In a bid to make the most of everyday, we all try and manage time effectively.
I have put 16 of my favourite time management tips together today to give you some ideas of how to be clever with your time so that you effectively create more of it to play with – basically its a gift of time, from me to you!
© Feng Yu | Dreamstime.com
There is a word of warning here though – once you have made more time, what will you do with it? Don’t let it get sucked into the abyss of general “stuff” – why not really make it count….
Time management tips #1 – Do things in groups
There can be a considerable amount of time savings when you group like with like, for example:-
- Try saving all errands in town for one day each week rather than doing them ad hoc
- When cleaning try and do one job like hoovering the entire house rather than doing all the cleaning for one room at a time – this saves the time as you only have to set up for each job once rather than once per room.
- Save filing up and do at the end of the week rather than one document at a time
Time management tips #2 – When training, try HIIT
High Intensity Interval Training is on a lot of peoples lips at the moment – thanks in part to Dr Michael Mosleys BBC documentary on the subject last year.
The basic premise is to do short bursts of intense exercise with small rests in between, for a few minutes in total. It is meant to increase your fitness and have a whole heap of other health benefits.
Of course – please be careful and read up on this if you do decide to try it out – and consult a doctor if you have any medical conditions first – but in my own experience of trying this I have to say it really does help, and is worth doing especially if you are pushed for time – although I do still like a long run or walk to clear my mind as well…
Time management tips #3 – Put everything in your diary
Most people use their diary to write down appointments and scheduled activities – which in itself is a perfectly OK way to use your diary of course – but they may well be missing a trick that will help them to make better use of their time.
When writing down appointments, also block out travel and prep time in your diary – this means that you have a real indication o your available and unavailable time at any point.
The available time can then be utilised to get some of your TO DOs out of the way.
This means you are less likely to try and do too much, you are more realistic on what you can achieve in a day, and you are less likely to double book and/or forget something.
Another great way to make use of your diary is to try and group your appointments together. If you are trying to find a time to go to the dentists and you can see you will be in the area on a certain day, it makes sense to try and make your dental appointment fit around this – or what about if you plan to visit a friend in another city and you find that you have to go to that city for a meeting – try to see your friend while you’re there as well!
Time management tips #4 – Multitask when its easy
Multitasking is known to reduce your effectiveness rather than increase it – as you aren’t concentrating on one thing fully – so why is it in a list of things to improve your time management?
The answer is that there are very valid times throughout the day where multitasking makes perfect sense, for example –
- Listen to an audiobook when driving rather than finding time to sit and read at home
- Talk to a friend on the phone when you are out for a walk or doing something around the house such as cooking
Time management tips #5 – Keep busy
Try and not have too much dead time in your day – try and keep busy in these pockets of time to maximise them wherever possible.
The other stuff you manage to get done means that you don’t have to find extra time for them as well.
- Unload of the dishwasher while the kettle boils
- When your bath is running – do some quick exercises
- Waiting at the doctors? Take some paperwork to get through, or a magazine article you have wanted to read for a while
Time management tips #6 – Get rid of your TV
If you want to gain more time, a very quick way of doing it is to take away the TV for a while – or at least minimising what you watch.
Most of us watch at least an hour a day (some a lot more), and as such you can make considerable changes to your life by just taking away this one thing for a while, or limiting to just one programme a day for example.
Make the TV work for you as well – and utilise recorded TV so that you don’t need to waste time watching ads, and you can watch it when you are ready and not the other way around.
Time management tips #7 – Be conscious of time
Time can all too easily slip away if we don’t keep an eye on it.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I have started something that was only meant to last 30 mins and the next thing I know – 2 hours have gone past…..
The more conscious you are of the time things take you to do, and the time passing – the more you will become aware of when you are wasting time.
A great time management exercise to do is to keep a time diary for a day or so – write down everything you do in that time frame, minute by minute – you will very soon see exactly where your time goes – and you can then go about getting rid of things that you do for no real reason.
Time management tips #8 – Use the 80/20 rule
This rule states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your actions. The trick is to work out what 20% you should be concentrating on, and get rid of the rest as much as you can as they will make little difference to your results.
For example – you have a clean and tidy home. You clean everyday. Actually – cleaning it less frequently will still leave you with a clean and tidy home – but you will have gained more time as a result.
Its a win-win!
Time management tips #9 – Don’t get distracted
There are so many distractions in this world – the telephone, email, other people etc…. to name just a few.
To manage your time more effectively – try and block out your time and focus on the job in hand whatever that may be.
If the phone rings while you are doing something else, let it go to voicemail and get back to them when you have finished – don’t check your email until you have finished what you are doing etc….. – it takes much more time to get back into a job after getting distracted than it does to just get the job finished and move on to the next thing.
Time management tips #10 – Declutter your life
Take a look at your diary for the past month and see what you did on each day.
Are there things that you spent time on that you really didn’t need to? These sorts of things are clutter in your life and need to go.
Just as you would declutter a room – declutter your diary by taking away things that are not important.
(As a side note – if you actually declutter your home as well you will save loads of time – time spent cleaning your stuff, buying your stuff, maintaining your stuff etc…)
Time management tips #11 – Say NO more
Leading on from #10 – if you have decluttered your diary, then don’t let it get cluttered again.
When you start to look at how you spend your time alongside how you want to spend your time – you start to become more and more aware of where you are wasting time, and what you don’t want to be doing.
Saying “No” when you haven’t got the time to commit to something can actually be very uplifting – as you can start to feel you have more control over your time again.
Time management tips #12 – Be decisive
Theres nothing that wastes time more than procrastination.To manage your time better – don’t waste it.
When you have something to do, just get it done and move onto the next thing.
Time management tips #13 – Delegate and Automate when you can
Managing your time means being clever with the time you have – and if you are doing too much then ultimately you won’t have as much time as you could have.
Try and identify areas where you could get help – and delegate or automate things wherever you can.
For example – get the family to help more with chores around the house, or set up direct debits for paying bills rather than spending time each month online banking.
Time management tips #14 – Do what hurts most, first
I wrote a post a while back about eating a frog. Bear with me – it makes sense when you read it!
The basic premise is that if you have to do something you are dreading – you usually put it off and waste time in the meantime – but if you just bite the bullet and get it done then you tend to feel happier and are more productive for the rest of the day – makes sense!
Time management tips #15 – Know your body clock
I am actually writing this post at midnight. I like working late at night and I tend to be more productive in the wee hours.
Conversely, in the morning my brain tends to wait a few hours before getting into gear.
As such, I do my errands/cleaning/fitness in the mornings, and work afternoons and evenings whenever possible.
If you get to know when you are most productive, you will end up making the most of your time a lot more.
This has been saved until last but its the most important one.
Its crucial to take care of yourself – eat healthily and keep fit. If you don’t look after yourself, you won’t be able to manage your time as effectively, and may well have less time as a result of illness or injury.
Whats that saying? When the oxygen masks come down – fix yours before helping others.