We all know intuitively that we must manage our time rather than letting time manage us, as they say. But, for many of us, it’s sure harder than it sounds!
Do you often feel stressed out with too much work or too many responsibilities? As time passes, do you feel like you have more tasks on hand than you have time to do them?
Maximising your time is about properly prioritising things and doing what is really important to you.
The trick is to organize your tasks and use your time effectively to get more things done each day. This can help you to lower stress levels and improve your productivity both at work and at home.
In this article we’ll give you our list of the best time management tips and actionable advice so you can learn how to manage your time effectively!
15 Ways to Effectively Manage and Maximize Your Time
No matter how busy everything gets, there are always ways to manage and maximize every second you have.
1. Find Out Where Your Time Goes.
Spending some time working out how you typically spend your time may seem counterproductive but will actually have long-term benefit. Once you have identified those points in the day where time is clearly being wasted then this will assist you in setting priorities.
What is important is to dedicate the bulk of your time on the tasks that are important to you.
2. Set Realistic Goals That Benefit Each Other.
The key steps to successful time management is setting realistic goals.
You may well go through the process of freeing up time by being efficient but then not know what to do with it. Establish what is important to you and set goals.
What we must do is to make sure that there is some correlation between these two goals lists. If you have no (or very few) near-term goals which also help achieve your bigger-picture future goals, you’ll probably not accomplish them, meaning they’re a waste of time, practically speaking.
Most importantly you must perceive, both consciously and unconsciously, that your daily achievements are helping you to gradually accomplish your distant objectives.
By having a firm idea of your targets will help you know where to put in all your efforts. Having targets can help motivate you in order to reach that end goal.
3. Start Early.
Most successful people have one thing in common — they start their day early as it gives them time to sit, think, and plan their day.
When you get up early, you are more calm, creative, and clear-headed. As the day progresses, your energy levels start going down, which affects your productivity, motivation, and focus.
If you’re not a morning person, you can just try waking up thirty minutes earlier than your normal time. You’ll be amazed by how much you can get done in that bit of time. If you don’t want to use it to work, use it to do a bit of exercise or eat a healthy breakfast. This kind of routine will also contribute to your productivity during the day. By goal setting, you’re cutting down the time you need to think about where you’re headed.
4. Make a List to Tick.
One of the best ways to get started in figuring out how to manage time effectively is to invest in a proper to-do list.
Free your mind by making a list of all the things that you need to do, that way you can look at it and tick stuff off as you go. A list on a scrap of paper, on your mobile phone, or in a notebook will all serve their purpose.
As you cross off things you’ve done this may encourage you to crack on and complete the remainder.
5. Get Your Priorities Right.
The key to a good list is prioritizing things correctly.
Before the start of the day, make a list of tasks that need your immediate attention. Unimportant tasks can consume much of your precious time, and we tend to offer these too much of our energy because they are easier or less stressful.
Avoid the temptation to do the easy stuff first, rather than the tasks that actually are the priorities. It’s likely that if you take this approach then the things that maybe don’t get completed that day possibly didn’t need doing, or at least can be seen to on another day.
However, identifying urgent tasks that need to be completed on that day is critical to your productivity. Once you know where to put your energy, you will start to get things done in an order that works for you and your schedule.
6. Avoid Multitasking.
Most of us feel that multitasking is an efficient way of getting things done, but the truth is that we do better when we focus and concentrate on one thing. Multitasking hampers productivity and should be avoided to improve time management skills.
Make use of to-do lists and deadlines to help you stay focused! This way you can do better at what you’re doing. Wait until you finish one before starting another. You’ll be surprised by how much more you’re able to get done.
7. Learn to Say No.
Politely refuse to accept additional tasks if you think that you’re already overloaded with work. Take a look at your to do list before agreeing to take on extra work.
Many people worry that saying no will make them look selfish, but the truth is that saying no is one of the best ways to take care of yourself and your time. When you take care of this, you’ll find you have more energy to devote to the important things, which the people around you will ultimately appreciate.
8. Don’t Procrastinate.
Procrastination is one of the things that has a negative effect on productivity. It can result in wasting essential time and energy. It could be a major problem in both your career and your personal life.
Faffing about and putting things off in order to do something less import is a common trait for many of us. To avoid this, try to distance yourself for all those potential distractions that could put you off the tasks you should be doing.
Avoiding procrastination can be difficult for many. We tend to procrastinate when we feel bored or overwhelmed. Try to schedule in smaller, fun activities throughout the day to break up the more difficult tasks. This may help you stay on track.
9. Set up Deadlines.
When you have a task at hand, set a realistic deadline and stick to it. Once you set a deadline, it may be helpful to write it on a sticky note and put it near your workspace. This will give you a visual cue to keep you on task.
Try to set a deadline a few days before the task is due so that you can complete all those tasks that may get in the way. Challenge yourself and meet the deadline; reward yourself for meeting a difficult challenge.
10. Be Organized.
Organization is key as without it you’ll only be unnecessarily wasting time.
How much time do you spend looking for something because you are disorganized? Declutter your home and working environment and give everything a permanent place where you know you’ll be able to find it. Get rid of the things that you just don’t use or need.
11. Avoid Distractions.
Staying focused on your tasks is a large part of the battle. To do this you need to avoid those things that could distract you unnecessarily.
If you have something that you really need to get completed then consider isolating yourself, switching off your phone and other potential distractions and get on with it.
You’ll can easily check in on any messages or missed calls once you have made good progress or completed the task!
12. Take Time Out.
It might sound strange to address the issue of maximizing your time by telling you to take time out, but bear with us. Clearly you can’t be on the go all the time and if you were you’d very soon burnout!
By taking time out will mean that you are refreshed and fully charged both mentally and physically when you come to tackle what you need to be doing and you’ll be able to do it more efficiently.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is key to being able to function effectively. Take a walk, listen to some music, or do some quick stretches. The best idea is to take a break from work completely and spend time with your friends and family.
13. Learn to Delegate.
It is common for all of us to take on more tasks than we are capable of completing. This can often result in stress and burnout.
You don’t have to do everything yourself! Free up some time for yourself by enlisting others to do the tasks for you. We’re not talking about handing over responsibility for everything, but by passing over tasks that someone else can do, particularly if they can do them quicker and better than you, makes sense.
Apply this both at work and at home. You could do a trade off with the kids by getting them to do jobs in return for something such as a lift that they might need off you later.
14. Maximize Time by Avoiding Perfectionism.
Trying to be perfect to a fault could be the death of you. Most times in life, people don’t expect perfection. They expect a job well done.
If we insist on being perfect in every task, we minimize the chance that we will actually complete the task. In fact, perfect is the enemy of good. If 80% of the effort produces 95% of the product, does it really make sense to reach for that final 5%? Will anyone notice? Will it affect the outcome?
Because they equate their self-worth with flawless performance, perfectionists often get hung up on meaningless details and spend more time on projects than is necessary. Ultimately, productivity suffers.
Just because something you did isn’t perfect doesn’t mean it’s not good enough or that it doesn’t deserve to see the light of day; it is just fine. Remember, perfection doesn’t exist. Plus, it’s inefficient to repeat tasks when you can pursue new jobs and be more productive.
15. Deal with Stress Wisely.
Stress often occurs when we accept more work than we are capable of accomplishing. The result is that our body starts feeling tired, which can affect our productivity.
Stress comes in various forms for different people, but some productive ways to deal with stress can include:
- Getting outside
- Practicing meditation
- Calling up a friend
- Participating in your favorite hobby
- Listening to music or a podcast
The key is to find what works for you when it comes to lowering your stress response. If you don’t have time for anything else, try a couple of breathing techniques. These can be done in minutes and have been proven to lower stress-inducing hormones.
Final Thoughts on How to Manage and Maximize Your Time
It’s ok to feel overwhelmed by everything you have to do sometimes. Life is busy, and sometimes people feel like they can’t juggle everything thrown at them.
Time is a precious resource, and there never seems to be enough of it in the world. But there are ways in which to make the most out of the little time you do have.
When you get clear about what’s on your plate, you’ll be more focused and get more done in less time.
Good time management requires a daily practice of prioritizing tasks and organizing them in a way that can save time while achieving more. Use the above strategies for few weeks and see if they help you. You may be surprised just how much more time you seem to have.