Having 24 hours a day might seem like a long enough time for a person to complete everything on their to-do-list, but for a busy person, it isn’t. If you deduct the 7-9 hours used for sleeping, you’d be left with 15 more hours. That’s probably enough time, no? For some, yes, but for others? It isn’t.
We all have the same 24 hours each day, but we all have different schedules and tasks. Fitting everything, we planned to do in the time we have needed proper management. Proper time management is learning how to manage the time you have in your hands to achieve maximum productivity.
Learning how to manage your time effectively improves your work, helps you focus, and keeps you from being distracted.
Here are 5 proven effective ways to learn time management.
1. Keep a to-do list
Creating a to-do-list is not really a new technique, but it’s one of the most effective ways to be more productive. Include in your list the different tasks you wish to finish, such as urgent jobs or quick ones that you can complete within 15 minutes and bigger tasks that need more time to work on.
Creating a list helps you get a grasp on the following tasks you must complete. It serves as a reminder in case you forget which task to do next. Having a to-do list also helps you visualize what you want to achieve and gives you the feeling of satisfaction once you check-off something on your list.
For those looking for to-do list apps, we recommend you download the following:
- Todoist- flexible and simple
- TickTick- embedded calendars and timers
- Things- minimalistic and easy to organize
2. Prioritize and rank your tasks
After writing a to-do list, your next step is to rank your tasks based on priorities. This acts as your guide as you go through each of your tasks based on the order of importance. Doing this ensures that you get to complete the tasks that matter more than the others. Remember to put the most urgent or essential tasks on top of your list.
Prioritizing your tasks helps you focus on the work that matters, and without it, you might end up doing the ones that are not important.
Looking for to-do list apps that factor in your deadlines and priority tasks? We recommend that you download the following:
MyLifeOrganized- helps you rank your to-do lists by factoring in your own prioritizations and deadlines; enables you to calculate what tasks go on top of your list
nTask- allows you to prioritize, organize, and monitor your tasks as you go through them
3. Be focused. Don’t let yourself get distracted.
Whether we admit it or not, we often find ourselves getting distracted easily by social media, talkative people, and, not to forget, procrastination. Sitting down and finishing your tasks seems easy, but it’s actually harder than it should be. It takes about 23 minutes to take back your focus after being interrupted, and when you add them all up, you might find yourself short of time. That is why you have to effectively and quickly manage your distractions to keep your flow and focus going.
Some distractions are easily identified, and some people aren’t aware are actually distractions. After identifying the source of your distraction, set certain regulations in place, such as setting controls on your phone so that you won’t be able to be easily disturbed.
If you are looking to determine your distractions, it is recommended that you download activity tracking apps like the following:
Timely- automatically records how much time you spend on every website and work tool.
StayFocusd and Mindful Browsing- puts restriction access on websites that can distract you.
4. Create a structured schedule and time block your work
Creating a structured schedule is vital for completing your tasks. It instigates healthy pressure for you to complete your work. When your time blocks your work, you can prevent yourself from taking too much time for one task and overtaking the other. Doing so helps you avoid multitasking.
Many of us try to do a lot of tasks all in one sitting, thinking it’s faster to get more done this way, when in fact, the most productive we could be is when we are focusing on just one thing at a time. It is essential to divide your attention to all your work, and time blocking is a good approach for it.
There are calendar tools you can download if you want to add a time block to your schedule, and we recommend the following:
- Week Plan- helps you time block your week in advance.
- Plan- can quickly schedule time blocks on your calendar.
- HourStack- to compare estimates to the actual time you spent on tasks.
- SkedPal- create an automatic schedule based on your priorities.
5. Be self-aware of the time you have
Without understanding how much time you have and how to make use of it, you won’t be able to improve your management of it. Tracking your time causes you to be aware of changes you must make, hidden time-draining activities, lays out your productivity patterns, and highlights faulty processes.
There are now automatic tracking apps that keep a private record of how you spend your time. Try downloading the following:
- Toggl Track- a free time tracking app
- RescueTime- to reduce distractions