Many people struggle with properly using their time. I get it. We can’t really manage time, but we can learn to use it well. Doing so will improve your life, reduce your stress, and enable you to become highly efficient.
Do you struggle with using time well? If so, read below to discover 8 insights to improve your time-management skills.
Insight #1 – Take an honest look at your load level.
For many people the reason they struggle with time management is because they attempt to do too much. They do not really have a time management problem; they have a work overload problem.
They have taken on too many responsibilities. Therefore, they never have enough time to get it all done. Take an honest look at your load level. Are you attempting to do too much? If so, you will always struggle with having enough time.
Insight #2 – Determine your priorities.
Busy people need to determine their priorities. You have a lot to do, but not everything is equally important. Determining your priorities will help you gain clarity and make sure you get the essential tasks done. This will help you use time wisely.
One way I like to sort priorities is by category. I gather responsibilities by different categories. For example, I have a home category, a parent category, a husband category, a job category, etc. Under those headings, I list out my tasks or upcoming responsibilities. Then, I prioritize the tasks in each category. Next, I form a “to-do today” list, pulling various tasks from the different categories to determine what is important for today. Because there is no way I will complete everything on every list, I want to make sure I get the most important task completed each day. Tomorrow, I will start the process all over again.
Insight #3 – Delegate the non-essentials.
As a leader, I need to make sure I am doing the important tasks, and I need to make sure the less important things get done. However, I don’t have to do everything myself.
I am constantly looking for areas or tasks that I can delegate to others. I think of it like working myself out of a job. I constantly work at doing less better. Doing so prevents me from trying to do too much, and it helps me do the most important things. You may need to hire a virtual assistant or find some volunteers to help. Work harder at only doing those things that directly require your attention.
Insight #4 – Get organized.
Time management improvement requires organization. Getting organized is not a luxury; it is a necessity. You must develop a system that fits your personality and works for you.
Let’s face it. Certain people are more naturally organized than others. If organization is more difficult for you, don’t excuse yourself. Work harder at it. You don’t have to be obsessed or over-structured. Simply develop some order in how you gather and act upon information.
Insight #5 – Block out time segments for major priorities.
Time blocking is one of the easiest ways to improve your time management skills. To do this, simply block out specific segments of time each week to work on specific projects or tasks.
Think of this like setting an appointment with yourself to focus entirely upon some area of responsibility you have. The key here is consistency. Block out that time every week. Don’t allow other people or other responsibilities to distract you from focusing on what you need to do.
Insight #6 – Plan in advance before trying to execute.
I plan tomorrow before today ends. At the end of each day, I take a few minutes to look over my various lists. I take the time to prioritize each category and then pull the major priorities into a “tomorrow list.” I check my calendar to see what’s already on my schedule. Then, I schedule what I’m going to do tomorrow and when I am going to do it. Many people get to the office each day with no plan and no direction for the day. They lose valuable time determining what they should have already predetermined.
As you might guess, my days don’t always go completely as planned. I do find, however, that taking the time to plan in advance means I usually get a great deal more done than I would if I did not plan.
Insight #7 – Develop a system and work it.
What I am suggesting in this article is that you need to develop a system, and then work the system. It doesn’t have to be like my system, but you do need a system. You can’t keep everything in your head. You can’t function “on the fly” and truly be efficient.
Taking the time to find what works for you will greatly improve your life. You can do this. You should do this!
Insight #8 – Review your system and adjust periodically.
If you develop a system and work it, you can always improve it. Regularly review your system. Ask yourself “What’s working well?” and “What’s not working so well?” Hold on to what’s working and adjust what’s not working. Perfect your system and improve your efficiency.
Time management is one of the practical and beneficial skills you can develop in life. Using your time well will reduce stress in your life. It will enable you to be very productive, and it will improve the quality of your life.
If all this seems overwhelming to you, begin by choosing 1 of these 8 insights and implementing it in your life. Stop making excuses, and work at this. You will discover that the benefits are tremendous!