It seems that time is more of a luxury these days. To have more free time to do the things we really enjoy in life – or just do nothing at all – we all have to manage our time more effectively.
So how can we make the best use of our time so there is some left over for us?
It may sound paradoxical, but the key to saving time is to invest enough time in planning. Instead of feeling overwhelmed or just going with the flow until things pile up, take control and plan out your days and weeks. Set goals for your accomplishments, add targeted deadlines, and identify opportunities for multitasking. A good way to stay organized is to use a graphic organizer to keep track, whether it’s a detailed planner, a chart or a spreadsheet.
Determine which tasks are the most urgent and give them top priority when you create your schedule. Take the whole picture into consideration. If you have an important yet easy task like sorting through your mail or a routine chore at work, you may want save it for the end of a busy day. On the other hand, if you have a complicated project due and you are a morning person, attack the assignment first thing in the morning. Make sure you know approximately how long each task will take and allot enough time. Stay organized so you don’t waste time looking for the things you need.
Nobody can do it all single-handedly. Learn to share responsibilities and ask for help. If you are invited to plan your friend’s birthday party, don’t do it alone. Others will be happy to share the legwork and share the credit. At work, try not to accept responsibility for a task that you know will be difficult for you, when someone else is available with the expertise to make the job less time consuming.
Social media and getting lost on the Internet are notorious time wasters. It’s easy to fall into the trap of digital distraction by following a routine of constant email checking, text messaging and touching base with friends and family through social media. You may be surprised at how much you can accomplish by stashing your iPad while focusing on your tasks. While you’re at it, ignore the phone and put a “do not disturb” sign on your door to really get things done.
Yes, you read that right. A little procrastinating is not a terrible thing. If you have it in your mind that you will start your task right after lunch, or on the first day of the month, you will be ready to tackle the job and not feel cheated out of your “me” time. Take a walk, do yoga, read a book or whatever else you like to do to clear your mind. Then get to work and focus on the task at hand. You accomplish more in a shorter time when you feel ready to tackle the job.