At some point, you will feel overwhelmed or out of control. Like your to-do list is too long and only growing longer. But it doesn’t need to be that way. You just need to have effective time management strategies.
Because when it comes down to it, time management is the key to getting more done.
Time management allows you to effectively utilize your time. It creates an environment where you spend less of it on the unimportant and more of it on what matters most to you (ie. working towards your goals).
And with your goals in mind, you can begin to take positive steps in the right direction.
Essential Time Management Strategies To Make Life More Effective
We all have bad habits that get in our way from being productive or from taking action. Habits that cause us to procrastinate or waste time.
Productivity helps you get more of the right stuff done and time management allows you to capitalize on the 24 hours that you get each day.
By developing effective strategies for both, you can create your ideal life.
Below is a list of essential time management strategies that you can use to make your life more effective. Read through the list, check out the strategies, and start putting them into action!
One of the top time management skills that you need to develop is prioritization.
In order to do that, you first need to understand the difference between tasks that are urgent, important, both, or neither.
Go through your to-do list and rank whether tasks are urgent or non-urgent, and then important or not important. This will help you better understand what needs to be worked on first.
Those with poor time management tend to both incorrectly prioritize tasks and also misunderstand what is actually important.
Don’t just do busy work for the sake of it.
Instead, work on things that bring you closer to your goals – no matter how daunting the task.
Determine the things that you deem important, schedule them into your day, and get after it.
If this is something you struggle with, we have a free time management and productivity bootcamp just for you.
In order to get the right stuff done, you need to look into the future.
You don’t need to be a psychic, but you do need to have a sense of time. Because when you don’t properly plan ahead, things slip through the cracks.
Maybe your schedule gets overloaded, or you have too many unimportant tasks to complete, or you have things scheduled that will break your focus or derail your path to success.
No matter the scenario, you need to plan ahead. This is one of the top time management activities that you can start doing right away.
Pick a day during the week to plan things out. Make time to ponder and prioritize your schedule, calendar, and upcoming events. Reconnect with your goals and plan for the near future.
Doing so will allow you to make time for what’s important.
Find time to be calm
One of the less obvious time management strategies is to find time to be calm.
If you have 25 hours worth of stuff to do with only 24 hours in a day, finding time for stillness is probably the last thing on your mind.
However, creating time to be calm makes work both more enjoyable and pleasant.
Stillness can be found in many forms, like:
- Taking a walk
- Eating a meal slowly
- Becoming aware of your surroundings
Spending some quiet time with yourself will allow you to regain focus and composure. In turn, you will be able to get back to your work with renewed energy.
Don’t entertain distraction
This is one of the best time management strategies for students because there is always so much going on.
Things come up during the day. I get it. There are distractions everywhere and they are all more distracting than the next.
Taking breaks throughout the day isn’t a bad thing though. In fact, it’s great! But a problem arises when those breaks start becoming more and more frequent.
Maybe you start spending extra time on social media, or watching clips on YouTube, or engaging in unimportant side conversations.
These little distractions end up taking huge chunks out of your day!
If your goal is to get the right stuff done, you need to put distractions in their place.
So do your best to mitigate them throughout the day.
When you complete a task, welcome a distraction for 5 or 10 minutes, but don’t dwell on it. Instead, return back to your work and continue onto your next task.
Using the Pomodoro Technique is very helpful in this kind of situation.
Learn to say ‘No’
Saying ‘yes’ is fun. It opens you up to new people, places, and experiences. It also opens you up to doing other peoples work for them.
Knowing when to say ‘yes’ and when to say ‘no’ is critical to better managing your time. After all, your time is a limited resource.
Once you use it up, it’s gone.
This is one of the best time management strategies that you should learn to adopt because of what you get out of it – your time.
Saying ‘no’ to things that don’t align with your goals may feel uncomfortable at first. However, it will get easier the more you do it. Especially as you begin to notice the benefits of owning your time again.
Recognize that saying ‘no’ is not a sign of weakness but rather one of strength.
It tells the other person that you are strong and know exactly what you are looking to do, and more importantly what you are not.
“If you want something done right, do it yourself”
That is a great expression that may work in a lot of circumstances, but when it comes to managing your time it’s not all that helpful.
If you’re looking for time management strategies for work, this is a great one. While you may want to handle everything on your own, trusting others with responsibility is a great way to free up your time to work on more important things.
So when going through your to-do list, check to see if there’s anything that could be delegated out to someone else.
If not, determine if there is someone that you could share the responsibility with.
Remember, time management is about working smarter, not necessarily harder. Delegate out tasks that aren’t important to you so that you can work on what matters most.
Not starting a task (aka procrastinating) is one of the best ways to waste your time.
This is one of my favorite time management strategies because it forces you to take action. To get out of your seat and start moving towards your goals.
Because if you don’t start, you’ll never finish.
Instead, begin each day by tackling your hardest tasks first. You’ll find that your days will be smoother and more manageable.
Do your best to reduce procrastination by focusing on what is important instead of what is easy.
Be proactive, not reactive
Being reactive is to react to the past. Being proactive is to anticipate, plan for, and act with the future in mind.
Acting proactively will allow you to take care of tasks before they get out of control.
Whereas acting reactively forces you to handle tasks once they’ve already become a problem.
If you find yourself constantly putting out fires, you are likely being reactive – tackling the problems once they’ve already started causing issues.
In the future, work towards proactively addressing problems ahead of time. By doing so, you will be able to spend less time managing chaos and more time working towards your goals.
This is one of my favorite productivity hacks because of its simple premise – instead of waiting for problems to arise, handle them before they become an issue.
This is one of those great time management strategies for teachers, parents, busy business owners, you name it… get rid of the clutter!
Have you ever noticed that when your space isn’t organized, you also don’t feel mentally organized? Being unorganized is a common problem that will prevent you from being productive.
The more clutter in your surroundings, the more clutter in your mind.
Recognize that clutter is the enemy of productivity.
By working in a cluttered environment, you end up spending your valuable time looking for things that have been misplaced.
Instead, take the time to declutter and you’ll save much time in the future.
Don’t do too much
One of the final time management strategies is one of the most important – don’t do too much. In other words, don’t spread yourself too thin. Instead, focus on what matters most.
Keep in mind that being busy does not mean being productive.
There are normally countless tasks that you could be doing at any given moment – they won’t necessarily add value to your life or help you achieve your goals though.
Much of it is probably unimportant busy work.
Get your priorities in order and determine how your time is best spent. Remove unimportant items from your to-do list and work towards achieving your goals.
Everyone struggles with time management from time to time. Don’t fret!
Instead, use this list of time management strategies to free up more valuable time in your life. Be deliberate with your actions, take note of areas that you can improve on, and start moving forward.
Remember, managing your time well does not mean squeezing more into your day. It means simplifying the way you work by being intentional with your time.