by: Remie Longbrake | published: April 26, 2021
In today’s busy world, it can be hard to stay on top of homework, work projects, housekeeping, and all the other little things that need to be done every day. With only 24 hours in a day, time management is an important skill not just in your work life, but also in your home life. Here are the top tips for time management to help stay on top of your life and ultimately have less stress.
1. Digital Calendars and Fridge Calendars
Almost everyone these days has a smartphone in their pocket and digital calendars are one of the easiest ways to keep track of the day. This way, the calendar will be just a tap away. Smartphones typically come with calendar apps like Google, iCal, and Outlook already built into the device and on one of the home screens. Another perk of using an app is the ability to share it with family, colleagues, and friends, even if they are a continent away. Having a fridge calendar will force everyone in the family to look at the calendar at least once in a while since everyone has to eat sooner or later. This also means kids that may not be old enough to have a smartphone can feel like they are a part of the planning process by blocking off their events. Kids will also learn time management at an early age this way and, since most classrooms also have a calendar, it will reinforce the things they are learning in the classroom. Using a calendar will also allow for setting time limits for activities and obligations, which will also allow for scheduling as much as possible to get the most out of the day.
2. One Thing at a Time
Multi-tasking is a great buzzword to put on a resume, but in practice can mean very little work gets done on the things you are working on. It is easier to get distracted when trying to work on a million things at once because your mind is already in a million different places. Instead, take the time to focus on one task at a time, starting with the ones that are hardest, least enjoyable, and will take the most time. This way, your easiest tasks are left for last and can be breezed through before moving on.
3. Have Accountability
When trying to master time management and organize life, it is important to hold oneself accountable. Without putting that weight on getting the job done, it is easy to forget or just decide to continue putting it off without ever actually doing it. It is also good to have someone else that helps keep you accountable. For example, you are more likely to use that gym membership you signed up for in January if you have a gym buddy that goes with you and holds you accountable for going, just like you can hold them accountable. Accountability is easily one of the most important habits for time management because you can do very little if you do not hold yourself accountable to get things done. There is no use in a calendar or creating goals if you do not learn to hold yourself accountable to sticking to them.
4. Create Goals
It can be hard to have accountability and finish what you start if you have nothing to reach for, which is why setting goals or markers on projects or chores can be a good motivator for actually doing them. Getting your room clean is easier if you set a goal time such as an hour on it because you will be more motivated to get it done within that time frame if you have something to aim for. This works well at work, too, like setting a word goal or time limit on a project for work.
5. Get Rid of the Clutter
Clutter can be just as distracting as games or social media; if you have a lot on your desk or around your home, your eye may be more drawn to that than the work you are trying to do. Reducing your clutter will help you focus on the task at hand and get it done quicker, leaving you more time for other, more enjoyable things.
6. Early to Bed, Early to Rise
We have all heard the saying from somebody older than us: “Early to bed, early to rise.” It may have seemed annoying at the moment, maybe you wanted to stay up past your bedtime, but there was an important truth there. When you get to bed early, you are more likely to get the full amount of rest you need and be able to get up early and start the day feeling refreshed and energized. You are also less likely to be stressed and more likely to be focused if you are well-rested.
7. Find Time to De-Stress
It is almost impossible to get things done and do good work if you are stressed, which is what can happen if you do not take the time in your day for yourself. Whether that be an art class, watching your favorite movie, or reading a book, taking time to do the things you enjoy outside of work will make your work hours calm and less agonizing. Taking time to exercise is also important, physical activity will keep your mind sharp and help you work out the stress that may already be there. It can also help you take your mind off work altogether if you have something else to focus on. Your brain needs a break from work, just like our bodies do.
8. Create Urgency
Making sure you start on time and end on time will create a sense of urgency that will force you to focus on completing the task or to keep up with your schedule. Without a sense of urgency, you may find yourself less focused on the task at hand and getting distracted while trying to work. This also goes hand in hand with holding yourself accountable, if you hold yourself accountable you are also creating a sense of urgency to get things done.
9. Learn to Just Say No
Unfortunately, you cannot do it all. It may be easier at the moment to become the yes man and take on all the projects your boss or colleagues need to be done, but there will be times where you just do not have time or someone may be better suited or skilled at something you are asked to do. This does not mean you are any less productive or important to your team, it just means you are allowing yourself to use your day as effectively as possible by sharing the workload. It will also keep you from getting stressed or burned out at work and will produce better work.
10. Create a Routine
Creating a routine that you hold to will help de-stress your workload. If your body knows you go to bed or get up at a certain time, it will remind you by waking you up naturally, for example. It will also allow for your daily activities to become habits that you do not have to think about and you are more likely to stick to your schedule in the first place. If you stick to the tips above, managing your time will become second nature to you. You will find yourself more confident that you can get the job done and your life running much smoother.
It's important to prioritize and focus on what's important. If we are not careful, we can end up spending too much time with our work and too less time with our families. It will take some practice, however using these tips will help improve how much you get done and hopefully add more joy to your days.