How to Manage Your Time Effectively
Do you ever get to the end of the day and feel like you got nothing accomplished? I’ve been there too. Friends, I am the QUEEN of procrastination. I make plans to get stuff done ahead of time, but do I ever follow through? NO. If I can put something off until the last minute, I will. If I can put it off forever, even better!
So lately I’ve been working on turning things around and I’m going to share how you can manage your time effectively too.
Almost every Sunday of the last three months has been spent frantically writing the blog posts that I put up Monday at 6am. They always come together, but I got tired of feeling so behind.
I’m pleased to say that with the following steps I’ve been seeing results! I’m getting more done, I’m now ahead of schedule, and I’m less stressed out! Now I actually get to enjoy my Sundays.
Keep reading to learn how to manage your time more effectively.
The Best Time Management Hacks
1. Track your daily activities
The first step is to keep an honest log of your daily activities for several days. You want to know how you’re spending your time so that you can fully utilize the next steps. I kept a log last week and it showed that I can be a little all over the place. In the example I shared below, you can see at 11am I lost an hour doing who knows what.
|7:00 am||get ready for the day|
|7:30||check emails, facebook work|
|9:00||coffee, watched news, computer misc|
|10:00||breakfast, pinterest work|
2. Define your priorities
Now that you can see what you’re spending your time on, it’s time to define your priorities. What do you want to have accomplished at the end of the day? What daily activities are going to get you closer to your long term goals?
At the beginning of each day chose just 3 top priorities. If you get those done and have time and energy for more than you can work on other stuff but you want to put your focus on the tasks that are going to benefit you the most in the long run.
→ Learn How to Improve Your To-Do List
3. Find your most productive time zones
Look at your activity log and find when you get the most accomplished. Also pay attention to when you have the most energy. You might spend a lot of time on one task, but are you being really productive during that time?
For example, on my log I was writing from 1:30 to about 6:00, but I wasn’t doing my best work. I was hitting walls left and right and struggling to push through them. That’s because after the energy boost from lunch wears off around 2:30 I start to lose focus. My writing time would be better spent between 10:00-2:00 and easy tasks should be for later in the afternoon when I’m not as sharp.
You might be the most productive first thing in the morning, or at night after the kids go to bed, or somewhere in between. So block off those times for your top 3 priorities and everything else can be done at other times.
4. Prepare for success
Now that you know your priorities and your productive time zones, it’s time to make sure your environment is set up to help you manage your time more effectively. Identify your good habits and time wasters. Do more of what’s already working for you. Change what isn’t.
Do you waste too much time on social media? Put your phone in another room, uninstall apps, or get a browser plug in that will block certain websites during work hours.
Are you always running late because you can’t decide what to wear? Set out your outfit the night before.
Is you work space messy and distracting? Take 5 minutes at the end of every day to clean it up so you don’t have to worry about it tomorrow.
For more tips read Why Your Environment is Key to Achieving Your Goals
5. Make a new schedule
Now that you’ve defined your priorities, identified your productive time zones, and prepared your environment for success, it’s time to create a schedule that really works for you.
I find that it helps to have a visual aid, so you’ll want to either write it in a planner, make a spreadsheet, put it on google calendar, or whatever form that works best for you. I’ve tried a couple methods and so far I find that writing out my schedule and then putting reminders in Google Calendar is my personal preference.
Schedule your top priority tasks during your best productivity times, and less important tasks at other times. Make sure to schedule breaks too.
6. Experiment and be consistent
No one is going to nail the perfect routine on the first try, so expect to have to tweak something here, eliminate something there, adjust this, add that. Brainstorm for new ideas, try a system for a while, and evaluate how things are going.
Remember to do so from a place of non judgement. You haven’t failed if things aren’t quite right, you are simply being presented with an opportunity to learn and improve.
When we continue to seek out ideas and try new things we grow.
Time Management Hacks Summary:
- Choose your top 3 priorities.
- Know your top productivity hours.
- Create a physical environment that supports your goals.
- Create a daily schedule that combines your top priorities with your top productivity hours.
- Experiment with new arrangements as needed.
- Be consistent!
Try out this method to manage your time more effectively and I promise you’ll have results!
Great Tips! I’ve been in the habit of dropping my kids off, coming home and working as much as I can until it’s time to pick up the youngest (just 3 hours), but wow! 3 hours kid free everyday is plenty of time to crank out work. Staying focused and not procrastinating is difficult though. Thank you for your article!
Defining your priorities is an important step that SO many people overlook! If you don’t know what’s most important to complete, how are you going to ensure that it gets done if you find yourself in a time crunch? Furthermore, it’ a great way to make it all seem less overwhelming by allowing you to focus on only the most important things.
I was the queen of procrastination too, mostly because I was so unplanned it was a mess really. So since past two years I have consciously shifted that mindset now I am much better with time-management. I loved reading your post. Thanks for sharing!
I will be interested in knowing more about time management as I tend to procrastinate when not so good. I am working all day for about 3 weeks, then for a few weeks I normalise, then I wont do anything for a few days and then it’s a repeat. I would love to be able to find the happy medium, so that I get a few hours every week to do craft or something I can enjoy.
I like your ideas here, especially defining your priorities. Until that’s done, it’s hard to organize yourself…so thanks for including that.
I think you’re right- even by determining when you are most productive and what your priories are you can accomplish so much on a daily/weekly basis.
These are great tips for effective time management! I definitely need to implement some of these ideas!
Great tips for managing your time! Time management is an ongoing struggle for me!
Love your tips! I think this is something that we all struggle with, our time! I’m going to try this, writing down what I’m doing because I always feel like I didn’t get done what I wanted to by the end of the day.
Love this!! I was very frustrated when my first scheduled weekly plan did not work but I had to learn that you have to experiment to really find what works for your schedule in real time. I’m definitely going to get more skilled at prioritizing tasks throughout the week.
Such great tips, I’m in the middle of creating my new schedule in Excel at the moment! xx
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