• Career Coaching
  • Wealth Coaching
  • Personal Coaching

12 Time Management Tips That Work

time management

We all lead busy lives, and sometimes it can seem like a constant struggle just to keep your head above water. Balancing family, work, study, and leisure time can be a huge challenge. Luckily there are smart ways to get some sanity back into your life, and take control of your time management. Here are 12 time management tips that work:

Identify your task priorities and do those first

You can use the Task Priority Matrix to identify what jobs you should be completing first:

1. URGENT   &   IMPORTANT2. URGENT   &   NOT IMPORTANT
3. NOT URGENT & IMPORTANT4. NOT URGENT   &   NOT IMPORTANT

Knowing what jobs take priority helps you to tackle the stuff that really matters. In some versions of this matrix, boxes 2 and 3 are swapped around, so do what works best for you. Tasks in boxes 2 and 4 can be delegated.

Write everything in one diary

Do you have a work diary, and a social calendar, and a to-do list, and a digital diary and a year planner? The problem with having so many different planning systems is that it’s very easy to lose track of what you’re supposed to be doing when, and it’s all too easy to double-book events.

Try to settle on one diary system that works best for you, and keep it with you so you can refer to it often. Think of it as your Bible, and be very familiar with its contents. It could be a hard copy diary (make sure it has hourly timeframes) or a digital version such as Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook. These digital diaries allow you to colour-code your tasks and create privacy settings so only you can see your personal entries. Used well, they can be a great tool for improving your time management.

Schedule as much as you can

Scheduling really is the key to getting your life organised and feeling like you’re in control. Schedule your meetings, your leisure activities, your study time, your household chores, your grocery shopping. Schedule unscheduled time!

Use time-frames, rather than leaving things open-ended. Estimate how long a task is going to take and give yourself a bit of leeway. For example, “complete my report Tuesday 2-4pm”. When a task is scheduled, your stress and anxiety levels reduce because you’re not worried about whether or not you’ll have the time to do it – it’s right there in your diary, so it’s almost as if it’s already done.

If your plans are disrupted, immediately re-schedule your task

Our routines are disrupted all the time. Your child gets sick, your workmate needs advice urgently, your client has an important issue that needs addressing. It’s vital to re-schedule your interrupted task immediately so you keep on track.

Do one thing at a time, and minimise distractions

Effective multi-tasking is a myth. Numerous studies show we are more productive when we focus on one task at a time. Sometimes this can be a challenge, especially if you’re working in an open-plan office. Look for ways to minimise your distractions by turning off notifications on your digital devices, finding a quiet space somewhere, or telling colleagues that you won’t be available for the next hour.

Delegate as much as you can

If you’re in a position to delegate jobs, use this privilege to free up time for yourself and to give others opportunities for growth. Ensure you create clear expectations for them, and be available for advice and direction. If you do these two things right, you’re empowering the delegate, not just bossing them.

If you feel overwhelmed by a big project, break it down into steps

Tackling big projects can be a daunting prospect, and it can be difficult to know where to start. When this happens, it helps to create a timeline and break it down into smaller steps. This way, you only have to focus on completing one step at a time.

Schedule breaks if needed

If you start suffering burn-out, it’s important to schedule your breaks – even if it’s just for 5 or 10 minutes – to ensure you get the rest and relaxation you need. You’ll always be more efficient and productive if you take regular breaks, rather than trying to work through for hours on end. Your brain requires a refresh now and then to work at its optimum.

Use timeframes for actioning emails

Dealing with emails can be a time-sucking monster for many of us. Constantly checking and responding to them can take up much of your day, and disrupt your routine. Scheduling specific timeframes for checking and actioning emails can make a big difference to your productivity. Reading emails once in the morning and once in the afternoon can be an effective way to create more time. Also, remember that if something is really that urgent or important, you’ll probably get a phone call, not an email.

At the start of your day or week, organise as much as you can

You’ll know that certain tasks need to be done or that specific appointments need to be kept for the coming day or week, so schedule these into your diary at the start, and add more tasks around them later. The more organised you are at the beginning of your work week, the smoother things will go.

Keep your surroundings neat and tidy

Your physical surroundings can have a detrimental effect on your state of mind. If your workspace is messy and unorganised, your mind tends to reflect that, which will be damaging to your ability to perform your job effectively. Try to keep your home clean and tidy as well, so it’s a sanctuary that gives you a sense of calm and wellbeing, and allows you to unwind and re-charge after work.

Look for ways to improve your systems

Finally, systems can always be improved, so seek out innovative ways to make your life easier by streamlining processes and procedures, and using new technology to maximise efficiencies.

Applying these 12 time management concepts on a consistent basis maximises your efficiency and productivity, and gives you more time to do the things you love. Life coaching can help you to integrate these concepts into your specific situation.

What time management strategies do you find work for you? Let me know in the comments below.

Copyright Eclipse Life Coaching 2019-2021


Speak Your Mind