Whether you are trying to finish an important project at work or achieve a personal goal, time management is crucial. Without effective time management strategies in place, deadlines are missed, goals aren’t met, and you’re left feeling frustrated and stressed about how much you have on your plate. This post will take you through some of the most effective time management strategies to help you maximise your time and success.
Why is Time Management Important?
Do you constantly feel like you never have enough time? Like you’re always playing catch up and struggling to stick to deadlines? It’s stressful when you look around you and see colleagues achieving so much more. It almost feels like they have more hours in the day.
The truth is, we all have the same 24 hours each day. The key to success isn’t about getting more time, it’s about managing your time more effectively.
The more you value your time, the more you get done and the more successful you’ll be. When you implement effective time management strategies, you also get clear on what’s important and what can be let go. Also, you’ll learn about your work style and how to optimize your output with strategies that work best for you.
Whether you want to climb the corporate ladder or achieve a better work/life balance, time management is an important tool that will help you achieve your goals.
The Top 12Time Management Strategies
There are dozens of different time management strategies to try. It’s important to find the strategy that works best for you. Here are some of the top strategies for you to try.
1. Understand How You Currently Spend Your Time
You’ll be amazed at how much time we spend on tasks that don’t serve our ultimate goals. For example, the average working professional spends two hours each day recovering from distractions. Just imagine how much more you’d get done if you dedicated those two hours to important tasks.
Before you’re able to implement other time management strategies, you need to understand how you currently spend your time. You can do this by tracking each hour of your day during a normal work week.
Using the Mindware Planner, use the daily schedule page to map out your entire day. Then throughout the day, check in to see if you’re following your schedule and make a note of any interruptions or unplanned tasks that come up. This will give you a clear idea on paper of where your time is going.
Prioritizing the most important tasks will ensure these get done above all else. Each day, write down your top three priorities that must be completed and dedicate enough time throughout the day to get all three complete above all else.
3. Utilize a To-Do List
At the end of the workday, spend just five minutes creating a to-do list for the following day. By doing this, you can be sure you haven’t forgotten anything important. When creating your to-do list, make sure to break down large tasks into manageable steps to make them doable. Also, don’t fill your day with too many tasks. Give yourself enough time to complete each project effectively.
When using the Mindware Planner, you can plan out your day in 30-minute intervals. This specific time tracking system means you can easily see if you’re over-crowding your day with too many tasks.
4. The Time Blocking Method
In his book, 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management, Kevin Kruse suggests using time blocking as an effective time management strategy. The top performers (including Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX) use time blocking to boost productivity.
This simple method involves dedicating set chunks of time to a single task. During this time, turn off notifications, ignore emails, and don’t take calls. Your focus needs to be on a single task for the dedicated time. It’s best to work in 1-hour chunks with short breaks every 30 minutes to keep your focus.
5. The Rapid Planning Method
This time management strategy was made famous by Tony Robbins, the author and life coach. It involves creating an RPM plan by asking yourself:
- Result: What result do I want?
- Purpose: Why do I want it?
- Massive Action: How will I achieve it?
With a concrete idea of what you want to achieve and why, schedule time at the beginning of each day to work toward your goals. Do this before any other task to show yourself the importance of what you’re trying to achieve.
6. Automate Your Workflow
If you find yourself being constantly distracted by unimportant tasks such as replying to emails, do what you can to automate these workflows.
For example, create automatic replies to emails that come in letting people know when you will be available to reply. Give them a link to a meeting scheduling tool that will let them book time in with you when you are available. Or perhaps create templates for emails you send out regularly to cut down the time it takes to send replies.
Any way you can automate your workflows will give you more time to dedicate to important tasks.
7. Eat the Frog
When you have a looming deadline, important meeting to prepare for, or large project that needs your attention, it’s easy to put off doing the work. We become overwhelmed with large projects and the amount of work they require and so put them off until the last moment.
Instead, practice eating the frog. This means doing your most important tasks first thing in the morning before anything else. Don’t check your emails or get your morning coffee, head straight to your important task and check it off your to-do list.
You’ll be amazed at how much more productive your day is when you get the most important task out of the way early.
8. Batch Your Work
Batching is another useful time management strategy that can help boost productivity. If you have multiple tasks or projects that are similar, batch tasks to get them done quicker. For example, if you have two projects that both require in-depth research. Do the research for both tasks before moving on the next stage.
Batching works because your brain is already focused on a certain type of task. So, by batching similar projects together, you keep that productive time flowing rather than having to switch gears to something completely new.
9. Avoid Perfectionism
A sure-fire way to waste time is aiming for perfection. Perfectionists set unrealistically high standards for themselves and are never fully satisfied with their work. Of course, a small amount of perfectionism is a good thing – we all want our work to be the best standard possible.
But when this turns into maladaptive perfectionism, time management often suffers. Maladaptive perfectionism has been linked to procrastination, high levels of stress, and even depression. Time is often wasted checking and re-checking work, meaning less can be achieved each day.
If you think of yourself as a perfectionist, spend some time tracking how often you check over work, micromanage your team, and avoid constructive feedback. You’ll be surprised how much of your day is wasted aiming for perfection.
The good news is that simply by becoming aware of perfectionism, you can slowly begin to overcome it.
10. The 80-20 rule
The 80-20 rule suggests 80% of results come from 20% of actions. This means that just 20% of what you do each day accounts for 80% of the work you accomplish.
When looking at your to-do list, focus on the 80-20 rule. Ask yourself how many of the items listed are going to lead to results. Make an effort to focus on the 20% of the list that is going to lead to the most productive outcome. Then, only dedicate time to the other 80% when you have spare time.
11. The Pomodoro Method
When you begin using time management strategies, it’s easy to over-schedule yourself to try and increase your output as much as possible. But without scheduled breaks and downtime, you’ll quickly become burned out and more stressed than ever.
The most productive people work for around 30 minutes and then take a short 5-minute break before continuing. This works because each 30-minute interval is seen as a short sprint that needs to be fully utilized to get the most work done. The short break then allows you to recharge and refocus before starting again.
12. Implement Time Management Strategies That Work for You
The most important thing to remember when trying different time management strategies is to find what works best for you. Although some people are highly productive using the Pomodoro method, you might find this doesn’t work for you. However, you might find that your productivity is boosted significantly when you use the batching technique.
Take some time to try out different time management strategies to find the best fit for you. But no matter which technique you use, make sure you have the MindwarePlanner that can help you track your time, boost your productivity, and maximise your success.
Check out the Mindware Agenda Planner on the homepage now.