When you’re a busy business owner, or just a busy person in general, you’d likely give up a limb for a few extra hours in the day. Juggling a heavy workload, social life and family time can seem like an impossible task, but in reality you can do it all, you just need to learn effective time management. It’s amazing how quickly time can slip by, and becoming more aware of how valuable your time is can lead to unbelievable results. Really, we are all capable of achieving anything we set out to do, but many people simply fall at the first hurdle. There are a myriad of tips and hints out there on how you can manage your time better, but we already know you don’t have the time to read a thousand articles and blogs on how to do it better! So we’ve put together our top 8 best tips for effective time management to help you take control and harness the potential each 24 hours bring. Whether you want more time to spend with your family, or you’re itching to achieve a long held goal that has always felt slightly out of reach, effective time management can help you realise your ambitions and unlock your potential!
Tip 1: Do the most important tasks first
When you’re overwhelmed with a lot of work, it can be tempting to skirt around it and take on the smaller, easier tasks first. It gives you a sense of achievement to have got them done, and allows you to forget, just for a second, the looming beast of a task you’re ignoring in favour of the easier road. The truth hurts, and the truth is that you need to tackle your biggest, nastiest task of the day first. It’s a hard habit to get into, but the feeling you get once it’s done will make your day better, every time.
Tip 2: Get up earlier
What would you do if someone gave you an extra 365 hours every year? Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? Well it can be a reality, but you might not like it. We’re obviously talking about getting up an hour earlier. They say it takes 3 weeks to form a habit, and forming this one might hurt a little initially, but with 365 extra hours in the year, you’ll thank yourself in the long run. It’s important to note that being well rested is crucial, so aim to get at least 7 hours sleep a night!
Tip 3: Limit screen time, however you can
Most smartphones nowadays have a feature that allows you to track the amount of time you spend looking at it, as well as the number of times a day you pick it up. For most people, the statistics are horrifying, and although the social media dopamine hit is hard to give up, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that ditching the screen will free up an inordinate amount of time for you to do the things that really matter. If you want to take it to the extreme, download an app that will restrict your use of your gadgets. Break that habit!
Tip 4: Do one thing at a time
There’s a reason juggling plates is a specialised skill. It’s difficult, and stressful, and something many people inadvertently find themselves doing with their lives. When you have a lot on, it can be tempting to make a start on many tasks because it feels like you’re making progress. In reality, you’ll feel significantly less stressed if you put all of your focus and attention into one task at a time. You’ll do it better, you’ll know it’s done and you can get started on the next task afresh.
Tip 5: Track your time
When you’re in the middle of something and you get distracted it can turn a 1 hour task into one that tasks 3. Most of us will know roughly how long a job will take, so planning your day around these time spans, and keeping yourself on a realistic and achievable schedule, will hopefully keep you focused on the task at hand and limit the amount you procrastinate. Setting a goal to get something done by a certain time and achieving it will keep you moving positively forward.
Tip 6: Take time to relax
In today’s fast paced world, it can be easy to believe that if you’re not being productive then you’re not achieving. In fact, putting time aside to relax and reflect will do wonders for you both mentally and in terms of how much you can get done. Being able to relax completely guilt free knowing you’ve got everything under control, and making time to do so, will help prevent feeling burned out or overworked. Every single person deserves their downtime, so make sure you make it a priority.
Tip 7: Don’t be afraid to say no
If you have a goal you’re working towards, or you simply have a lot on, sometimes you just need to focus on the tasks at hand. It can be really difficult to say no to people, especially those closest to us. But what a lot of us don’t consider is that our loved ones will more than likely be proud of us for working towards our goals, and so being less available is to be expected. It’s crucial to make time to relax, but if you just can’t fit something in your schedule, explain and people will understand.
Tip 8: Lists!
Lots of people hate lists. They feel the act of writing pen to paper is old fashioned and laborious. But lists have gone fully 21st century, so whether you love your stationery or are a slave to technology, you can harness the most simple yet effective of organisational tools. Lists are fantastic for breaking down tasks. A large goal is achieved by accomplishing a lot of smaller goals, so by using lists to break down everything you need to do and ticking them off when they’re done, as well as consistently updating your lists, you can become an organisational demon!