Unfortunately, many of us often tend to fritter away time by engaging in unproductive activities, procrastination and by otherwise finding ways to avoid important tasks.
However, luckily, we can get better at getting things done by managing what we do and when we do it.
2. Remember to take short breaks. As I discuss in my article 9 Proven Ways to Increase Productivity, it is important to take breaks and refresh. Breaks give you a chance to regroup, rejuvenate and refocus. Working for too long without a break is actually counterproductive and can derail your time management efforts.
3. Assign a time frame for each task. According to Parkinson's Law, a task shrinks or grows according to the amount of time you assign to it. By assigning a time frame for your tasks, it allows you to utilize effective time management to the fullest.
For example when you give yourself 30 minutes to complete a task you will most likely finish it in 30 minutes or less. If, however, you give yourself 45 minutes to complete the same task you could possible dawdle and stretch it out unnecessarily.
4. Clump similar or related tasks together and get them done all at once. Not only will you save your energy by not going back and forth to complete similar tasks, you will definitely save time.
As an example, if you have to go out on an errand to purchase supplies, what else can you get done while you're out driving? Do you need to renew a passport or license? Do you need to mail something? Even if some of those tasks are not due yet, you can get them done anyway without making a separate or special trip out.
5. Use a combination calendar/agenda/organizer. In order to manage your activities you must know what, where and when they take place. Having a calendar/agenda/organizer will keep all such activities front and center.
There are many great tools available such as Google Calendar, your smart phone, or any computer for your time management purposes. Being organized helps you prioritize your task better as well.
6. Know your limitations. It stands to reason that no one can do everything all of the time and/or do it quickly. If you know you have other commitments or obligations don't be afraid to delegate or eliminate a task completely.
Trying to accomplish something you know you are not equipped to do will cost you time, not save it. There is nothing wrong with admitting you cannot do something so don't hesitate to assign or hire someone else to complete it.
Example: Trying to patch that hole in the roof when you have no carpentry skills, or have ever tried it before. The time you would waste doing it incorrectly would only cost you time and money in the long run.
7. Let go of perfectionism. Quite often for those of us with perfectionist tendencies more time is wasted on trying to be perfect than getting a good job done. Most things don’t need to be perfect, only practical and functional.
Examples of perfectionism would include: constantly trying to improve things by redoing them; obsessing over small details; imposing unrealistically high standards. Our time management skills will be best served if we focus on doing a good job in a timely and efficient manner.
See article: Is Perfectionism Good or Bad?
8. Simplify your workflows. By simplifying your tasks you will work smarter and get things done in a more timely fashion. Ways to do so include: breaking down big tasks into smaller more manageable ones; eliminating unnecessary steps and by evaluating and streamlining the process.
"Everything must be made as
simple as possible. But not simpler."
9. Remove Distractions. Removing distractions allows you to focus on the task at hand and ultimately get it done more quickly and efficiently.
Distractions include: surfing the internet, checking emails, answering the phone when in the middle of your work, watching television. Distractions also interrupt your workflow which can be difficult to regain.
Certainly, effective time management not only contributes to success, it is contingent upon it. Review these helpful strategies and endeavor to implement them into your routine.