We’re sure you’ve heard Benjamin Franklin’s famous line, “Time is money.” It rings true more than ever in today’s world. It’s easy to feel like you have so much to do, but so little time, so we’ve decided to put together a list of time management tips that will greatly improve how effectively you use your time.
1. Learn to say “no” like a boss.
To be effective with the time each day provides, sometimes you have to tell people “no” and for a lot of us, this can be hard. The key is to be gently assertive in order to make it clear that you have more important things to do, but not to alienate people in the process. Essentially, they should know you’re not a pushover but also not an evil scumbag.
Two examples to effectively say “no” would be:
– “I’d love to, but…” You follow it up with a genuine reason and it lets the other party know that you think the idea is good, but you have prior commitments. Don’t use this, if you don’t like the idea and wouldn’t want to help even if you did have time.
– “I can’t commit to this due to other priorities right now.” This would be appropriate for anything you don’t have time to do.
There are many more examples obviously. Be polite, but confident and decisive whenever you tell someone “no”.
2. Create a list of goals.
Having specific goals will make time management infinitely easier. When you have goals set, it’s much simpler to focus on what’s important and have an overall vision. When you know where you want to go, you’ll find a way to get there like a boss!
3. Set priorities.
It’s extremely important to prioritize what is important to you, once your goals have been set. You’ll want to know the following things about each task at hand to properly prioritize it:
– Does this task help me achieve one of my goals?
– How important is it to achieving one of my goals?
Answer those two questions and do the most important tasks first.
4. Keep a list of tasks.
A “to do” list can serve as a reminder when you need it and also gives you a visual representation of how close you are to achieving a particular goal. It keeps you organized and accountable. Use what is appropriate for your goals, whether it be a daily, weekly or monthly planner. Order the individual tasks by importantance and cross them off as you go.
5. Make a schedule.
If you know what to do when, you also know when you have time available to complete something urgent that may come up. You’ll also be more organized overall knowing when you need to do what.
This sounds arbitrary at first, but what we mean is the following: Focus on your current task. If you’re worried about all sorts of different things at the same time, you could easily get off track and lose the focus we are talking about here. Complete one task at a time and you’ll find that you’re much more efficient overall.
7. Plan ahead.
This one is actually fairly straightforward, but we’ll give a quick example of what we mean. People who try to lose weight or gain muscle are often faced with the difficulty of proper eating when they don’t have a lot of free time to prepare each meal of the day.
This is where planning ahead would come in with this example of dieting efficiently. Say you’re extremely busy most days, but once or twice a week you can free up a couple hours to prepare food. Our advice in this scenario would be to cook in bulk and prepare snacks for either half the week or even the entire week. While this would cut down slightly on meal variety, it would also greatly decrease the total amount of time you’re spending on preparing food. You could make much healthier eating choices as a result and achieve the goal you’re looking for with your diet in a much more effective way.
So plan ahead when it’s possible and use the free time that you derive from this process for something that is important to you.
8. Know what time is worth to you.
By this, we mean that you should know how much each hour of the day is worth to you. This one is critically important to anyone who is self-employed or a business owner, but also important for just about every person. It’s most easily quantified by the amount of money you can make with an hour of work, but you also need to consider what free time is worth to you on a stress management and happiness level.
Once you know the value of your time, it will help you make better decisions like a boss about various aspects of your life. Some examples:
– Whether or not you should be looking for extra work to do and what the rate would need to be to make it worth it to you in the grand scheme of things.
– Should you reduce the amount of time you spend at your current job?
– Does it make sense for you to wait for a ‘free’ item? If time is money as previously stated, maybe it’s not really free at all?
– How much to spend on transportation. Should you walk somewhere or take a taxi? Should you fly first class in order to be able to relax more?
– Should you hire someone? This could range from a maid service for your home to employees at your company.
Obviously these examples are by no means all-encompassing, but they give you some general ideas to go with when you’re assessing the value of your time.
9. Delegate tasks to other people.
Just like you should check your ego at the door when you go to work out at a gym, you should try to do the same at work to make use of your time more efficiently and assign tasks to other people at your office. If you know someone could be completing a task just as well as you (be very objective about this) and you could be getting something more important done instead, delegate the task!
Getting swamped and stressed out at your job, because you try to do everything on your own, doesn’t help anyone and especially not you. Delegating tasks appropriately in a meaningful way will help promote accountability and also ensure that goals are reached in a time-efficient manner. It’s the epitome of time management and should be something you’re good at, if you intend to lead people effectively.
10. Take a break.
When you work hard for several hours, you deserve a break at times to relax, recover and come back strong. People who don’t take breaks tend to sacrifice quality of work for quantity of work at some point and this usually doesn’t end well. Allowing your brain to rest and recharge regularly will reduce stress levels and improve your work performance overall, so don’t be afraid to take breaks when they are needed. A well rested individual will produce top quality work, which is what you should be after.
An ideal work environment should allow for a 5 minute break every hour. Meditate, stretch, think creatively, go for a walk and/or have a cup of coffee. Done once per hour, this will greatly improve the way you use your time because you will never work to complete fatigue. An hour to eat lunch should also be standard in this optimal scenario, because working on an empty stomach does not allow you to think properly and definitely does not aid you in producing top quality work. An hour long lunch break gives you plenty of time to eat and relax a bit. Maybe you can even go for a walk!
And that wraps up our list of ten awesome time management tips. We’d like you – our valued readers – to become more effective in both your business and personal lives. If you’re interested in more information like this, please let us know in the comments and share this post with anyone who you believe would benefit from it.