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Spring into better time management

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Spring into better time management

Ever feel like there are not enough hours in the day? Multitasking can feel like you need to be in four places at once.

Managing time isn't a refined skill, and it's not impossible. It's just about thinking logically about tasks, and their urgency. Time is precious, and we have to use it wisely.

Shifting up your time management habits can have invaluable benefits, and by making a few simple tweaks to your schedule can completely shift your workflow.

Effective time management can be easier said than done.

But there are a few simple things that you can do to improve your productive hours. Making some slight adjustments to your daily routine and mindset can be incredibly beneficial.

Adopt habits such as:

  • Prioritising your tasks
  • Planning ahead
  • Setting SMART goals
  • Breaking down big tasks
  • Learning to say no 
  • Using time blocks
  • Wiping away distractions
  • Leveraging technology and automation
  • Batching tasks together
  • The 80/20 rule
  • Striking the balance between work and life

Prioritise your tasks

First off, take a step back from the workload. The more you frantically try and tick off as many tasks at once, the more stressful your day is.

Start by identifying what needs to be done in a hierarchy of importance and order tasks based on their importance and urgency.

What's the difference between urgent and important? Both are vital to your operation, but urgent should be tasks that will have negative consequences if they don't get done.

Use the Eisenhower Box method to distinguish tasks that are:

  • Important and urgent: Do these tasks right away
  • Important but not urgent: Decide when to do these tasks
  • Urgent but not important: Delegate these tasks if possible
  • Not urgent and not important: Eliminate these from your schedule

E.g. Tomorrow's sales pitch with a potential high-paying client will be urgent. Coming up with a logo brief for next month is important, but it can wait for just a little bit longer.

Plan ahead

Allocate specific times for different activities. Use planning tools that are integrated into your task apps, and integrate them into your calendar.

Task recording software like ClickUp and Asana can integrate into your digital calendar so that you've got everything in one place.

At the end of each workday, spend 10-15 minutes planning the next day’s tasks. This helps set clear goals for what needs to be accomplished.

Set SMART goals

Use SMART goals, and you'll see results in no time.

SMART stands for:
Time-bound (SMART) goals

This will give you a roadmap and timeline for your objectives. Setting SMART goals ensures that you focus on attainable targets and measure progress as you go along.

Break down big tasks

Large projects can feel overwhelming. This is the root of all procrastination.

Break them down into smaller, manageable chunks, and tackle them one at a time. Achieve small victories, instead of setting yourself impossibly unachievable mammoth tasks.

This will make the work seem less daunting and keep you motivated as you can tick off your task milestones along the way.

Learn to say no.

Overcommitting is a common mistake. Quite often, we lose precious time at the hands of people pleasing, be realistic about what you can take on and learn to say no to tasks that don't align with your goals or fit within your available time.

Use time blocks

We all need to pencil in break times. Dedicate blocks of time to specific tasks without interruptions, try out the Pomodoro Technique. For example, you might work for 50 minutes and then take a 10-minute break, peppering in these breaks can boost focus and give you mini recharges between work sessions.

Eliminate distractions

Identify what commonly distracts you and take steps to minimise these interruptions.

This may involve turning off notifications, finding a quieter place to work, or setting boundaries with coworkers and family members during your work hours.

Leverage technology and automation

Use automation for tasks that can shave off valuable time. Tasks like content generation or data segmentation can be left to the capable hands of technology.

Let the computers do the work, while you focus on the more important things - like running your business.

Batch similar tasks

Grouping similar tasks can increase efficiency by reducing the mental load of switching between different types of activities. For example, designate chunks of time for checking emails, making phone calls, or running errands.

Review your day

At the end of the day, take a few moments to review what you’ve accomplished and reflect on what could have been done better. This can inform your planning for the next day and help you make continuous improvements to your time management skills.

Take care of yourself

Effective time management isn’t just about work. Ensuring that you get enough rest, family or social time, and self-care time is just as vital as your work time.

Learn to delegate

If you have too much on your plate, see if there are tasks that can be delegated to others. Delegating can free up your time for higher-priority tasks that require your expertise.

Apply the 80/20 rule

The Pareto Principle, or 80/20 rule, states that roughly 80% of effects come from 20% of causes. Identify the tasks that yield the most significant results and focus on those.

Maintain a healthy work-life balance

Remember that all work and no play can lead to burnout. Striking a healthy balance is key to long-term productivity and well-being. Happy mind = better workflows.

Stay flexible

While it’s important to have a plan, sometimes unexpected tasks or emergencies arise. Life throws curveballs at us all, stay adaptable and be willing to adjust your schedule accordingly.

Improving time management can do wonders in all areas of life. Just a few small tweaks can change your approach to time management, and enhance your productivity.  It's a functional stress buster in the long run, and more importantly - it can improve your overall life satisfaction.

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