How often have you thought to yourself, “If I only had more time,” or, ”I wish there were more hours in the day?”
Do you think if you had more time that you would get more rest or slow down? Well, chances are if you had more hours in the day, you would probably fill them up with more things to do instead of creating time to take a much-needed break.
The truth is you don’t really need more time in the day. What you really need are strategies to better manage your time.
The problem we face in this 24/7 world is that we tend to forget to make time for ourselves. We forget that when we get run down, we put ourselves at a higher risk of being out of commission. Unfortunately, most of us are only willing to slow down and rest once we get sick or reach the point of exhaustion.
Here’s some Time Management Tips to help you avoid getting to that point:
Make a “To-Do” list. Do not rely on your memory. Keep one, and I emphasize only one, “To Do” list! This list should include all the tasks you have to do this week.
Because we are all so busy, you probably have a list that is way too long. Choose what you can realistically handle. That does not mean you won’t get to other things, it just allows you to take some of the pressure off that comes with feeling like you have to do everything now. You will need to consider which items on your “To Do” list are number one priorities. Those items that have priority could be highlighted, circled or underlined to indicate importance. Remember to cross off or delete the items you have completed at the end of each day and add any that may have surfaced during the day. By prioritizing you are wisely taking control of your time.
Delegate whenever possible. Moms and Dads, that includes you. Your children as young as 3 years old can get involved in cleaning up after themselves and should. Next time you tell them “clean your room” or “put your toys away” explain what that means. Does that mean shoving everything in the closet? Throwing everything under the bed?? Piling things on top of one another? Show them how to do it. You will probably have to show them several times, but, like everything else, they will eventually get it.
Employers, you can delegate by allowing your employees to take on more responsibilities. Take the time to train your employees and entrust them with a little at a time. In the beginning, make sure to follow up, ask if they have any questions and periodically evaluate their progress. Delegating will pay off enormously in the end as you will have more time to do the important things that only you can tend to. Your employees will feel more valued as well.
Open your mail every day. Do one of following four things with each piece of mail you open:
- Toss it – Throw away anything that you don’t want or need, like junk mail.
- Shred it – Shred anything that has your personal information on it that you don’t want or need.
- File it – File those things that you do need but not right away.
- Take Action – These are the items that need your attention – like a bill to pay or a call that you have to make.
The longer you wait to open your mail, the more it’s going to pile up and become overwhelming. So, open your mail each day, follow the above instructions, and you will be able to streamline your paperflow to avoid unnecessary clutter and piles of paper. The goal is to touch each piece of paper just once and decide what to do with it at that time.
Plan your day. Begin your day with a plan and end your day with a plan.
Set aside at least 10 minutes at the beginning of every day to plan your day:
- What calls and meetings do you need to prepare for?
- What are the three top things you’d like to accomplish today?
- What is the most important thing you want to accomplish this morning?
Set aside at least 10 minutes at the end of the day to wrap it up:
- What important things did you accomplish today?
- What meetings, calls and activities do you need to follow up on?
- Who do you need to follow up with tomorrow?
Don’t forget to update your “To Do” list accordingly. Managing time is more than just the ability to layout an organized schedule. Time management means setting priorities that communicate clearly what’s really important, making wise decisions that help set realistic goals, and setting firm boundaries that allow you to keep the promises you make to yourselves and others. By managing your time efficiently, you have the power over how productive you can be.