Managing your time and using it wisely is a journey, and not something that can be easily mastered overnight. Implementing a plan will help you become more productive. Time management requires a significant amount of self-discipline and commitment. If you learn to manage your time better, you will feel more fulfilled on a daily basis. Here are some tips to assist you with time management...
1. Set Goals both short-term and long-term goals for each day, week, and year. Take the time to make a written list of your goals, which will allow you to refer back to the list when you need some guidance. Keep in mind that it is okay to adjust the goals as your personal and business needs change. Use them as a tool to guide you.
2. Give yourself Mini-Rewards. All work and no play is a difficult concept to sustain for very long. Build rewards into your schedule. If there is a task you really dislike, follow it with a task that you greatly enjoy. Build "mini-rewards" into your schedule to increase your productivity.
3. Keep a running "To Do" list and use your calendar with alerts. The To Do list should contain both daily tasks as well as longer-term tasks. Having a To Do list will help keep your attention on the projects that require attention, and prevent some items from slipping through the cracks and being forgotten.
4. Keep your expectations realistic. No one can do everything, and with that in mind, try to set realistic expectations of what you can hope to accomplish.
5. Prioritize the list of things to do. Some items might require immediate attention, while others may be necessary but not as urgent. After prioritizing, try not to become a "firefighter" and only react to the urgent items. Be sure to still give proper attention to non-urgent items as well, as they are important too.
6. Use your time wisely. If there are blocks of time that you spend waiting or commuting, figure out ways to use that time being productive! Listening to podcasts, reading, writing, proof-reading, reviewing your schedule, planning for your next activity, etc, are all things that can usually be done remotely to fill in some of the unavoidable "dead" time in your schedule. Try to find interesting and unusual productive things to do during those periods of downtime.
7. Set appropriate time limits for tasks. When working on those tasks, monitor the time that each item is taking. If the time dedicated was more than you anticipated, review how you went about accomplishing that task and look for alternative time savers in the future.
8. Organize your space, and remove any excessive clutter. Spending time looking for something is a waste of time and time is a precious commodity. Both your living space and your physical working area should be organized so that you can easily locate anything you need in a moment’s notice.
9. Minimize distractions throughout your day and you will accomplish more. If you find yourself consumed by all different types of social mediums, try to set aside a specific period of time to participate in that social community. The less you are interrupted, the more you will be able to maximize your time. Work on minimizing interruptions and distractions as much as possible.
10. Reflect at the end of the day on what you accomplished. If you were unable to account for a specific period of time, or you found a given day to be particularly unproductive, take an inventory and try to determine where your time management system broke down.
Keep in mind that not every day is going to be as productive as you would hope. Unexpected things always come up, and no matter how hard you try, your expectations just might not be realistic. Do not become discouraged. Instead, simply stay focused and make an effort to increase your productivity the next day. Each day brings a renewed sense of energy with new opportunities to accomplish your goals.
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