Time Management Techniques

June 21st marks the summer solstice, alerting that summer is officially upon us. It also means we will be experiencing more sunlight than any other day of the year. Despite the fact we all have that same 24 hour period to utilize, some are stronger at managing their time than others. If you’re a procrastinator looking to change, we have compiled a list of our favorite time management practices below to ensure you get the most out of the longest day of the year:

  1. Bust the Myth  

One of the biggest wastes of time is stressing about time. Obsessing about the lack of hours you have in a day will likely be a distraction, and trigger more anxiety that can be avoided. The first step to managing time is realizing that time-perception is a myth. Try to change your thought process by reaffirming that you have enough time to accomplish your to-do list. In “6 Tips for Managing Your Time,” we suggest to, “Replace negative language with positive language, i.e. avoid saying, ‘I hope I don’t run out of time to finish [x]’ and try saying, ‘I can complete [x] before Friday.’”

  1. Analyze Your Schedule

To start, write down everything you accomplished in a day and how long each activity took. By analyzing the ways you spend time, you can figure out how to be more productive. Ask yourself, “At what time of day am I the most engaged?” and “What distracts me from completing projects?” Writing down how you spend time will help with navigating at what points of the day you are most productive and which environments keep you on task.

  1. Target Wasted Time

When analyzing your schedule, you’ll also be able to eliminate time-wasters. As a result of writing down how long you’re on your phone or scrolling through social media, certain precautions can then be put into practice. For example, keep your phone off your desk or set up a social media block, like Cold Turkey, on your web browser to stay extra focused and eliminate distractions.

  1. Set Goals

After learning that time is a myth, tracking your schedule, and pinpointing time-wasters, personal goals can be set and met. At the beginning and end of each week, write down what needs to get done in the order of importance. According to The Balance Small Business, “Remember, the focus of time management is actually changing your behaviors, not changing time.” Setting goals are easy nowadays with reminder apps or Outlook, which allows users to set schedules and create reminders to stay on top of the workload.

  1. Prioritize (which means saying “no” sometimes)

After goals are set, it’s time to prioritize. Software company QuickBooks suggests that each task can be specifically labeled to fit the needs of an individual’s schedule. Is the task “important and urgent?” Then that means it should be addressed and completed above anything else. This contrasts “not urgent or not important” tasks, which can be completed later. They also list “important and urgent,” “important but not urgent,” and “urgent but not important” as other time-labels for projects. Labeling enhances productivity because it’s easier to see the hierarchy of tasks set in front of you.

Furthermore, you don’t want to get stretched too thin. When presented with a favor or another kind of project, sometimes it’s okay to say no. The ability to say no demonstrates maturity because it looks much better to take on fewer projects but to complete them in a timely manner than to take on too many and fail to deliver.

  1. Delegate Tasks

Sometimes, when overwhelmed, it’s appropriate to outsource certain tasks. The Balance Small Business states, “no matter how small your business is, there’s no need for you to be a one-person show–you need to let other people carry some of the load.” The ability to delegate tasks will maximize productivity. Bottom line: it’s also okay to ask for help and/or delegate tasks to a third-party to make sure you are being your most productive self. For more on outsourcing projects, check out our post on the subject here.

  1. Don’t forget Me Time

To avoid burning out, it is just as important to set aside some time for the self as it is for important work tasks. If someone is putting off sleep or exercise, they will be more likely to perform sluggishly in other aspects of their life. Allowing yourself to go out for a quick coffee-run or grab dinner with a friend after work may sound like it could hinder your productivity, but in reality, little moments like these will inspire you to stay engaged at the office.

  1. Just do it

This may seem obvious, but after following the steps above, get your work done. Just do it. Realize that worrying about time or wasting time on your phone will stunt your productivity. When goals are set and met in your work life, you’ll start feeling more efficient in your personal life too.

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