As we kick off the first full week of November, I’m reminded once again of how quickly time passes. As I get older (and my to-do list gets longer), I’ve come to see time as my most valuable commodity. It is the one thing I can never get back, and therefore, I strive to “spend” it as wisely as possible.
In fact, this is why I focus so carefully on time management. This is why I place so much value in the mantra “work smarter and not harder.” And this is why I’m inspired to share what I learn with you – so that you can use your time well, too.
No matter who we are, where we live, or what we do, we are all given 24 hours a day. When we learn how to make the most of that time, and we fill it with the things that bring us joy, we’ll discover that the life we want is waiting right here.
So if you’re ready to start managing your time and making the most of your day, keep reading. This post shares my five favorite strategies for effective time management.
What is Time Management?
First of all, what it time management? Simply put, time management is planning how you divide your time between specific activities.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to overlook (or ignore) this practice. We get overwhelmed by our to-do list, we convince ourselves that there’s no way to get it all done, and we fret over where to begin. By the end of the day, we’ve wasted our valuable time trying to “get organized” without ever moving forward.
Does this sound familiar? Can you relate? If so, you’re in good company, friend.
But here’s the good news. We don’t have to feel this unnecessary stress and anxiety around our to-do list. We don’t have to waste our time wondering where to start. Instead, we can spend a few minutes each day planning out our schedule, and then rock our to-do list with ease.
You see, when we create a clear and concrete plan of how to spend our time, we don’t struggle with those feelings of overwhelm. We don’t worry about where to start, because the answer is right there in our planner. And rather than wasting time, we get to work.
Sound like a good strategy? Excellent, then keep reading to discover my five favorite time management strategies. Let’s do this.
#1 Pick Your Big Two or Three
Before the day begins, take some time to write down the top two or three most important tasks on which you need to work. What are the items on your to-do list that will move you closer to your goals? Write them on a sticky note (or in your planner) and then start working.
Turn off the outside distractions and focus only on those two or three tasks until they’re complete. Don’t allow yourself to “quickly” check your emails or “pop on to social media.” Because let’s face it, checking email and social media is never “quick.”
If you complete those two or three tasks before the day ends, that’s great! Then you can move on to the other items on your to-do list. But until that time comes, stay focused on the big three.
#2 Practice Single Tasking
If you’ve been following I’m Busy Being Awesome for a while now, you know how I feel about the myth of multitasking. As alluring as the idea sounds, efficient multitasking is like a unicorn; it doesn’t exist. In fact, science continues to prove that our brains simply don’t work that way.
So if you want to crush your to-do list and make the most of your time, the secret is in single-tasking.
Look at the list you made in step one, choose the task on which you want to focus, and then get started. Don’t bounce from task to task, because you waste valuable energy in the transition time. Instead, turn off those distractions, turn on your white noise machine, and dive into the project.Efficient multitasking is a unicorn; it doesn’t exist. #TimeManagement #TimeBlocking #SingleTasking Click To Tweet
#3 Set Deadlines
Establishing clear deadlines for each task is another great way to manage your time. Deadlines help to keep you accountable, and they give you the boost of motivation you need to stay focused on the task at hand.
If you struggle to hold yourself accountable to seemingly “arbitrary deadlines” that you set for yourself, then you might benefit from an accountability partner! Accountability partners are a great way to help you stay on track, manage your time, and rock your goals.
If you’re looking for some extra accountability, then be sure to join the I’m Busy Being Awesome Facebook group. We help each other stay on track and work toward our goals every day.
#4 Establish Goals
By setting clear goals for yourself, you automatically identify what should be “top priority” on your to-do list. When you know what you’re working toward, and you have that “end goal” in sight, it’s easier to stay focused on your objective.
One of my favorite ways to set goals is with a goals pyramid, which is a simple and practical way to break down your big dreams into smaller steps. It takes away the intimidation by helping you identify actions you can take every single day to help you reach your goals.
Plus, when you use a goals pyramid, it’s easier to recognize your consistent progress, which makes it much more motivating to continue working toward your goals. Want to learn more about using a goals pyramid? Check out this post here!
#5 Start Time Blocking
I. Love. Time. Blocking.
This strategy is my all-time favorite when it comes to making the most of my day.
What is time blocking, exactly? Simply put, time blocking is the practice of dividing your day into clear blocks of time. Then, you fit your to-do list into those windows.
If you’re thinking this sounds pretty simple, you’re right. It is! And that’s one of the reasons I love it so much.
I also love time blocking because it gets the ball rolling when you’re feeling overwhelmed by your to-do list. It keeps you focused when you’re feeling distracted. And it provides motivation when you’re ready to throw in the towel.
I’m telling you, friends, time blocking is where it’s at.
The bare-bones time blocking strategy looks like this:
- Look at your to-do list for the day.
- Decide how much time each task will take.
- Depending on the project, buffer in an extra 30-60 minutes to complete the task. (Generally speaking, stuff always takes longer than you think.)
- Lay out your list on a time block template, allowing for short breaks in between to recharge.
- Crush your to-do list!
As you can see, this strategy is incredibly straightforward. There are a few different methods to the approach, however. So if you want to learn more, be sure to check out my post dedicated to all things time blocking here!
There you have it – my top 5 strategies for effective time management. Are you ready to start rocking your work day? Awesome! Then grab your free time blocking workbook here, choose your favorite strategies, and get to work. You’ve got this, friend.
What are your favorite time management strategies? Let me know below!