7 Powerful Time Management Tips | Make Time For Everything
I’ve compiled a list of time management techniques and tools that will help you achieve more by doing less. These time management tips will help you become more productive, and make more conscious use of your limited time. I hope these time management strategies will help you learn how to manage your time better and make the clock your friend instead of your enemy as they did for me.
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Visualize Your Firsts So Your Seconds Becomes Easier
This is an unusual time management strategy, but it is extremely powerful. Doesn’t a task take more time when you try to do it the first time? Because the first time you need to figure out how to optimally do each step of the task on the go. But you’ll notice that it doesn’t take as much time when you do it the second time, or the third.
So how do you turn your firsts into something you’ve already done before?
This sounds like a deep psychological question but I promise you it’s very simple. Using this technique you can upgrade your time management skills to an entirely new level. When you look at your to-do list in the morning, take at least 2 minutes to visualize yourself completing each task. Imagine yourself going through the steps you need to get the items done. Our minds are powerful, and when you mentally perform a task, it will be etched into your memory. So when you perform the task, it’ll be your second time doing something you’ve already done before in your head.
When we try to do something for the first time, we often waste a lot of time doubting ourselves and making decisions, while doubting if we are making the right decisions. But if you’ve already mentally completed a task, that self-doubt will dissipate. You’ve done this before. You know where to go, and exactly how to get there. You’ll be surprised to notice how much time this saves.
Prioritize in a Structured Way
On a sheet of paper, draw four boxes, two on each row. Label the vertical axis as importance, the horizontal one as urgency. This is the Eisen Howar Decision Matrix. This time management tool could change your entire time management strategy.
Now take the tasks in your to-do list and categorize them according to their nature. Let’s say I have to write an assignment that’s due tomorrow. It’s important because I care about your grades, and it’s urgent because it’s fast approaching. Again, suppose I have to write a blog post for the brand that reached out to collaborate with me before next month (sorry studying and blogging is my life right now and I couldn’t think of anything else). It’s important but not urgent.
Then approach your matrix like this:
- Immediately doing the tasks on the first quadrant (high importance, high urgency)
- Schedule the tasks on the second quadrant (high importance, low urgency)
- Delegate the tasks on the third quadrant (low importance, high urgency)
- Eliminate the tasks on the fourth quadrant (low importance, low urgency). What are they even doing here?
Know Which Tasks to Batch
This is a time management technique I discovered from practice and it has helped me learn how to take control of my life. A lot of you might have heard of time-batching, grouping similar tasks together, and doing them all at once. But is time batching appropriate for all tasks? In my experience, poor time management happens when we try to do the same, mentally draining task for hours on end.
There are two kinds of tasks we have to do each day: tasks that require a lot of brainpower, and routine slash monotonous tasks that can be done while our brains are on vacation. Batching tasks that require a lot of thinking is going to drain us mentally and physically very soon. You’ll realize you are finding it hard to think and make decisions after a while, and the quality of your work will not be as high as you are capable of.
So, batch routine or low mental energy tasks together, but spread out the ones that require a lot of brainpower. For example, I try to spread out coding and writing throughout my schedule, and sprinkle several breaks and routine tasks between them to create an effective time management schedule.
Turn Your To-Do List into a Plan
This is one of my most effective tips for time management that also ensures that each item on your to-do list is completed, and helps you prevent procrastination. What do you see when you look at your to-do list? A bunch of stuff that you should be doing that are staring at you with a judgmental glare. But when you schedule the tasks in your hourly calendar, they become goals with a set plan and you are more likely to get them done.
This will also make sure that you are aware of how much time you have in the day and keep you from placing unreasonable expectations of productivity on yourself.
So, place your tasks in your calendar. You can use Google calendar to do this, or you can use a planner. I find Google planner to be more usable and easy to change, but if you are someone who needs to plan your tasks out by hand t increase the possibility of getting them done, you can use a planner instead. The rest of the tips for time management will help you manage your time better, but this skill will help you actually get everything done.
Time Your Tasks Right
I learned this time management skill when I was trying to figure out how to manage time in college more efficiently so I can squeeze in a small social life into my insane schedule.
Schedule your most important and mentally draining tasks on hours of the day you feel most productive and high on energy. Mornings and evenings are my most productive hours because of the caffeine dosage and naps. So, I try to place writing blog posts and assignments, studying, and coding projects on in these two periods of the day, while reserving low-energy tasks like answering emails and scheduling pins for Pinterest on hours when I feel like a potato, which is during afternoons and after 10 pm.
Find the Goldilocks Sweet Spot
Parkinson’s law states that ‘work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion’.
What this means is that if you schedule an hour to complete a task, it will take you about an hour. But if you allocate four of yours of your time for that same task, it might take you about four hours. So be careful about the amount of time you choose to dedicate to a task. The key is: not too much, not too little, but find that Goldilocks Sweet spot in between.
Take More Productive Breaks
But scrolling through social media during each break is not going to help you recharge or feel refreshed. Instead, use your breaks on activities that are sure to recharge your mind and body. Eat a healthy snack, take a walk down the block, have a cup of coffee while you enjoy the greenery, do a couple of breathing exercises. Spend your free time doing things that rejuvenate your soul, so you can get back to your work as your most productive self.
These tips will only help you understand how to manage time better. But time management skills are not mastered overnight. It took a long time for me to transform from a potato to someone who has a moderate amount of control over their time management schedule. Even though my time management skills are still at noob level, I can say that, these time management strategies help me to be a very productive person on most days.
I hope these time management tips will help you learn how to take control of your life. What are some other time management techniques you use to manage your time better? Share in the comments below so everyone can learn your secret.
About The Author
Hi, I’m Zarnaz. I’m a self help junkie, caffeine addict, writer, engineer and I’m extremely passionate about the science of people. I want to know what inspires you, motivates you, drives you to make better choices and ultimately, how to help you reach your full potential. This is a blog dedicated to that cause.