While none of us knows exactly how much time we’ve got left on Earth, we all have the same 24 hours in each day to make the most of. Despite how determined we are, however, sometimes it seems like others have some sort of time management secret that we don’t know about. Turns out, it’s true: Give yourself the feeling of having more hours in the day with these 8 time management tricks.
- Know when to say no. You can’t please everyone, and if you’re going to achieve your goals (and preserve your sanity) you’re going to need to learn how to put your foot down. It takes some practice but saying no actually means saying yes to yourself, to your family, and to your success. You have to unlearn the mindset that saying no means that you’re being selfish. Set boundaries, stop over-committing and spreading yourself too thin, and don’t worry about what people will think. Remind yourself not everything is your problem to fix.
- Prioritize. Write down your to-do list in order of importance. Identify which of these items are priorities that cannot spill over onto the next day. Highlight anything that’s urgent. You can take this approach when considering what’s on your plate each day, each week, each month, and each year.
- Become a planner. You know those people who schedule everything? They’re winning the time management game. Add all of your plans to a calendar. Jot down everything from social media time to a trip to the park with your kids. If you can clearly see the way you’re using your time written out in black and white, you can easily see whether you have time to add anything else to your schedule. Likewise, if you have a deadline coming up, you should plan several days to work on the task ahead of the due date.
- Unplug. If you haven’t completed your daily priorities, minimize distractions by steering clear of social media, turning off email notifications, and even turning off your phone. Schedule times to check your email, and stick to them. True multitasking is a bit of a myth. Work smarter, not harder, by focusing and finishing faster.
- Ignore interruptions. Put a do not disturb sign on your office door and ignore any knocks or phone calls unless there’s a true emergency. Explain to your kids and spouse that you cannot be interrupted when you’re working. Remember, if you didn’t schedule it, you don’t need to deal with it.
- Handle your mail on the spot. To best utilize this time (and yes, mail time should be scheduled, too, if you get a lot of it) and minimize paper clutter, deal with incoming mail right away. Open the mail, recycle and shred what you need to, file bills to be paid or pay them right then, and utilize physical in and out boxes. Don’t get distracted by magazines, catalogs or letters. Save them for your lunch break or for after you’ve completed your to-do list.
- Delegate. If you have the ability to outsource, you’ll be giving yourself the gift of time. Hire a housekeeper, a virtual assistant, a grocery delivery service, or anything that could clear time in your schedule for something more important. This kind of help isn’t just for the wealthy, but if you absolutely can’t afford it, remember that the world won’t stop spinning if you don’t get round to doing the dishes. (And actually, the less you do, the more slack other members of your household might pick up out of necessity.)
- Refer back to your schedule. What good is a calendar if you don’t actually use it? Good intentions coupled with an expensive planner won’t actually accomplish your to-do list. It’s best to check it in the morning so that you know what lies ahead, and also at the end of the day so you can see what you’ve accomplished. Add and subtract as needed, and take a look at what’s on the agenda for the next day.
Goal Setting Books and Inspiration
My Favorite Planners
- How to Organize Your Blog With Purple Trail Content Planner
- Erin Condren Planner: Is the Life Planner For You?
- lake + loft dream.plan.do planner review