We all know that sometimes it just feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day but what if time management could help you feel like there was?
When you’re trying to do a million things at once and there is so much to do quite often one or two things slip.
But what if I told you that there was an answer.
And that answer is time management.
By managing your time effectively you are giving yourself the best chance at a productive day.
I’m going to walk you through a few steps that I myself do to manage my time and increase productivity by doing so.
Okay so if you’re wanting to be productive you probably know all about to-do lists.
They’re vital for helping to keep your mind organised and ensuring you don’t forget to do anything important through the day.
The problem though is that a lot of people overdo their to-do lists. They add far too much stuff and when they don’t have the time to do it all they get disheartened and feel as though they’ve accomplished nothing.
Whilst time management will help you get more done in a day it doesn’t add hours to your day so make sure your to-do lists are manageable. You should also make sure you prioritize what desperately needs to be done so that you use your time wisely.
The first step to manage your time wisely is to prioritize your tasks in order of importance. How can you measure what you’ve achieved through the day if you don’t know what is important?
This is the absolute first step and should be done before you do anything else.
I think a little planning session is an important part of anyone’s day and some people prefer to do it at different times.
Personally I like to write my to-do lists and prioritize and schedule on the morning of the day. I get myself a cup of coffee and just sit down and get everything in my brain out on the paper and then sort through what needs to be done now, later etc.
Some people prefer to do this on a night time so that they wake up in the morning with a day planned ahead of them so maybe give both a try and see which one is right for you!
LISTS, LISTS AND MORE LISTS
So you have your general to-do list, you might have highlighted the things that are most important to you and now you have to decide when you’re going to do what.
Again this is highly individual to you but I then suggest you make a few lists to further organise your thoughts. When I was studying I always made lists by subject and then tried to tick off an even number of things on each list.
You might like to make lists of things that must be done, could be done and should be done. Or morning and afternoon lists. You get the point.
Sometimes – if you’re like me – it helps to colour coordinate these by category. E.g I have one colour for work, one colour for studying or even one colour for each subject.
To do this I love my Stabilo pastel highlighters as they’re pretty and not too overwhelming on the page!
Basically you want to have your thoughts neatly organised in front of you to move on to the next step.
START BLOCKING AND MANAGING TIME
There are a few ways to do this. There are digital apps like your I-calendar and there are paper planners or print outs or desk planners.
I personally love these ones >https://scatteredsquirrel.com/printable/time-management/ < from Scattered Squirrel. She has a whole array on there and there is something for everyone!
But whatever it is you use I suggest you follow the steps below to effectively manage your time that day.
First of all, you should put any timed commitments – are you at work, in classes or at an appointment? These should go in first as they are non-negotiables. Make sure you include any commuting time and give yourself time to get back to the house and get sorted.
Work out how long each of the priorities on your to-do list is going to take you. Probably a good idea to overestimate a little bit here because extra time is great but having less time than you need is never a good thing!
Start putting the things that you need to do onto your planner, marking down when you plan to start and finish each task.
Again make sure you give yourself breaks and time in between as you don’t want to overwhelm yourself.
Make sure your priorities go in first then any things that could or should be done. If it looks like you aren’t going to have enough time to do everything then you will have to re-evaluate your priorities and focus on the things that really matter.
And then boom, you have a day planned out ahead of you.
Now, this is the easy bit – the hard bit is actually sticking to it and continuing to be productive.
The first major top tip to actually follow through on this plan is that if you don’t finish a task in the time you allotted yourself to do it in then just move onto the next task that you had planned
Obviously this isn’t always possible with deadlines and other life things but in general spending more time than you planned leads to other things not getting done that might have been more important or more immediate.
Use your judgement here and remember that next time you should allow yourself more time to complete a task like that one.
The only other thing you have to do is actually do what you said you were going to do. Lack of motivation and procrastination can get in the way of the best-laid plans so you need to do everything you can to avoid falling into those traps. (No judgement I’m just as bad for this myself)
And there you have it. How to use time management for a productive day. Have you tried it and does it work for you? How do you manage your time? I’d love to know in the comments!
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