17 Time Management Tips to Make you Happier and More Productive
We all have the same amount of time in the day—24 hours. Yet, some people “get more done” than others. Organizing your time and prioritizing your activities can do wonders. We all have all the time we need to do what we desire.
Rather than managing time—manage tasks. You can’t manage time, but you can manage tasks!
#1 Become Aware of How you use your Time
Take a planner with you everywhere for a week. Record what you do everyday, and what tasks you’ve completed. Record large accomplishments, small tasks, distractions, conversations and time spent on the Internet.
At the end of the week, review your log and check your week. What went well and what are you happy with? Where is there room for improvement?
This will give you the opportunity to understand where your precious moments are going. You’ll see how much time you spent perusing the Internet at leisure, unproductive thoughts, conversations and actions.
This is a good indicator to how productive you are during the day and your use of time management.
“It’s not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” –Henry David Thoreau
#2 Plan your Day & Week Ahead
Plan your week ahead on Sunday. Take the first 30 minutes of each day to plan—Don’t start your day until you plan ahead the timing of your tasks and priorities. This will leave you knowing exactly what you are set out to do during the day and leaves little time for distraction.
“Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.” –Winston Churchill
#3 Assess Blocks of Time to Important Tasks
Set time aside to outline specific actions that are important for your success. Block periods of time throughout the day for priority tasks. Discipline yourself to respect and honor these scheduled activities. This is a golden key to time management success.
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” –Stephen Covey
#4 Schedule “Self Time” in the Week
Everyone needs downtime to relax and decompress. Be pro-active in taking measures to take care of yourself every week to lead a balanced lifestyle. Place blocks of time in your weekly schedule to unwind, meditate, take a bath, go to the spa or read a book.
You’ll find a more relaxed and collected version of yourself.
“You were born with everything you need to answer the call of your soul.” –Marie Forleo
#5 Plan for Interruptions
Let’s face it—interruptions happen. We run into people we love, or invite those into our offices with “office hours.” Rather than attempting to remove them, fit them in. Schedule some time in your week for the unexpected.
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” -Lao Tzu
#6 Focus on One thing at a Time until it’s Finished
Do you know that multi-tasking is just switching your attention from one task to another? This is distracting and doesn’t leave your full attention on each project your looking to do.
Try single tasking. Begin on your list and focus on one item at a time. Don’t even look at the next task until the one you are working on is complete.
“I want to spend 100% of my time focused on what I think I can make the biggest difference on.” –Meg Whitman
#7 Take Things OFF your List!
Many of us are good at adding tasks and activities to lists. Perhaps you have been saying that you want to be proficient a new language, rearrange your house or study economics.
Sometimes you can finish a task by removing it from your list. This gives you more energy for your high priority tasks.
This Arianna Huffington interview explains taking things off your list well!“The art of moving forward lies in understanding what to leave behind.” –Seth Godin
#8 Plan Time to Be Creative
Creativity sparks knowledge and inspiration. Even if you’re not a “creative-type” spend time exercising this muscle. Creativity leads to new, resourceful ways of problem-solving, thought and perception.
Creativity builds self-awareness and expression. It can be meditative and a stress relief. Experience freedom through creative problem solving, risk taking and developing original ideas. Creativity is the method to develop authentic branding and content. Try doodling, journaling, playing music, or dancing!
“Creativity is a natural extension of our enthusiasm.” –Earl Nightingale
#9 Manage Time on Emails and Social Media
Create designated time to check your emails: once or twice a day. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the inbox monster. The same goes for social media (unless it’s part of your lead generation strategy).
When you’re reviewing your latest emails, respond to them in the moment. Then you won’t have to worry about it later. And schedule your social media posts ahead in batches to save time.
“Social media allows me to pick my times for social interaction.” –Guy Kawasaki
#10 Organize Your Environment
An organized environment leads to a more productive you. Take the time to straiten your desk. You have a pile of papers sitting on your desk? File them one of three ways: act on it and respond immediately, toss it in the trash, or file and store it for later.
Apply the same principals to your email inbox. Consider filtering certain types of emails into specific folders. You can save them for later, respond to emails that need attention and delete emails that you don’t need.
“Everything in life should be approached as a project. Every project can be broken down into just three things: Action Steps, Backburner Items, and References.” – Scott Belsky
#11 Set Goals and Lead a Balanced Lifestyle
Where do you see yourself in a month, six months or a year? Write down your goals in order of priority. An eminent key to success is living a balanced lifestyle. Create goals for all areas of your life. This includes relationship, family, business, health, adventure and travel, spirituality and your legacy.
Develop a list of daily habits that will assist you in taking the first steps toward your goals. Manage large goals through building a foundation of successful habits.
Visit our goal setting article & download the free workbook to help you set and fulfill your goals for this year!
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” –Tony Robbins
#12 Build Success on Routines and Habits
Routines give structure and expectation to your day. Develop a morning and evening routine. A morning routine could be drinking a glass of water, eating a healthy meal and scheduling your activities for the day. Take the evening to decompress and relax. Perhaps this involves light exercise, meditation and reflection of your day.
It takes approximately 30 days to develop a habit. Spend the 30 days to make your routine a habit and you won’t have to think about it—you’ll just do it!
“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. Make at least one definite move daily toward your goal.” –Bruce Lee
#13 Don’t do all the Work Yourself: Delegate!
Your time is precious, so only spend it doing the things that most need your attention. Any task that can someone else can do—delegate!
If you’re a small business owner consider outsourcing work to freelancers. Get an intern or hire a virtual assistant.
“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” -Theodore Roosevelt
#14 Set Deadlines and Learn to Say No
Sometimes we just agree to every task that comes across our desks. Every now and then learn to just say no. It can be easy to over commit to work and activities. Take a manageable bite.
Know what you can do and set realistic deadlines for yourself to achieve them.“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” –Bill Cosby
#15 Turn Off the Electronics
Your devices can be distracting, stress-filled and non-productive at the end of the day. Set a time when you turn off all your devices in the evening. The texts, emails and tweets can wait until morning.
“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” – Gertrude Stein
#16 Visualize your Day
Take about 5 minutes in the morning to visualize your day. Imagine yourself driving to work, walking into the office, having a seamless flowing day.
Everything is calm and collected and you manage your tasks in your planner for the day. You are happy and enthusiastic all day and great things happen to you for no plain reason.
Viewing your day with excitement and enthusiasm sets up your expectations for success.
“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
#17 Play & Have Fun
Don’t forget to play and have fun! Excitement and enthusiasm lead to a healthy, happy life. Take some time to treat yourself, hang out with friends or play scrabble.
Either way, make time management fun!
“Be silly, be honest, be kind” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
Let us know how you manage your tasks & time in the comments below!