8 Time Management Techniques for Busy People
There are only so many hours in the day. You can’t store it, nor can you borrow more for later, only you can decide what you spend your time on.
Naturally, you’ll want to spend your time on things that add value to your life. But with life being so busy in these modern times, what with jobs, kids, housework and other activities, how can you have time for those things that matter the most to you?
Huge lists of "to-do's" can quickly become overwhelming, and coaching clients of mine know that I am a huge advocate of breaking down larger tasks into manageable actions. Luckily, time management techniques can have a large impact on this feeling of overwhelm that busy people may experience.
Discovering techniques that help simplify how you work, ensuring that you get tasks done more efficiently and giving you more time for whatever you choose is key for ensuring a greater feeling of control and productivity.
The key here is to realise that every individual has different needs, preferences and responsibilities, what works brilliantly for one person may not be the right fit for you and your life.
Try a few of the following techniques, find that perfect recipe and see how much time you can free up, so you can concentrate on what really matters to you.
1. Organize your work around your energy levels
Your productivity levels are directly related to your energy levels, so schedule your hardest tasks for when your energy levels are at their highest, with any low-value tasks that require little energy, such as responding to emails, can be scheduled for the times when your energy levels are lower.
Early riser? Fab, get the more challenging jobs completed early allowing you to go breeze through the rest of your day.
Night Owl? Wonderful, self-awareness is power. Get the smaller jobs done whilst you are still a little sluggish and tackle the bigger one when you are at peak energy and motivation levels!
2. Make a plan for the day
Before you go to bed, write a "to-dah" list for the next day. When you plan ahead, you’re mentally preparing yourself for any challenges you may face AND you then give yourself an internal pat on the back as you say "ta-dah" to yourself when ticking them off. Note: This will also help to limit procrastination at the start of the day and ensure that you work faster and more efficiently.
3. Start your day with the most important task
When you start the day off by completing your most important task, you’ll give yourself a boost of momentum and a real sense of accomplishment.
4. Prioritize tasks
When every task is a priority, nothing is.
Urgent tasks should be the highest priority, then look at any high-value tasks, while relegating low-priority tasks to the back of the queue.
5. Learn to outsource
Be aware of any workaholic or martyrdom tenancies. You don’t have to say yes to every request or complete every task yourself. Especially those low-priority tasks. Sometimes it’s better to outsource these tasks, so you can focus your attention on the more pressing ones.
6. Use technology to your advantage
Nowadays there is technology available that can help automate or simplify many of your tasks. There are tools to send group messages, automatically fill in online forms at the touch of a button, set app usage limits on your phone, share a work or family calendar or create regular online grocery shopping baskets. The list really is endless and could save you hours each week.
7. Cut out distractions
When you are distracted, it can take a while to get your focus back to the job in hand, which can greatly limit your productivity. Turn off distractions by:
Turning off the notifications on your phone.
Set a timer to focus on a particular task, and commit to no distractions during this period.
Investing in a pair of headphones to use at work, as this makes others less likely to approach you when you have them on.
Schedule in any social media browsing time as mindless scrolling can easily use up hours of time better spent elsewhere.
And last but certainly not least...
8. Realize that things don’t need to be perfect
It’s easy to get caught up in trying to make everything perfect, leading to being slowed down and possible deadlines being missed. It is important to remind yourself that we are human beings with faults, and expecting perfectionism is an impossible task that will only leave you feeling demotivated and disappointed.
Your best is good enough, and if your best on a particular day is adequate or "that'll do", then that's OK.
So give it a go. To start you may want to try each of these techniques one-by-one. Once you find those that work best for you and your life, use them daily. Your productivity will increase, and you’ll save precious time in your busy life, giving you the time to do what matters most to you.