Make the Most of Your Time
Learning how to manage your time effectively can have a positive impact on your personal and professional productivity. It can reduce the stress you experience on a daily basis, which in turn has a positive impact on your health, relationships, and general well being. Use these tips to start developing better time management habits.
Putting tasks off results in unnecessary stress and usually takes more time in the long run. A task that you put off until tomorrow or the next day is still a task that you're going to have to find the time to accomplish.
If you complete the task today, you'll be free and ready to move on to the next item on your list. If you put it off, it will weigh on your mind, causing stress, until you take care of it.
Write It Down
Instead of relying on your memory, write down things you need to do or remember. There's no way a busy person can remember every single thing he or she needs to do every day. That's why making lists and keeping a written schedule are such effective time management techniques.
A great deal of stress and unnecessarily wasted time results from forgetting things. It's easy to avoid this problem simply by getting in the habit of taking notes and keeping current to-do lists with you at all times.
There is a strong relationship between time management and organizational skills. A great deal of the stress related to time management that many people experience can be linked to disorganization.
By taking steps to get organized, you can greatly reduce the stress you experience on a daily basis and put yourself in a situation of being able to make the most efficient use of your time. Using a paper or electronic file system is one way to keep yourself organized at home and work.
It's important to recognize that organization is a process, not a means to an end. You can't organize your workspace, house, or schedule once and expect it to stay that way.
By spending a little time each day keeping yourself organized, you'll reduce the time challenges that creep up whenever disorganization starts to take over.
Keep a Time Log
Using a time log is an important step in getting your schedule under control. By writing down everything that you do for several days, you'll be able to start getting a sense of where your time is going.
Use a paper and pencil method to log your daily activities, or use an electronic time keeping application such as Toggl. This free program can be used to easily track activities from your desktop, tablet or smartphone.
Keeping track of your time with a log is only beneficial if you learn from the exercise. Take a hard look at your time log and reflect on where you are spending the most time and effort. Determine which activities are truly necessary, as well as identifying the ones that represented wasted time. This exercise can be a powerful resource for identifying any bad habits you may have.
When deciding which tasks to tackle next, focus on the ones that are the most important and should be completed first. Instead of putting off things that you don't want to do, take care of them first. That way, you won't have to deal with the stress of dreading a project that you don't want to work on. Instead, it will be over and done with, and you'll be free to work on things you'll enjoy.
Break Down a Big Job
Break large tasks that are overwhelming into smaller pieces. By doing this you are able to see the task as a series of small tasks rather than one giant one. The smaller pieces are more manageable and do not make you feel like you are facing a monumental job.
One Task at a Time
When you have multiple projects, it can be tempting to bounce from one to the other. Doing this, however, often results in little progress being made on anything you're working on. It's better use of your time to focus on a single project until completed. That way, you can cross one item off your to-do list before moving on to something else.
Let Go of Perfectionism
Taking pride in performing quality work is one thing; holding yourself to unreasonable standards is another matter entirely. When you take on a project, it's important to understand the level of quality necessary for successful completion. In many cases, being unable to recognize when something is "good enough" results in spending more time than is needed on the task. Learning to live with "acceptable" can be a powerful time management strategy.
Learn to Say No
Taking on projects that you don't want -or don't have the time- to tackle can be a significant stressor. To reduce stress related to poor time management, you have to learn to assert yourself. Take on projects that interest you and that fit into your schedule, and learn to say no to the others.
Gain Control Over Your Time
By taking positive steps to manage your time better, you'll be on your way to enjoying the reduced stress that comes from knowing that you are the one who is in control of your schedule.
By making effective time management strategies a part of your daily routine, you won't have to worry about dealing with the stress and anxiety that comes from having a schedule that's out of control.