Time management is the process of planning, and exercising conscious control over the time spent on your daily tasks. There are many people who have difficulty with time management and the ways in which they struggle can differ. There are methods, however, that we can use to improve our productivity and get a better handle on our schedules. We spoke to education expert and careers mentor, Richard Evans, from ‘The Profs’. Richard has shared his seven secrets for efficient time management with us.
1. If it will take less than 15 minutes, do it immediately
Different tasks require different levels of time investment. Some tasks can be accomplished quickly, while others take much longer. If you are given a task that will take less than 15 minutes, do it right away. When you deal with those little jobs right away, you’ll feel less burdened by them because they won’t accumulate. With a clearer schedule, you’ll feel accomplished and be able to focus on bigger projects.
2. Break large projects down into small tasks
Bigger projects can easily feel overwhelming and too complex to tackle. Breaking them down into more approachable, do-able sections reduces stress and the propensity to procrastinate. With specific goals in mind, you will work better and will be more consistent with each task you need to complete. Identify smaller tasks and set achievable milestones to reach. Ensure you determine a realistic time frame for each task and follow a schedule to keep to your time limit.
3. Prioritise your tasks
Once you have created a realistic schedule, allocated time to each task, and divided your project into smaller sub-sections, you will need a plan to tackle them. Project prioritisation is a useful skill that will help you throughout your life. It creates strategic goals, simplifies your working process, and provides you with an execution mindset. Once you have prioritised your projects, the only thing left to do is start working! Only by doing the tasks will you find out what’s missing from your prioritisation plan.
4. Optimise technology
Whilst some forms of technology like games consoles can be a distraction, some technologies can help with time management. Online calendars, smartphone apps and digital timers can all help you to stay on top of your workload and optimise your schedule. Google Calendar is also a convenient way to organise your tasks, set reminders for meetings and keep track of due dates for projects. Remember, you don’t have to use these tools just for work. They can also help you manage time and meet your goals in your own time, such as writing a book, training for a marathon, or coordinating family schedules.
5. Understand your productivity rhythms
Sometimes an hour is enough to blaze through a heavy task, and other times all you can manage is a light task after a few hours of work. Productivity rhythms are when we experience heightened energy and focus, making it the optimal time to complete more arduous tasks. When you are aware of the time of day that you’re most efficient, you can start building your daily to-do lists around it. Perhaps you have an ‘early morning brain’ – in which case try starting your routine an hour earlier – or maybe you work better in the evening. Schedule the items that require the most focus at your most productive time of the day.
6. Deal with stress wisely
We all know how stress feels. It manifests itself in different ways and can hit at any time, sometimes even when we are doing nothing. Stress is our body’s way of responding to physical or emotional stimuli. These responses can ultimately affect our productivity and happiness. There are many ways in which you can reduce stress, including exercise, meditation and listening to your favourite music. Experiment with different stress-relieving techniques until you find what works best for you. If you find yourself unable to tackle stress by yourself, remember you are not alone and can always consult with a professional for further help.
7. Learn to say no
If you feel like you’re already overloaded with work, politely refuse to take on any additional tasks. Take a look at your to-do list before agreeing to take on extra tasks. Saying no to some requests is not selfish or rude, but rather a way to honour your time and energy levels. Expressing this is a way to take care of yourself and your needs, which will ultimately allow you to be more helpful to others.
This piece was brought to you by the experts at https://www.theprofs.co.uk/