Take inventory of your daily life and let go of the habits that no longer serve you. Acquiring new time management skills will foster a greater spark of productivity that will endure through the obstacles that naturally arise.
You don’t have to expend energy and worry about the organization of your day. Regular practice and implementation of a few simple skills can actually save you time so that you can better focus on what is pertinent to the current moment.
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Follow this process to integrate effective time management skills into your daily routines:
Step 1: Begin by considering when you’re most productive. Take stock of what your days currently look like and make realistic adjustments in order to use your time most effectively.
- Use your highest alert times to take care of your highest priority items. Schedule your meetings and free time according to the ebb and flow of your day.
- Create your ideal setting for productivity. Think about where you feel the most comfortable. Find an accessible and consistent setting where you can focus and get into the flow of your workday.
Step 2: Choose one task to focus on at a time. Let go of old multitasking habits that halt productivity, diminish work quality, and stir up more stress. Use strategies that will limit distractions. This will help you maintain focus.
- It takes around 25 minutes to refocus on a task once you’ve broken focus. Switching from task to task is unproductive and will end up wasting time. It’s best to focus on each task as it comes.
- Complete one task before moving on to the next. A day with one complete project is more successful than a day with two incomplete projects.
Step 3: Examine the importance of each task ahead of you. Depending upon time constraints and level of focus, prioritize your tasks. Begin your work time with the most important task.
- Despite all of the planning in the world, many days go in a different direction than intended.
- Remain flexible in the face of distraction or interruption. Referring to your prioritized list can help you make decisions about how to use a limited amount of time.
Step 4: Be attentive to your time. Take care to notice how you spend each day. The day does not need to be daunting or overwhelming.
- Planned mindfulness breaks will help the day go by at an even pace. Take a step back after around 90 minutes of work time. In doing so, you’ll be able to maintain a consistent work pace and quality of focus.
- Follow a simple and consistent routine. Think of your day in sections. Consider what each part of your day looks like, beginning with the moment you wake up.
Step 5: Develop and sustain an efficient system in which you will thrive. A system is created based on your long-term goals. Instead of constantly looking towards the future, bring your attention to what you can do each day that will inevitably lead to your goals.
- Goals are based on the long-term, big picture ideas for your life.
- Systems are the small, daily steps that lead to the achievement of those long-term goals.
Step 6: Create a schedule that works for you. Be careful not to take on more than you can handle.
- Knowing your limits is good for you, good for your work, and good for the people around you.
- If your daily schedule is disturbed, do your best to get to every task. If you planned an hour but only have twenty minutes, spend a focused, productive 20-minute period on the scheduled task.
- Categorize sections of your days based on the similarity of different tasks. If you have administrative tasks to do, do them all in the same part of your day.
- Spend less time checking your email. Schedule times to check your email and take care of those responses during planned parts of your day.
- Pursue hobbies. Making time for intentional fun ensures a consistent and stress-free quality of life. Though life may sometimes seem too busy for hobbies, you can make time for them when you implement effective time management skills.
A natural consequence of time management is an increase in productivity. Distractions and worries are minimized when your days are predictable and simple. Consistent and regular practice of these time management tools is the catalyst for innovation and growth.