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Tips for Effective Time Management

by Kai Kahale
6 minutes read

Time management is critical in all aspects of your life. Most of us think about it from a work perspective; having good time management skills helps you be more productive and get more work done during the day. However, managing your time also makes your life much easier. You’re no longer late to meet friends, you’re not struggling to fit loads of things into your day, and you’re not feeling as stressed. 

Lots of us struggle with time management as we’re used to not planning ahead. Distractions play a big part in it too – which is why we’re bringing you some amazing tips for effective time management. Follow the advice below and you’ll soon have a much more productive daily schedule. 

Set goals & prioritize

Goal setting will always be the secret to improving time management and productivity. How can you manage time when you don’t know what you’re doing every day? This applies to general life and work life – you need to start setting goals. 

Set some for each day – as well as every week – they don’t need to be massive goals, but the daily goals should add up to a weekly goal. Make sure the goals are SMART too; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. This stops you from creating ridiculous goals that you’ll never reach, which only serves to make you less productive in the long run. 

Once you’ve got your goals, prioritize them! Know which things are more important than others and it helps you focus on specific tasks. You’ve got something to aim for, and this immediately makes you better at handling time. 

Create a daily schedule with breaks included

A daily schedule will include all the different things you need to do, and it will be related to the goals you set. However, you must include breaks within this! Many people see breaks as the enemy of productivity and time management – if you’re taking a break, then this means you’re not working. 

In the real world, breaks aid your ability to make the most of your time. We become incredibly distracted and unproductive when we don’t take breaks. Our brains start to wander and every little thing grabs our attention. It reaches a point where we want to do anything but focus on the tasks at hand. 

Scheduling breaks gives you some sweet relief. It’s something to aim for – and it helps you remain refreshed and focused by removing a key distraction. Try the Pomodoro Technique if you want to schedule breaks into your daily work life. This is where you work for 25 minutes, then take a short 5-minute break. Repeat for 4 cycles before taking a longer, 10/15-minute break. It splits up your routine so you never get too bored with the tasks you’re doing or too stressed. 

Breaks may sound counter-productive, but they’re one of the hidden keys to unlocking your time management potential. 

Use apps to keep track of everything

Setting goals and following a schedule can be challenging as you can easily lose track of everything. There’s a lot to remember, so use apps to help manage everything. A simple idea is to use the calendar on your phone – you can add your schedule to it, so you always know what you’re doing and can see the plan for the day. It also sends reminders at different points in the day, prompting you to finish certain tasks and start new ones. 

Many other apps exist – even your phone’s timer is useful if you’re scheduling breaks at specific intervals – and you have the tools to be more productive. It’s a simple tip, yet it makes your time management far better as you’re not relying on your memory to keep up with everything. 

Give yourself deadlines to avoid slacking

Set deadlines for your tasks or chores and you’re encouraged to work harder. Many of your struggles with time management stem from a lack of urgency. You don’t need to do things by a certain time, so you don’t bother. Or – it feels like the deadline is very far away, meaning you relax for too long. 

Unfortunately, slacking only leads to things piling on top of one another. There will come a point where you’re juggling multiple tasks or jobs that could’ve – and should’ve – been finished days/weeks ago. Give yourself deadlines and it puts a point in your mind to finish something. 

You can adopt this approach with regular life tasks too. For example, avoid spending too much time shopping by setting a “deadline” when you walk into the shop. Put a 15-minute timer on your phone and get all the grocery shopping done in that time. When it goes off, it’s time to leave. This stops you from dilly-dallying and wasting time – which then eats into the next thing you have to do. 

Learn how to delegate

It’s okay to admit when you need help. Sometimes, you don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done. Forcibly trying to plow through a huge schedule or to-do list can cause stress and burnout – which ends up being the opposite of effective time management! 

Understand when it’s better to delegate tasks to others. At work, this could mean getting someone else in your team to handle something as it’s their area of expertise or they’ve got some free time. If you’re self-employed, this can mean outsourcing things like filing a tax return to someone who can do it for you. Within daily life, it might involve asking your partner to do the shopping or to cook dinner today. 

Delegation frees up time so you can focus on the most important tasks you’re capable of doing. You start using your time wisely, rather than attempting to juggle a million and one things at once. 

Effective time management is all about setting goals, creating schedules, prioritizing, removing distractions, taking breaks, and realizing your limitations. Get better at managing every minute in your day and you’ll feel refreshed, less stressed, and way more productive. 

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