Time management is something that most people feel they can do better at. Whether you’re thinking about personal life tasks like chores around the home or managing your time better at work so you can meet deadlines, we’ve compiled a list of tips for better time management to help you out! Take a look at what our advisors had to say about creating better time management habits.
Writing all of the things you need to do out in a list can help you create a plan of attack for accomplishing your goals. Being able to see a physical list of your ‘to-do’ items and crossing them off as you go can help you stay motivated too. Whether you prefer pen and paper or typing them out, writing a list is a great starting point for time management.
“I know I struggle with time management when I don’t have a list because I’ll remember in the middle of one task that there was something else I was supposed to do,” says Den Montero, Marketing Director of Moeflavor. “Now, not only am I disorganized, but I’m behind on a deadline too. Keeping a ‘to-do’ list of things to get done can be super helpful both around the house and at work.”
Learning how to prioritize tasks (using that to-do list you just wrote) can help you manage your time wisely. As mentioned above, it’s easy to get distracted with one task that needs to be done even if it’s not the most pressing item on the list. Prioritizing your tasks can help with time management and efficiency in your personal and work life.
“Prioritizing tasks can seem like a chore but it can be much more efficient,” says Chris Gadek, Head of Growth at AdQuick. “Even if your task is to go grocery shopping, prioritizing items on your list in the order you’d encounter them in the store can help you save time as you’re shopping. You can apply this strategy to running errands to save you time and fuel or to your work projects to make sure you’re meeting deadlines in the most efficient way possible.”
While you may be great at creating a schedule for your work life, personal life can often be a bit less organized. Creating a schedule to accomplish things in a certain period of time can help you practice better time management skills at home too.
“It will seem weird at first, but I found it really helpful to schedule specific chore times into my weekly planner,” says Brianna Bitton, Co-Founder of O POSITIV. “Not only does this help me remember to do them, but it also sets a time goal on the chore as well. If I know that’s the only time this week that I’ve set aside to complete the task, I’m more motivated to stick to it and accomplish it in that period of time.”
If you’re someone who struggles with the concept of time because you get wrapped up in what you’re doing, wearing a watch could be a simple thing that helps you manage your time better. Whether it’s a smart watch or a traditional wrist watch, it can be a great tool to help you stick to your timeline.
“Wearing a watch is a super easy way to help yourself stay on task as you’re working on time management,” says Karim Hachem, VP of eCommerce at Maxine of Hollywood. “This is especially helpful when your tasks don’t require a computer or device. I find that checking my phone for the time often leads me to being distracted by notifications so it’s better for my time management to wear a basic watch to meet my goals.”
If simply wearing a watch doesn’t cut it for you, you can also set timers to help yourself with time management. You can use a timer on a watch or device to help you reach your goals as you learn to manage your time better. These timers can help you learn to monitor your own process and how long tasks take so you can adjust and plan your time management strategies better.
“Timers are fantastic because they are an obvious reminder of how much time has passed,” says Brittany Dolin, Co-Founder of Pocketbook Agency. “I sometimes find myself so wrapped up in what I’m working on that I completely forget to look at the time and remember I need to move on to another task. Whether that task is a meeting, picking up the kids, cooking dinner, or switching to another project, being late for something can really throw off the rest of your day.”
Being realistic with your time management goals is super important. While you may feel you’re struggling to manage your time, a closer analysis may reveal that you’re simply trying to fit too much into your day. If you find yourself consistently missing deadlines or running late, overcommitment and unrealistic expectations may be to blame.
“Take note of areas you’re really struggling in with time management,” says Dan Potter, Head of Digital at CRAFTD. “Then ask yourself if you’re being realistic with the time you’re expecting these tasks to take. While you might WANT that project to take an hour and a half, it might be more realistic to plan for two so you’re not pushing back other tasks for the day.”
This can be a challenge when you use devices for work, but removing distractions is a big part of effective time management strategies. Apps like Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram are looking to pull you in with interesting feeds of posts from your family, friends, and others that you follow. The problem is that these apps, along with other things, can be really distracting.
“Some people are more easily distracted than others,” says Rachel Roff, Founder and CEO of Urban Skin Rx. “If you’re having a hard time staying on task and things are taking longer than you’d like, look at the things that are distracting you. For some people, this might mean turning off your phone or tv while working so you’re not distracted by notifications. For others it might mean closing your office door or wearing headphones at work so others don’t distract you.”
Multitasking has been proven time and time again to not produce the most effective results. While you might feel like you’re accomplishing more by multitasking, you’re often wasting time by jumping back and forth between tasks and not completing either one to the best of your ability.
“Instead of multitasking, try to complete one thing before moving on to the next,” says Steven Vigilante, Head of New Business Development at OLIPOP. “At the very least, plan to spend a certain amount of time on something before moving on to something else rather than trying to bounce back and forth. This often wastes a lot of time because you’re not focusing your brain or energy on one area.”
Procrastination can lead to motivation but it also is a major issue for people looking to create better time management habits. If you’re someone who procrastinates a lot, look for ways to avoid procrastinating. You can find someone to hold you accountable to deadlines or schedule steps of a project out so you’re less likely to put it off. There are many techniques and practices to avoid procrastinating.
“Procrastination is a terrible habit to maintain if you struggle with it,” says Dr. Michael Green, Chief Medical Officer of Winona. “Learning to be proactive about your tasks can relieve a lot of stress and anxiety and help you manage your time better. Instead of waiting until the last minute, use reminders or a calendar to prompt yourself to work on your tasks before they have to be done. You’ll often do better work and feel better too.”
Boundaries can be very hard to establish if you haven’t practiced them well in the past. Boundaries don’t exist only with other people, but with your time as well. Setting boundaries on different activities and time commitments can be a great way to practice better time management.
“Learning to say ‘no’ to others when they ask you to do something you can’t fit in your schedule is important for your own mental and physical health as well as your time management skills,” says Sumeer Kaur, CEO of Lashkaraa. “Trying to do too much at once can put you under a lot of stress and make you feel like you’re falling behind. On the flip side, you have to be able to say ‘no’ to yourself once in a while too. Even if there’s a great concert or dinner with friends that you want to make it to, you need to stick to your time boundaries and make sure you’re prioritizing your time well for better time management.”
While there are a ton of tips for better time management out there, it’s important to member that time management is a habit. Habits aren’t something that form overnight or from practicing a few times. Sticking to a goal like improving your time management strategies can be hard but the payoff is more than worth it. Hopefully these tips for better time management will help you succeed in whatever goals you’ve set!
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