Time management may seem like an art form because some people make it look so easy. Still, like everything else, effective time management should be approached from an individual’s personality style and lifestyle.
The best time management strategy is to understand yourself by asking the right question. A good sense of self is always the first step in changing one’s thinking or when attempting to make lifestyle changes. When you understand yourself well, you become better equipped at strategically living your life in a way that best serves you.
Use a To-Do List
I am a firm believer that no human can accomplish several tasks at the same time. However, I tend to be involved in several projects at the same time. My brain functions in a way that I am unable just to do one thing at a time. But knowing that I can only finish one task at a time, I try to keep a to-do list.
I am not good at sticking with my to-do lists throughout the day, but what I have found is that creating a list the night before helps my brain to better prepare and manage the tasks I need to tackle the next day.
A to-do list helps system thinkers and detail-oriented individuals breakdown project timelines. Separating projects and deadlines into smaller parts creates a more manageable workflow. It helps to control anxiety brought on by feeling overwhelmed.
For individuals who are visual learners or who depend on visualizing things, a to-do list works as a motivator. The to-do list helps visualizers to see how much they have accomplished, as more tasks are completed, they visualizers are motivated to do more.
Consider using apps to help manage your time. Apps such as RescueTime or time tracking apps like Toggle may provide simple time management solutions. Also, consider using any simple calendar on your electronic devices to help you manage tasks.
Using a time management app can also help you track your daily activity to see how you spend your time, which in turn enables you to determine any time wasters you can eliminate.
Determine when you are most alert
I am a morning person. I can be awake as early as 3:30 am, and my brain is alert and ready to get the day started. When I realized this for myself, it changed my life and work process.
Again, finding a path to success is dependent on you confidently knowing yourself. Pay attention to your habits; when are you most alert? When are you most energized? That is the time that you should be working and tackling tasks.
If you are a morning person, begin by waking up 30 minutes early each day and start on the tasks at hand. Waking up, even 30 minutes earlier each day will help with time management because you will get more accomplished by using the optimum energy the right way. If you do wake you 30 minutes earlier, go to bed 30 minutes earlier as well in order to give your brain a break and have some balance.
If you are a night owl, do the reverse, and stay up a bit later to tackle tasks. Either way, you will get ahead of your day when you work during the times that you are most alert.
One of the biggest stealers of one’s time is other people. Effective time management requires setting boundaries with other people. Setting boundaries can be as simple as teaching people how to respect your time.
For example, when you have an appointment with someone, if they are running late, and it happens consistently, then you tell them that if they do not arrive within 15 minutes, you will not be meeting with them. Teach people to respect you and your time.
Setting boundaries entails you teaching people to respect your time and valuing you as an individual. Setting boundaries also means being comfortable saying no to others. If you are not good at saying no, then learn to use the words “that won’t work for me.” Sound better than a plain, no, but it conveys the same message. When you have an agenda to follow, other people’s agenda will not work for you and you must learn to convey that.
Learn to Delegate to Save Time
I used to find it very difficult to delegate work to others because, in my mind, I can do everything better than others. But now, I have mastered the art of delegation. I became much more comfortable with delegation when I figured out my strengths and weaknesses.
I took the time to also study the people around me to determine their strengths. Then I began to delegate once I realized that my success is dependent on using the strength of others.
Relying on the strengths of others actually saves you time. By delegating you to lessen your workload and save time. This means you can spend more time doing what you are good at and less time struggling to finish tasks.
Rome was not built in a day. 24 hours isn’t enough time for you to accomplish all of your tasks. So, pace yourself, there is only so much your brain can handle.
An excellent method is to complete more straightforward tasks quicker and work your way towards achieving the more time-consuming tasks.
Give your brain a break.
My brain never shuts down, which inadvertently affects my productivity. Recently, I decided to start giving my self a break.
I give myself a break by not placing so much pressure on myself to accomplish everything. Also, I recently started shutting out the noise. I sit in my closet for 20 minutes when I feel overwhelmed with my eyes shut and ignore everything.
There is always pressure to keep going and keep moving, but the world will continue to move whether you complete every task on your list or not. So, give your brain a break to reset for it to perform at its optimum.
Thanks for exploring this topic with me.