1. Determine how you’re using your time.
In order to make the best use of your time, the first thing you should do is determine exactly how you’re currently using your time. You can do this by logging your time every day for at least a week so you can keep track of all your activities. You can also use the following audit:
Figure out how much you would be able to accomplish per day.
Look at the main activities that would give you the best returns.
When you do a time audit, you will be much clearer on how you use your time and how much time you spend being unproductive and doing unproductive activities. Try Tracktime24’s work time tracker.
You will also be able to better determine the length of time that particular tasks will actually take. This is extremely helpful and will be useful for another tip that will be mentioned later. When you do this exercise, you’ll be able to figure out the times during the day that you enjoy the most productivity. This will help you to know the best time that you should wok on the most important projects that need the most of your attention and creativity.
2. Develop a schedule and adhere to it.
This is a very important step when you are trying to better manage your work time. You shouldn’t try to start your work day without having a to-do list that is well organized. So, before you leave work at the end of the work day, you should always develop this list of the most important things you need to do on the next day. By doing this, you’ll be able to get started a lot faster when you reach to work.
When you put all your tasks on paper, it will help ensure that you don’t stay awake at night thinking about all the things you need to do the next day. While you’re sleeping, your subconscious will work on the things you need to do the next day. So, when you wake up, you’ll have helpful insights that will make your work day run a lot smoother.
In the event that you’re unable to complete the to do list the day before, then you should create this list in the morning before work. When you take the time to develop a plan, you’ll be more efficient as oppose to if you simply jump from one task to the other without a plan.
You should figure out how to develop a time management schedule that is suitable for you.
In order for time management to be successful, you need to know how to prioritize your to do list. The first thing you should do is remove any tasks that you shouldn’t even be doing. You should also figure out the 3 or 4 critical tasks that are the most important and make sure you get those done first. When you do this, you’ll always make sure that you complete your essential tasks.
You should take the time to evaluate your list and ensure that it is organized from the most important to least important tasks as oppose to the urgency of the task. Responsibilities that are important are needed to achieve your own goals whereas urgent responsibilities are typically needed for others to achieve their goals. We typically allow urgent tasks to be at the forefront, however, it is best to do activities that are about achieving your own goals.
In order to avoid this problem, you should look at a particular tip from the book, First Thing First by Stephen Covey. He has a time management matrix which is called the Eisenhower matrix. It is essentially a tool that would help you to prioritize your tasks according to urgency and importance.
We will now take a closer look at the quadrants of this Eisenhower matrix.
Important and urgent: These type of tasks are ones that have important deadlines and they also have high urgency. These should be done asap.
Important and not urgent: Use most of your time to do the tasks within this quadrant.
Urgent and not important: These types of tasks are quite urgent however, they aren’t important. These type of tasks should be delegated, eliminated or their importance minimized. This is because they are not important for your own output. They are typically distractions that are due to the fault or bad planing of other people.
Not important and not urgent: These type of tasks don’t have much value and it is best to get rid of them as much as you can. We will now look at some example activities that will fit into every quadrant as highlighted above. You should definitely create your own matrix where you place your own tasks into each quadrant. This will help you to determine how you’re using your time. It is possible to use Lucidchart to create a matrix in only a minute or less.
Example of Eisenhower matrix.
When you determine how to prioritize, your time management skills will be next level. You will be able to make the best use of your time, especially when you don’t have enough time.
Use the Eisenhower matrix to reduce procrastination and increase efficiency.
4. Place similar types of tasks together.
You should try to save some time by completing all types of similar tasks together at one time before you go on to the next task. A good example of this is answering all the emails at one time, selecting a time to make all your phone calls etc. You should avoid answering emails and text messages at the same time that you receive them. This is quite distracting. It is best that you take off your phone and notifications from your email so that you won’t be tempted to check and answer them outside of the allotted time.
5. Don’t multitask.
This is a very simple and effective time management strategy, however, it is quite difficult to follow. You should only do one task at a time and avoid any other distractions. You may want to multitask, however, this isn’t as effective as you think it is. When you multitask, it actually lowers your productivity and you lose time since you have to constantly move from one task to the next.
In the same way, you should avoid being overwhelmed by an extremely long to do list. Remember, being stressed won’t help you. Simply try to breathe and complete one task first before moving onto the other.