting agenda in advance.
Stick to the time allotted for each agenda item.
3. Keep your focus on the task at hand.
If you need to finish writing a report, stay with it until the report is completed.
4. Take active steps to screen out distractions.
If you work better with soft music playing in the background, arrange to listen to your tunes while you complete your tasks. If you're on the job, close your office door to deter people from stopping in to say, "Hi," or ask a quick question.
5. Stand up.
If someone calls you into their office for a minute to get your opinion on an issue, avoid sitting down. Impromptu meetings are shorter when at least one of you stands.
6. Have confidence about limiting chitchat at work.
Don't be afraid to tell people you can't talk right at the moment. Rather than getting perturbed, your associates may praise your work ethic of finishing your projects before taking time to chitchat. You're also setting a great example for the other employees.
7. Get comfortable with saying "No." Being assertive is the hallmark of effective time management.
When you take on more projects than you have time for, the quality of your work may suffer. Plus, your most important tasks don't get addressed in a timely fashion if you have too much to do. You're more likely to get more work done - and do it well - if you aren't overwhelmed by taking on too much.
8. Use your planner at home as well.
If you're struggling during off-work hours to manage your time, feel free to also use your planner there. Write in your schedule when you want to work on certain home projects, like washing your car or cleaning the living room.
9. Set timers or alarms to keep you on task. For example, if you plan to clean your bedroom for an hour, set the alarm on your cell phone. Stop working on the chore at hand when the timer goes off, but not until then (unless you complete the task).
Playing "beat the clock" can be highly motivational. Plus you're likely to get more done.
For particularly troublesome tasks, set your alarm in smaller increments - even 15 minutes - and take a short breather when your alarm sounds before you re-focus on your task. In particular, you may find that physically challenging tasks are much more manageable if broken into smaller, more do-able "pieces."
Managing your time effectively will make you more satisfied and productive. Practice these tips to get a handle on everything you want to complete. A well-managed life is within your reach!