If there is one skill that all of us struggle with all the time, it would be time management. Twenty-four hours is a long time to play with, but sometimes, when we are super busy or have lots of things on our plate, by the end of the day, you will wish that a day has more than 24 hours. However, with these easy steps, you can be sure to make the most productive use of time.
1. Prioritise and Organise
List down all the things you need to deal with by the end of the day (or the week, perhaps). The value of a list is that it frees you up to think more creatively, by defining the scope of each list item and scale for you on the page, so your brain does not have to hold on to so much information. Review the list and pick the top five most pressing matters you need to address before you can sleep soundly in the evening.
If you have errands that appeared out of nowhere but are essential to run, do those all in one go, rather than returning home to do other tasks in between. Use whatever time management tools necessary, such as a calendar planner, Trello or Google Calendar. The whole idea of using them is to help keep your to-do lists and deadlines in an organised fashion.
2. Keep Your Schedule Realistic and Basic
Take a moment to look at what you need to accomplish in a given period and divide the hours according to the magnitude of the task. Suppose you will be addressing a problem that you have never experienced before or struggled with in the past. In that case, it is a wise idea to overestimate, rather than underestimate, the amount of time needed. If you solve the problem quicker than expected, you can always insert short tasks from your lists to fill the gap. You can also move things back if time is working against you. On top of ensuring your schedule is flexible, practice your ability to forecast how much time the tasks will actually take.
3. Doing Multiple Things at The Same Time
I am not a firm believer in multitasking because it requires one to mentally jump from one matter to another without actually getting anything done. Consequently, you will have lots of unfinished business by the end of the day. Channelling your energy on one item on your to-do list at a time means you can actually better concentrate on your tasks and complete them punctually. By giving your undivided attention, more work can be done in a shorter amount of time. Isn’t that a beauty?
4. Time Sucks by Default But Always Use Them To Your Advantage.
Whether it is Counter-Strike, scrolling through hundreds of tweets on Twitter, stalking your friends on Instagram or binge-watching the latest shows on Netflix, we are all guilty of tossing our precious time on things that do not benefit us. Identify your time-wasting habits and avoid them when you are working against the clock. Alternatively, use them as incentives and treat yourself with something fancy for actually completing an important task. Make sure to incorporate those rewards into your schedule. Mathematically, if you spend an hour watching The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix daily, that adds up to seven wasted hours a week. If that time is fused into your schedule, then that time spent is not time wasted. It is a break to reset your mind before tackling the next item on your list.
There are many more time management techniques you can adopt to make better use of your day. This story serves as a good starting point for you to take control of your time. As you put these skills into practice more often, they will become second nature to you. You will perform better at work, grab ultimate control of your key priorities, capitalise on more opportunities, have more leisure time, and feel generally happier. Good time management skills dramatically improve all aspects of your life.