Like most everyone else, I don’t have quite enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that I want to do. I do however manage to get done what is most important to me in life; the things that are left undone are the secondary want to-do’s on my list. I wanted to share with you my top five time management tips that help me accomplish exactly what I want to.
Focus on Your Priorities
Hands down this is the number one most important time management tip. I use a strategic life plan in order to understand what I value, what I want from life and then set my goals based on this. From there all of my goals are broken down to daily steps that allow me to achieve my goals. When your goals come from your life’s priorities, it is easier to do your daily tasks, because you know that you will get what you want from life if you complete them.
Everything Goes on a To-Do List
If it needs done it gets added to a list. I take all the steps required for me to reach my goals and add them to my to-do list. Additionally if I cannot do a task when I think of it then it gets added to my list. This way everything that needs done is in one location. The only things that don’t make it on the list are household chores that are just part of weekly living such as make dinner and do the laundry. It is pretty obvious when I need to toss in a load of laundry or make dinner!
Just to give you an idea of what was on my list for this week: text a friend I had not talked to, request class brochure, and schedule date night and mail bills. This way nothing gets forgotten, plus it frees up space in my brain for more important things than remembering what I need to do.
I use an app and online system called Toodledo to manage my list. I almost always have my phone with me so I can quickly add items to my to-do list no matter where I am. The online version allows me to align my tasks with my goals and then prioritize them so I am always on track with the important items. Thus my priorities get done first because they are ordered in the sequence that I value them.
Learn to Say No
This was the hardest thing for me to do, as I am a people pleaser. Yet by learning to say no I have freed up an amazing amount of time. The two keys to this for me are asking the person requesting my time the following questions; “let me sleep on this (or I have to check my calendar)” and “what exactly does this involve”. This allows you to have time to think about it, check your schedule and completely understand what is being asked of you.
Additionally before I raise my hand to volunteer I do a quick check in with myself and ask if it is something that I would truly enjoy doing and fits my priorities or am I trying to make someone else’s life easier.
Having a plan for how to get things done helps you stay on course. For example: I have a very detailed process for when I write my articles. It is broken down by the steps that I take to write, such as select topic, research post, write rough draft, and it is also broken down by what is done on what day. I know that every Friday is my select and research day.
By knowing exactly what needs to happen and when it makes it easier to stay on track. It even helps me plan ahead because I can see what days might be problems, such as Monday I can’t write because it is a school holiday and my son will be home.
I also set up routines in my personal life, such as what days I work on our bills, what day I will grocery shop and plan our menu. You can set up a routine for just about anything and you will be amazed at how it helps keep you on track!
Be Aware of Your Distractions
Understanding where you tend to “lose time” can help you set up ways to get out of the time trap. For example do you spend hours on FaceBook when you only planned to do a quick check in? Knowing that this is your downfall will help you create a plan to ensure it does not happen.
An example of this for me is Pinterest, I can get lost for quite a while on this site. Therefore I have a rule that when I am using Pinterest for personal use, I can only do it on my phone. Why this rule? Because this typically means I am waiting for my son either in car line, at a practice or I am waiting for an appointment. So it is time that was going to be “wasted” anyway.
Hopefully my time management tips will help you accomplish more of what you want during your day. Ultimately remember one of the biggest keys to achieving what you want is to not fill your day with things that are not in your top priorities, focus instead on what you really want from life.
Your Turn – What time management tips do you have to share?