Whatever your occupation, the way you use time can make or break you. If you’re struggling with time management issues, it is time to review where all those hours are going. The truth is, however, there are no set rules for managing time. What works for your co-workers or friends may not work for you – and that’s typical. Nevertheless, there are basic guidelines to help you get more done in less time, allowing more freedom for yourself. Consider the following 10 tips as you hone your time management skills:
1. Close your door and turn off your phone
If you have an important task to do, it is essential to avoid unnecessary interruptions. Being alone without distractions can help you concentrate and clear your mind. If you’re working on the computer, resist the urge to browse websites or spend time on social networking platforms like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Pinterest, Google Plus and others.
2. Designate a place for routinely used objects
When you get home, always place objects like your keys and wallet in the same place. When you leave the house again, you won’t waste time questioning where these objects are located, nor will you lose valuable time searching for them.
3. Change time-wasting behaviors
If you have identified a behavior that undermines your productivity and makes time management difficult, take steps to correct this behavior. For example, if you take too long to eat lunch, set a timer on your watch or phone, so that you return to work on time.
4. Minimize and organize your documents
These days much information is digital, but this doesn’t require keeping all emails, files or documents on your desktop. Delete anything useless, organize files in folders and keep only the documents you’re actively using at your fingertips.
5. Estimate your task time
When you perform a task, do a job or engage in a hobby, plan in advance how long you think it will take. As long as you’re aware of the time spent, you’ll stay on target and won’t lose hours without realizing it.
6. Less planning, more action
How often do you plan for the future and think about what you still need to do? Just thinking about future tasks can’t get you anywhere. Try to live in the present and take steps to complete your tasks now, rather than later.
7. Avoid procrastination
This is very difficult for most people. When you avoid what you need to do, you’re wasting time. You know that you must do it, regardless of how long you procrastinate. Why waste time avoiding what must be accomplished, when you could’ve already done the task? Stop making excuses and muster the willpower to do whatever you hate doing. Once the tasks are done, your sense of triumph will strengthen your resolve and build momentum.
8. Set goals
Setting goals is an important part of being successful. When you’re working, it is much easier to track progress effectively if you have a specific goal to achieve.
9. Reward yourself
Be sure to compensate yourself for a job well done. A reward will motivate you to overcome difficult tasks and avoid procrastination. It is essential to have fun in life!
10. Take breaks
It is necessary to be disciplined, but you shouldn’t push yourself to exhaustion. Mental breaks actually increase your productivity because your brain has time to reflect, rejuvenate and unconsciously repair itself. Plan frequent 10-minute rest breaks to relax your mind.
The most important thing to remember in time management is to find something that works for you personally. Start by paying attention to your behavior patterns and decisions, so you can identify time-wasting temptations and procrastination habits. Continue taking steps in the right direction and you will conquer what has been sapping your time for far too long!