We all have 24 hours in a day, but for some reason TIME FLIES.
So, why do I always run out of time?
Why can't I achieve everything on the list?
Why does it seem that some people are able to get the most out of EVERY SINGLE MINUTE?
They don't have the power to slow down time...HOWEVER...
They do know how to manage it!
Here are my Top 10 Tips on how to become a master of Time Management
1. Time Audit
Where is your time actually going?
We can all relate to this exclamation of horror: "One minute it was 9am, I looked up and it was noon! Where did the time go?" What's worse is when you then study your list of priorities and nothing has been ticked off.
Measuring your time metrics is vital. There are numerous applications and software tools that can measure the time spent on an activity or task. These programs provide reports to identify what is stealing your time.
Google Analytics provides great time metrics. There are also focus and time tracking Apps such RescueTime, Toggl and Calendar Productivity Apps that can come to the rescue.
2. Set Time Limits
Setting a time limit for each task prevents distraction and procrastination and keeps you FOCUSED. It also reduces stress around running late and being unprepared.
Set a certain amount of time to review emails; e.g. 8am - 10am. Once 10am arrives you can then clearly move onto the next task.
Reduce surrounding distractions that can interfere with your train of thought.
Set buffers between tasks and activities. This creates a safety net and reduces anxiety knowing that you have breathing space should an activity or meeting run overtime.
Clear your mind and recharge before the next task/meeting. Stand up, walk around or get some fresh air to reset your mind and body before a lengthy task.
3. To-Do Lists
Creating to-do lists provides structure to you day. They are essentially your thought processes documented, arranged and rearranged into a logical order based on priority. People underestimate the power of to-do lists and the hours of time you can save by creating them.
Create to-do lists for each goal and project
List all measurable steps that need to be accomplished
Keep track of the structure of the list
To-do lists are dynamic; rearrange the order and urgency as required
Make sure you tick of each task and acknowledge what has been completed
Make note of what tasks remain uncompleted
Acknowledge what has been achieved at the end of each day
4. Plan Ahead
The worst thing you can do is wake up without a plan for the day.
The night before: Spend the last 15 minutes of your working day composing a list of your most important items for tomorrow.
First thing in the morning: Write down the 3 or 4 most urgent and important matters to be addressed for the day.
Start your day by addressing your biggest and most challenging tasks - your Most Important Tasks. Why is this so effective?
You are most energetic in the morning and the feeling of accomplishment puts you in a positive mindset to tackle the rest of the day.
We all have 24 hours in a day. Where does the time go?
6. Delegate and Outsource
Delegating can be problematic for a lot of people. Some find it hard to let someone else do the work they are used to doing themselves. One of the main reasons I hear is the lack of time to train someone else to complete the task. However, delegating and outsourcing are real time savers and will lessen your workload long term.
Hand over responsibilities to the team; this is a great opportunity for those wanting to step up, learn new skills and develop professionally.
In an age of constant distraction it is so easy to be pulled in many directions. There is the constant balance of messages, emails and to-to lists together with the need of accomplishment.
The most common distractions are:
checking your phone
scouting your email
reading notes or messages
typing whilst listening
Regardless of how efficient you think you are, multi-tasking is one of the most inefficient activities there is. You rarely commit 100% to anything whilst taking twice as long to accomplish half as much.
Block out significant time to focus on one project and eliminate everything else...including your phone!
8. Online Calendar
Use your online calendar wisely to schedule:
Google Calendar and Outlook are great examples. You can also synchronise multiple calendars with the App Calendar 5.
9. Batch your Tasks
When you have related work or similar tasks, batch them together.
Different tasks demand different types of thinking. This enables your brain to remain in the same gear and saves time reorienting and switching from one focus to another.
10. Nobody's Perfect
Being a perfectionist can be a huge time waster.
BELIEVE ME I KNOW!
There is a need to understand that perfection doesn't exist, no matter how many times you do a task. Just when you think you have it perfect, there will be a reason to tweak.
It is OK not to be PERFECT
It is OK to say "NO"
It is OK to ask for HELP
When things get tough, disperse the workload. Support will always be available as long as you ask for it.
And remember to...TAKE A BREAK!
Be kind to your mind...we all need a break from our constant and demanding schedules.
Leanne Elich is a Psychology driven Business Strategist and Sales Acceleration Specialist.
The author of Business Mastermind Workbook - Solving the Sales Equation and creator of the Periodic Table of Sales.