Let’s face it, sometimes it seems like there just aren’t enough hours in the day. The hours seem to rush past as we scramble to get everything on our to do list done, and half of the time we don’t get most of those things done. It may seem never ending, but I’m here to tell you that there is a solution. You may not notice a huge difference overnight, but learning to leverage time management is a process. It’s all about trial and error, and figuring out what works for you.
Always stay positive, and remember that just because you didn’t get everything done doesn’t mean you didn’t accomplish anything. Never give up, and remember to relax.
Here are a few time management starter steps for you:
1.) Take plenty of breaks throughout the day.
This may be hard if you work a 9-5, but there are still ways you can incorporate multiple breaks. Our brain is only able to remain focused for about 90 minutes, so try to take at least a 15 minute break for every 90 minutes you work. Breaks give our mind and body time to refresh, relax, and reset our attention span.
2.) Take power naps.
A power nap is a sleep session that happens during the day (ideally between 1:00 to 4:00 PM “siesta”) lasting between 10 and 30 minutes. If you take a longer nap you’re at risk of developing “sleep inertia” — that groggy feeling that takes too long to shake off. Power naps improve creative thinking and productivity, and they are beneficial for mental alertness. Naps also help solidify new memories, and avoid burn outs.
3.) Recognize and eliminate unnecessary distractions.
I’m sorry to break it to you, but you may have to log out of social media. Whether social media is a distraction, or your tv is; you’ll want to make sure that you’re eliminating these distractions so that you can have a productive 90 minutes of getting things done. When you can work distraction free you’ll notice that you get a lot more done.
4.) Ignore low priority items on your to do list.
When creating a workflow, list your to-dos in the order of priority. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, but at least try to put your to do list in order of what absolutely has to be done, and what can be put off until later. Hold yourself to these priorities. Set your phone to do not disturb and tackle your list in order. If you get to the low priority items then great, but if you don’t then no need to stress about it. Just complete them when you can.
5.) Time everything! Time your meetings, email time, and phone conversations.
Take ownership of your time, set clear boundaries when meeting or talking with others. I know I personally have received a phone call while I was in the middle of a task, and instead of scheduling the call for later I would end up on the phone for much longer than anticipated. When the conversation finally ended I would feel all over the place, and be dissatisfied with how I spent my time. I decided that if I was in the middle of something important I would schedule the call for later, and let the person know that I was in the middle of something. That way I could return to my tasks and get things done how I intended.
Leveraging time management is all about about trying different things, and figuring out what works for you. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get to everything on your list. It’s ok for the unexpected to happen that why you have to be flexible. Do you best to plan your days out, prioritize your to do list, and adjust when necessary.