Hectic schedules can make managing time seem like a riddle wrapped inside an enigma. Many people feel there are not enough hours in the day. But busy men and women need not look for extra hours in the day to manage their time more effectively.
• Examine your existing time management. Before creating strategies for changing the way you manage your time, you first need to understand how you are currently spending it. Jot down what you do during an average week. Include how long you spend conversing, when you start working, how often you check your email, etc. Analyze this time in an effort to determine how much of it is being spent doing something productive and how much is getting in the way of getting things done.
• Complete crucial tasks first. Figure out which of your daily tasks are most important and take care of those first before moving on to less important tasks. This can reduce stress and make you feel more confident that you can accomplish the smaller tasks.
• Write things down. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when there are many things swimming around in your head. Put your to-do list on paper. Seeing it in black and white can help you separate the important tasks from other things that can be put off for the time being or delegated to someone else. If necessary, use a day planner or set notifications on your smartphone.
• Turn off email notifications. Email notifications can be very distracting when you are trying to get work done. Turn these off so you can concentrate more on the tasks at hand.
• Recharge with downtime. Physical and mental fatigue can contribute to procrastination. Plan periodic breaks throughout your day. These breaks can help you be more productive by reenergizing you.
• Avoid instant access. Schedule a time to return phone calls and instant messages rather than thinking you need to reply right away. Some notes may require immediate attention, but many likely do not.
• Block out distractions. Turn off your television and phone and steer clear of social media while trying to get things done. Come back to them later when you’ve completed your tasks.
• Be flexible. What works for another person may not work for you. Therefore, try a variety of strategies to get a better handle on time management until you discover one that works best for you.