Modern life is busier than ever and doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon! Here are six tips to help you utilise your time better.
- Be realistic.
Setting goals is all very well, but if they are goals that are not achievable, you are setting yourself up to fail. If you are reasonable with your expectations of what you can manage, you will end up completing more of your projects and feel better in yourself.
- Don’t write lists: schedule.
To do lists are often overwhelming and defeat you before you’ve even begun. By scheduling your tasks, not only will you have a timetable to work to, your work will become more efficient. You will realise what you are going to need for the job, and what location you are going to need to be in to carry it out. With this knowledge you can arrange tasks around each other, and – for example – fit in picking up necessary resources accordingly. If you need to visit a store to buy materials, if the store is near the print shop where you need to pick up some POS, schedule the two trips into one, rather than leaving the office twice.
3. Be ruthless with your time.
Start by planning your day backwards, and set a strict time at which you will finish. You will learn to cut out unnecessary or marginally useful tasks along the way. Again, by writing up a schedule that plans your day, you will find it easier to say no to any extra requests. Obviously, requests that come from your boss may be unavoidable, but perhaps you will be able to turn down jobs that are other peoples responsibility when you realise that by carrying them out your schedule will suffer.
- Plan your week.
If planning your day works, the same is true for planning the week. An hour invested in laying out your working week will pay back many times over; you will know where you need to be and what you should be doing. You will lose less time trying to remember what you should be moving onto, and you will remain focussed on achieving your goals. You will also know where you should be in your progress.
- Stop saying “yes”.
It is hard to say “no” to people, but by always saying “yes” you end up overreaching. What’s worse, if you commit to things you won’t ultimately be able to do, you will let people down. Learn to limit your commitments, and you will end up doing what you do, but better. It is better to do fewer things better, than lots of things to an adequate standard.
- Avoid tiny jobs in favour of proper work.
There are two types of task: tiny jobs that are always floating around and bigger tasks that matter. Learn which tasks offers most value and learn to cut out the specious tasks. Whilst clearing out your spam email is only a little job, it is hardly vital and will – nine times out of ten – lead to you answering several non-essential emails; all of which distracts you from doing something with real worth. When you spend a lot of your time with tiny jobs you end up feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. If you cut them out, you’ll spend more time on things that achieve real results.
Scheduling and planning can feel cold, but really you are being efficient with your time. Once you are more efficient you are more productive you will justly feel proud of yourself and the work you do, and the rewards will be manifold.