Everyone does their best at what they need to do every day, but sometimes life happens and time gets away from us. Time management isn’t always easy, but there are always things you can do to improve how you spend your time.
You don’t need to take a class or spend years perfecting your multitasking skills in order to never be late for anything again. Read on to learn some easy time management tips so you can go from being chronically late to chronically punctual.
1. Make a List
One of the most common reasons people get in the habit of being late is that once they realize they have so much to do, they get overwhelmed.
Being overwhelmed will increase your anxiety. Higher anxiety levels may make you want to put everything on hold, leading to lateness.
Instead, start every day by making a list of what you have to do. Visualizing your tasks and dividing them up will make everything seem more manageable, allowing you to have an easier start to your day.
2. Tackle Small Projects First
After you write everything down on a list, what should you start on first? In order not to be late, you may think you need to organize tasks by their due dates, but it might be wiser to prioritize tasks with honesty.
Start with the small projects, so you gain confidence as you go. That confidence will help you work faster and better at what’s next. Try this tip out if you have projects that aren’t facing immediate deadlines. It’ll be good practice for a skill you can use every day.
3. Take One Step at a Time
Trying to meet many deadlines at once could be what’s making you finish your work late. Multitasking may look like the key to success, but that’s not the case for everyone.
Studies have shown that multitasking actually decreases productivity by 40 percent. It may make you work slower and miss deadlines. Try focusing one thing at a time for the next few days to see if it helps you be more on time with your work and personal life.
4. Learn When to Say No
As you’re trying to leave your home, do you get distracted by other things that prevent you from being on time? This may be your chance to learn when to say no.
That last few minutes of an episode on TV and the smaller, less important projects can all wait for later. Stay focused on what you need to do and you can always come back later to what you’ve said no to.
5. Get More Sleep
One of the best time management tips you can find is to get more sleep. It seems like a piece of advice that’s obvious, but there’s proven science behind it.
When your body has caught up on sleep, you’ll stay on schedule more easily. It’s an essential part of being prepared for your day, so try to get more sleep tonight and see how it changes your day tomorrow.
6. Set Your Clocks Ahead
Maybe you’re looking for a solution that’s a quick fix for your time management issues now. Why not set your clocks five or ten minutes ahead? At the very least, you’ll trick yourself into arriving to things on time, and in your best moments you could even end up being early.
7. Create a Routine
Living without a routine opens the door to accidentally letting time slide by without you noticing. Analyze what you do every day and see if you can create a routine that will get you where you need to go.
Be prepared that you might have to take out something you do in the morning that’s not necessary, like hitting the snooze button too many times. You may unintentionally waste time by not prepping your lunch the night before or spending too much time on your phone.
During your day, pay attention to what you do that isn’t the best use of your time and structure your new routine around what’s life. After you’ve gone to all your meetings and met your deadlines, there will be time for the rest later.
8. Use Multiple Alarms
You may be late to things because you’re so busy that you forget to glance at the clock. Everyone struggles with this occasionally, but there’s an easy way to stop it if it seems like it happens all the time.
Alarms really can help you if you pretend like the snooze button doesn’t exist. Set an alarm to wake up, and then an alarm with a different ringtone to signal that you have five minutes to leave.
Little alarms like this throughout the day could be what you need to remember to look at the clock and move onto the next thing on your to-do list.
9. Project Positive Results
If you’ve struggled with time management for a long time, you most likely assume you’re going to be late for things. Change this around by projecting positive results before you start your day. Encourage yourself by picturing things happening on time, because you are more than capable of defeating bad old habits.
10. Motivate Yourself Every Day
What motivates you? It might be having dessert with lunch or getting thirty minutes at night to watch your favorite show.
Use your motivations as rewards. They’ll push you to focus on what you need to do so everything gets done on time. Then you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite things even more than you would have before, because you’ll know you earned them.
It’s Time to Start Fresh
Reading up about time management tips is a great first step to minimizing how late you are in the future. Learning new ways to manage your time will transform how you handle your schedule later on.
Make a list of tasks and tackle the small ones first. Fit in rewards throughout your day and set alarms to remind you when it’s time to move on.
Give yourself time and practice to discover which tips are the best for you, and soon you’ll grow confident in your ability to manage your time.
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