Tips to help you master the art of time management
Be it Bill Gates or you, everyone has 24 hours a day. It’s no secret that Bill Gates has an insane work schedule. So how does he manage the responsibilities and stay at the top of the game? He schedules his days meticulously and uses every minute productively. If Bill Gates can do it, so can you. The truth is that you have all the time you need to get things done, and all you have to do is take your time seriously and step up your time management game with the following tips.
Once you learn where your time goes, it is easy to optimize your time for productivity, focus, and balance. You can accomplish more and enjoy more free time by using time wisely. A time audit is a systematic process to review how you spend time every day. Time audit helps manage time effectively and make informed decisions toward achieving every goal.
To-do list and prioritization
The best way to begin time management is to create a list of tasks on a Word document, alongside the deadlines. Once the list is ready, the next step is to organize and group similar ones before prioritization. Is there a task you can do first and then strike that off with a few others? Doing that first is undoubtedly good time management and prioritization.
Having a checklist is a proven way to organize and manage tasks, avoid errors, maintain consistency, increase efficiency and productivity, and ensure the completion of the tasks at hand. Your checklist can also be a psychological tool to enjoy small doses of happiness every time you put that check in the box.
Breaking up tasks into doable pieces
If you plan to read a 200-page book, make it doable by trying 50 or 25 pages every day. If writing a 20-page assignment in four days sounds overwhelming, how about writing five pages every day? Splitting big tasks into small doable pieces – you can call it micro productivity – is a highly recommended one-step-a-time strategy. Breaking tasks down helps make them approachable, identify what steps you should take next, work with small yet specific goals, and get feedback to make course corrections.
There is nothing happier than getting rewarded for hard work. So, why not incentivize yourself for your time management skills. If you want to buy your favorite headphones, try to put some money in a jar every time you complete a task. You will soon work your way up to buy the headphones. Or, you can take a fifteen minutes break to catch up on your Instagram feed or listen to your favorite song. And remember to keep it brief. Online media are big time distractions.
A time limit for each task
If you want to write an assignment of 3000 words, having a realistic time limit will help avoid distractions and procrastination, focus on the essentials, and drop the non-important, thus taking productivity to a new level.
However, while setting the time, be flexible but realistic. Some tasks may extend longer than you expect. You can put buffers between your task schedules so that each one of them does not eat into the time allocated for another one.
The stress and anxiety that unattainable goals create are counterproductive and can dishearten us from moving forward. Your mind may get bogged down by the pressure and achieve nothing.
Everything in life is attainable when you take small actionable steps in the right direction each day. A realistically achievable goal is one you can attain with your current skills, abilities, and mindset. The SMART approach is a popular way to set realistic goals. It meets the following requirements:
- Early riser
As the adage goes, the early bird catches the worm, though a worm sounds too gross an incentive for waking up early. But the best time to do time-consuming and complex tasks is early morning – when your body and mind are fresh after a good night’s sleep. Early risers can better deal with negativity and procrastination; enhance chances of success; become more persistent, cooperative, agreeable, conscientious, healthy, happy, and proactive; and look better, says a recently published entrepreneur.com article.
You love notifications on your smartphone because they make you feel needed. They are like a spike of dopamine – the feel-good yet addictive chemical. Here the smartphone is not the problem; it is how much you use it every day.
You don’t have to cut the gadget out completely to hit the books. There could be apps and digital resources that help you while studying. If you can sift through what’s on your phone, it is easy to set aside what is necessary for your education.
One task at a time
If you believe that multitasking will make you efficient, research proves otherwise. When you switch between tasks, it hampers productivity, taxes the brain, and causes mental and emotional fatigue. Instead of the scattershot approach, a more focused way is to do one task at a time. It is a better way to become productive and efficient. If you believe that you can split attention between two tasks, the reality is you are paying less attention to both.
Sleep and productivity go hand in hand. Adequate sleep improves your health, well-being, and productivity. But if you compromise on your sleep, it may affect your memory, decision making, alertness, and problem-solving skills, and eventually, your productivity dips drastically.
Another equally important part of keeping the brain active is to take regular breaks. A thirty-minute break after rushing home and before you begin to study is a recommended way of recharging your body and brain. Drinking an adequate amount of water can also work wonders in stimulating your brain before switching to the focus phase.
Let us wrap it up!
Time is a valuable possession and something you cannot get back once spent. Hence, time management is one of the essential life skills that can improve the overall quality of your life. If time flies, aren’t you the pilot who controls it? That said, all the days may not go according to plan. Life may throw curve balls at times – something unexpected may come up, and your planning may go awry. Still, it is worthwhile to start with some time management plans.