What time management strategies do you use?
Busy executives can’t afford to waste time, but many new to the workforce spend too much of it spinning their wheels, unsure where to start. How can young professionals learn to manage their time more effectively?
Like any other skill, you can learn time management. Simply follow the tips below to take your career to new heights by supercharging your productivity and organizing your life. Here’s what to do.
1. Invest in a Planner
The act of writing cements your goals, turning wishes concrete. Invest in an old-fashioned planner to write your daily, weekly and monthly schedules. Yes, myriad calendar apps exist, but something about the process of handwriting helps us commit important deadlines to memory. Plus, a printed planner allows you to add as many notes as necessary about events with no character maximum.
2. Tackle Your Toughest Task First
At the end of each day, write a to-do list for the following day. List your most difficult task first so you don’t find yourself scrambling at the end of the day after wasting your most productive hours returning email. Once you clear the most onerous task off your schedule, the rest of your day is smooth sailing.
3. Set Goals Each Sunday
Do you have a clear plan for success in life? Or do you drift from day to day with no clear direction? There’s a reason the cliché, “those who fail to plan, plan to fail,” exists.
Every Sunday, meditate for 5-10 minutes on the goals you hope to accomplish during the upcoming week. This is a powerful exercise in establishing the correct mindset for success. Whether you want to lose two pounds or wow a client with a presentation, picture how you’ll feel after accomplishing your goal. Generate that energy within you to power you through the coming week.
4. Break Larger Projects Down
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Whenever you’re faced with a lengthy, daunting task (like writing an entire book), break the task down into smaller, manageable chunks.
Most people have only four hours of productive work time in them daily. Schedule yourself an uninterrupted block of time to work followed by a brain break.
5. Embrace the Power of “No”
We all get the same 24 hours in a day, so why do some people accomplish so much more? One reason they do is they focus their energies by saying no to biting off more than they can chew.
You don’t have to accept every project asked of you, so practice saying no gracefully when you’re already swamped.
6. Use an App to Monitor Time on Tasks
Do you waste hours daily scanning social media? If you want to manage your time better, download a free or paid app designed to minimize your screen time on certain tasks. You even can place parental controls on your cellphone if the urge to check notifications on the clock proves too tempting.
7. Give Yourself Buffer Time
Whenever you have a big event like a job interview or client presentation, give yourself some buffer time. Not only does this avoid scheduling conflicts if things run overtime, it also reduces your stress levels. Rushing around at the last minute is a sure way to end up harried and sweaty-palmed.
8. Get Quick Chores Out of the Way
Do you procrastinate on replying to emails that would take 10 seconds or less of your time? Whenever you’re faced with a minor yet pressing chore, knock it out immediately instead of putting it off. Voila! You can now use the mental energy you would have wasted on a piddling chore toward more productive pursuits.
9. Learn to Delegate
Are you a neat freak who can’t leave for work in the morning before putting your house in order? Consider investing in a house cleaner if budget allows. Spending too much time at the office responding to minor client requests instead of innovating? As personnel if hiring an assistant is a possibility. Whenever possible, delegate minor tasks so you can focus on the activities that bring you the most bang for your buck, literally and figuratively.
10. Eat and Sleep Well
Finally, it’s impossible to manage your time well if you’re dragging due to obesity, smoking and lack of sleep. Eat healthy meals, practice good sleep hygiene techniques and get 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. Consider seeking help from a qualified therapist or support group if you struggle with unhealthy habits like smoking or drinking to excess.
Managing Your Time Wisely
With busy lives, young professionals benefit from learning sound time management techniques. By practicing the tips above, you can take control of your life, supercharge your productivity and elevate your career.
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