We all have the same number of hours in every day and yet some people seem to manage to be more productive and less stressed. So, how do they do it? The answer is time management - more effectively managing the time that you do have so that you can feel more in control of your life, calmer and less stressed. The goal of time management is to achieve a lifestyle balance that feels comfortable and enables you to get what you want from your life while also being able to enjoy it. These time management tips are designed to help you to do just that.
● What are your goals? This underlies everything when it comes to prioritising how you spend your time and where you direct your energy. What are your priorities for life, who do you want to be and what do you want to achieve? Goals can help you to plan more effectively and ensure that you’re focusing on the areas of your life that matter to you. A combination of short, medium and long-term goals will help improve the way you manage your time going forward.
● Make sure you take regular breaks. You’ll find it difficult to be consistently productive if you’re not giving your body and mind any time to rest and recover. It’s particularly important to make sure you have a lunch break - 30 minutes away from your desk will ensure you’re able to be effective in the afternoon too. That’s especially so if you’ve done something like go outside, do exercise and interact with others during that time.
● Start using lists. It doesn’t matter whether you do this with a pen and paper or on your phone, lists can help you to keep track of your time and what needs doing next. Work out whether you operate better with one single list or multiple shorter ones.
● Focus on quality and not quantity. Becoming more effective at time management means concentrating on what you can produce (i.e. the results) and not on how busy you are. It’s worth remembering that spending a lot of time on something doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll get a better outcome. If the work you’re doing is high quality then it will take less time.
● Organise your tasks more effectively. It can be useful to use labels to sort the things that you need to do into different priority lists. The simplest labels are: Urgent And Important, Not Urgent But Important, Urgent But Not Important and Neither Urgent Nor Important. Focusing on those groups that are important is the fastest option for improving the way that you manage your time - the goal is to reduce the number of important and urgent tasks to take the pressure off.
● Manage your emails better. A full inbox can be a significant source of stress where time management is concerned. If you want to do better with your emails, and reduce the time that they take from your day, try the 4Ds method - Delete the emails that you can delete straight away, Do if there is something in the email you can action immediately, Delegate if someone else is better suited to the task or Defer if you need more time to focus on it.
These time management tips can not only help to make you more productive but reduce stress and improve work-life balance too. Find out more by booking onto our Time Management training course.