Are you ready to have your most productive year ever? Make managing your time a top priority for 2020. To help you get started, we’ve put together a series of helpful tips about time management.
Track Your Time
The easiest way to track the time you spend is by using an app on your mobile device. There are literally hundreds of apps available. If you don’t have a mobile device or would prefer not to use it, you can create a log on paper or use a spreadsheet on your computer. No matter which method you choose, this is the first step to improve your time management skills.
Once you’ve collected your data over a period of time, you can see where your time is going. Prioritize the most important tasks while eliminating or downsizing less important tasks.
Time Management Tips
For meetings, be sure there is a clear agenda and that everyone in attendance knows the plan. By setting specific goals for each meeting, you can eliminate wasted time.
You should also take a close look at your time audit and identify tasks that seem to be taking longer than they should. Set time limits for tasks. This will help you focus and eliminate time-sucking activities, or find ways to accomplish those tasks more efficiently. For instance, if you find that you are rebuilding the same report on a regular basis, talk to your technical team about automating it.
Planning your week ahead of time is one of the best ways to keep focused on your priorities. Take a moment each Sunday and create an overall plan for your entire week. You can include both home and work priorities, as well as goals you’d like to accomplish.
Each day, use the first 30 minutes to review the plan and schedule items for that day’s work. Make sure the very first task you schedule and complete each day is the most important one. Saving it for last can mean it doesn’t get done at all, but doing it first will help motivate throughout the entire day.
Monday is the most dreaded day for most and also the day you have the least amount of energy. Schedule low-priority tasks on Monday, followed by creative or demanding tasks on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
For work purposes, try to schedule meetings on Thursdays. Energy levels start to decline by Thursday, and using this time for meetings is ideal. Fridays can be used for networking and planning.
Learn From Setbacks
Instead of beating yourself up when tasks do not get completed, learn how to do better. Knowing what your stumbling blocks and time-sinks are can help you avoid them in the future–or at least give yourself a break and make a new plan to accommodate.