One of the biggest challenges that I am facing these days is to find time to do all the things I would like to do every day. Ok, I don’t want to say that I never had this problem before, but for some reason, it has been particularly obvious during the last days. Although I get up every morning at 5:30 am and I am usually in bed by 11:00 pm, I am still unable to complete half of the things that are included in my to-do list.
If you are like me, you must feel that everyday demands or chores appear to engulf the day, leaving only little time to pursue those things we enjoy or want to explore. Of course, I keep dreaming about the things that I would like to do if I could have 1-2 extra hours daily. I envy all those people who only work part-time or have jobs that don’t require bringing work at home. There are days that I just accept the fact, and simply tell myself that this is my life, and that there is nothing that I can do about it.
But, the truth is that most of the time, we do have choices about how we spend or use our time. I know that if I would be a little bit more organized both at work and at home, I may be able to find that extra time to do other things. If I just know how to use my time efficiently, life would be so different!
I am a firm believer that balancing what we “need to do” with what we “want to do” should lead to more satisfaction, and potentially both happiness and success. All we need to do is become a master of how we use our time. After doing some reading and examining many different lists, I have identified 7 tips that I believe can significantly improve time management. I chose these tips because they are simple and easy to implement in personal schedules.
7 TIPS TO SUCCESSFULLY MANAGE YOUR TIME
1. Make a list of what should be done – In other words, maintain your to-do list up to date. Most people also suggest that we should always keep the list all the time with us. Although you can always use a daily agenda or small notebook, I strongly suggest you consider using a service for electronic devices. If you have a cell phone or a tablet, you probably already know that there are several good services that can help manage lists and tasks, including Ta-da list, WorkHack, RememberTheMilk, Nozbe, Evernote and Mojonote. If you are not familiar with these services, I suggest you check this website (http://gigaom.com/2007/01/07/20-different-ways-to-manage-your-to-dos/) that provides an excellent review of some of the best online/electronic ways to manage lists and tasks. Several of these services are free.
2. Rank your priorities daily – Apparently, prioritizing daily tasks is fundamental to successful time management. When you prioritize, you make sure you accomplish the most important tasks first.
3. Do not distract your attention – One thing that I have learned over the years is that sometimes is really necessary to close your door if you want to accomplish some work. If your problem is not people but procrastination or computer-related distractions, there are applications that can help you get disconnected from the internet and social media (e.g., Cold Turkey, Training Wheels, Get Concentrating), so you can only focus on your tasks and be more productive (http://mashable.com/2012/01/03/block-internet-distractions-apps/).
4. Set a strict time limit on meetings – Not always easy, but apparently one of the best ways to manage our time is to set time limits for meetings. Three things that we can do to achieve this: have an agenda, invite as few people as possible and keep it short!
5. Find your prime time -- Everyone’s energy timetable is different. Some are morning people. Others do better in the evening. One key to better time management is to find your high-energy periods and schedule complex tasks when you are likely to be at your best.
6. Use technology to your advantage – Technology is supposed to save us time and make our lives easier if properly use. Find the ways that technology can help you and not the opposite.
7. Learn from others – Find the most efficient person (people) you know and watch what they do and how they do it. What kind of planning system do they use? How do they schedule their time? How do they combine tasks? How do they balance? See how can you integrate or use this information in your own time management.
Let me know what you think about these tips. Also, if you have other useful tips, write me a comment.