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 managing my time effectively and I’m going to share how I’ve turned things around.
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.
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|
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
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.
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
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.
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.
- 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!