Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could manage your time better? I bet you said yes.
There was a time in my life, when I was struggling to get so much done. It seemed like every single day I failed at getting all the things done that I had wanted to do.
Every single night, I went to bed feeling so overwhelmed. There were so many things that we still on my to do list for that day. I had so much to do when I woke up in the morning.
I remember the day that I said “Enough!”. There has got to be a better way of managing my time effectively. There’s got to be a way to get done what I need to do each day.
I couldn’t make more hours in the day. Neither can you. But, just as I have, you can learn to manage your time better.
It’s all about how we use the hours that we have each day. You can make choices to manage your time wisely and thus make time to get everything done.
When I worked in an office, I used a lot of skills and techniques that helped me manage my time efficiently and ultimately get more done.
It took me awhile to figure out that those same techniques that I used for my job could also be used to me help manage my time better at home.
Doing so has allowed me to find time to do the things that really matter to me.
You can do the same thing. Having more time to do the things that matter to you is the ultimate goal isn’t it? That may mean spending time with your family, or time to do some fun activity, or maybe simply finding the time to relax and read a book.
What do you want to find time for?
What is something extra that you’d like to be able to find time for? What is your why? Take a moment and think of something you really enjoy doing that you haven’t had time to do in a long time.
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Got it? Write it down. This is your “why” goal. It will help you stay motivated as you learn how to manage your time better.
I want to share with you some things that will help you find time to do it (the goal you just wrote down).
10 Tips to Manage Your Time
1. Prioritize Your Tasks
Do you have a lot of things that you want to do today? How many things are there? Let’s be real, we don’t have time to do 20 tasks each day.
Take a few minutes and narrow all those things down to just five things. Now, put these five things (tasks) in order from the most important to the least important.
Most likely some of the original 20 tasks you wanted to do today were non-essential and simply time-wasters, so they didn’t make the cut to the 5 things. Doesn’t it feel great to not even put them on your list for the day.
When you are first starting with learning to Manage Your Time better, a brain dump is a great way of helping you determine what you really want to do. We share some great tips for doing a Brain Dump in this post.
2. Time Block
Now that you have your five tasks selected, create a hour by hour (our half-hour by half-hour) chart for yourself and determine during which times you can get each task done. You’ll need to determine how long each task will take. For example, if you need to clean the kitchen you may need a set aside a time block of 30 minutes. Or, perhaps you have a dentist appointment and will need to set aside 1 ½ hours to take care of that. Assign the time to each task for the day and work on that task during the allotted time. This will help keep you on track. It will help keep you from spending too long on any single task.
When you are first getting started with learning how to manage your time efficiently, it is beneficial to track your time for a couple of days or even a week. This will help you determine where all your time is being spent currently.
3. Take Regular Breaks
Oftentimes, if we work too long on a single task, we lose focus or interest, or we burn out. It is beneficial to break up our tasks with short periods of rest or just a break of some type. This will give you an opportunity to refresh yourself. When you go back to the task/activity you will have renewed energy. Although it may seem unimportant, I promise you that it will help you manage your time wisely.
Using the Pomodoro technique is a great help when you desire to manage your time wisely. I have been using this technique on and off for years and truly love it. I’ve been using it even as I work on this post.
4. Get Rid of Distractions
So many times it is not the actual task that takes so long. The task takes a long time because we were frequently distracted while we were working on it.
In an office setting, you may have the opportunity to set up some time where you are not interrupted.
In other situations, we have to work hard at not being distracted. Depending on the task at hand, we may be able to ask our family to not interrupt us for a set period of time. Or, perhaps you can do the task when family members are busy with tasks or activities of their own.
Today we are often our own worst distraction. We allow things like the telephone, social media or tv to distract us. We need to utilize self-control in managing this type of distraction.
5. Do Not Multitask
Some people pride themselves on being multitaskers. Multitasking is definitely real and I know a few people who enjoy being a multitasker. But, being a multitasker is not a great thing. Multitasking doesn’t make you more productive or efficient. When you are doing more than one thing at a time, you cannot focus on the one main thing. Multi-tasking stops you from getting each task done efficiently.
Here’s a test you can try. Try typing a text to someone on your phone while having a conversation with another person. How well do you remember what the other person said in your conversation?
Try single-tasking! Focus on just the one task and get it done before you do another task. You’ll be glad you did. It won’t take near as long to do the task when you are giving it your full attention.
When your workspace or home is organized, everything is where you need it to be. So, everything is easily accessible. This is such a timesaver. It means you won’t have to spend time searching for things. Do you know what I mean?
It also means that you won’t have to organize an area every time you want to use it.
I don’t know about you, but I really struggle with this. I am notorious for setting things in the room they need to go in, but not actually putting them away. By the time I get to it, there are several things to be put away and it takes up way too much of my time.
Learning to have a place for everything and everything in its place isn’t just about housekeeping. It applies to so many aspects of our lives.
Try to take the time to go ahead and put something away when you are done with it, so you will know exactly where to find it when you need it again.
If you need to set aside some time each day to put things back. Or make a weekly clean up and organization task one of your weekly activities.
7. Set Goals – This is key to help you Manage Your Time Better
It’s important to understand your goals when you want to manage your time better. When you know what you are working toward it makes prioritizing (see #1) so much easier. You’ll want to consider whether the tasks you’ve chosen for the day will help you reach one of your goals. If it doesn’t help you reach toward one of your goals, then you may wish to eliminate it from your to do list.
I really like setting general goals for the year, but what works really well for me is setting 90 Day Goals. This really helps me focus on a specific goal for a shorter period of time. Then the next 90 days, I move on to working toward another goal. And so forth. At the end of the year, the work I did with those 4 mini-goals help me reach the larger annual goal.
I love this book on this very topic. It’s a worthwhile read.
8. Stop Procrastinating
When we procrastinate, it makes it extremely difficult for us to manage our time wisely. If something is on our to do list for the day, it means that we believe it has importance and it needs to be done. Procrastinating doesn’t help us with the end goal.
There is great value in doing a task that you really don’t want to do first. Just go ahead and do it. Get it out of the way.
I love the Eat the Frog book. It’s a simple read that really gets this point across.
This book is an excellent read that really gets the procrastination point across.
Here’s some more ideas to help you stop procrastinating.
9. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is so important. At any age. We all need to get a good night’s rest. At different ages, we tend to need a different amount of sleep. So, the amount of sleep that worked for you 10 years ago, may not be sufficient anymore.
Trying to get tasks done when we are tired is not helpful. Lack of rest not only makes it difficult for us to focus, but it also tends to make us irritable (and/or grouchy). Ultimately it makes tasks take longer to do.
Here are some tips for Getting a Good Night’s Sleep.
10. Say “No”
Saying yes to all.the.things. sounds good or sounds like fun or sounds like things we would like to do. We simply can’t do everything that we might want to do.
Learning how to say “no” can be difficult. But, once you begin to say “no” you will find it easier to do.
By the way, it’s not always necessary to tell someone why you are saying “no”. If doing something doesn’t meet your goals, or it it will take away from your time to focus on other priorities, just say “no”. Or, “no, but thank you for asking”.
All the fun in the world, or even all the money in the world, isn’t worth it if it keeps you from doing what you really want to do (refer back to your goals). So, don’t put too much on your plate at one time.
I promise, saying “no” does get easier as you practice it.
Give it a Try
Won’t you try a few of these tips to help you manage your time better. Find the ones that work best for you.
If you have some other tips for managing your time wisely, please comment below. I’d love to hear them.