How to Effectively Manage Your Time
Time management is such an essential skill, however, it’s one where many people feel that they struggle with. So, how can you improve this? What is the secret to managing your time effectively?
How are you spending your time?
The first step you need to take in order to manage your time better is to work out how you are currently spending your time. This can be as easy as keeping a diary and making a note of what you are doing every day, and I mean EVERYTHING, so personal and professional.
However, there are also systems out there which will make this even easier for you, for example, there are time tracking programs out there which will allow you to track your time at the click of a button. This way you will get an accurate representation of how your time is being spent.
The idea of this step is once you have a good idea of where your time is being spent you can then start to identify areas where you can change. For example, if you are struggling to keep on top of administrative tasks, but then you find out you are spending 2 hours on leisure activities but only 30 minutes on administration, you can cut down your leisure time and use it doing administration.
Once you have a good idea how your time is being spent and you have identified possible areas of change you can then start planning your day/ week/ month. Look at the things that need doing, prioritise these tasks, make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to take care of the non-negotiable tasks.
Once you have dealt with all the essential non-negotiable tasks you can then start fitting in everything else. This will also be a good opportunity to cut out all the things that you
- Don’t want to do
- Don’t have to do
Don’t be afraid to delegate/ outsource
At the end of this task you should feel that your workload is more manageable, if you don’t then you need to go back and start again, if things are really too much and you cannot make it work then you need to consider outside help, look at what can be delegated to family, friends, or even professionals.
You need to feel better after doing this exercise or else you are at risk of burnout if you are taking on too much. You need to ensure that yes, all your essential tasks get done but you need to have some breathing space, there is a reason why in my example above I said cut DOWN on leisure time and not cut OUT.
Your time is precious, you need to make sure that you are making the most of every second. If you are the sort of person who finds themselves overwhelmed because you say yes to everything and then find yourself run ragged, STOP!
It is ok to say no to something if you genuinely can’t do something, or even if you don’t want to do something. No is not a bad word, it is a very important word, it is a powerful word. You are only human and therefore have limited capacity.
I am not saying that you need to be selfish and never help anyone but putting yourself first occasionally is extremely important for your health and wellbeing. You are just as important as everyone else.
This will be an ongoing process as time is fluid, things change, and so you will need to constantly reassess how your time is being spent.
Ideally, you will reassess your time on a regular basis in order to prevent overwhelm, however, if you do start to feel overwhelmed again then this will be the time to repeat the process if you don’t then you run the risk of burnout and that is what you are trying to avoid.