5 Life-Changing Time-Management Tips for Busy Folks
I had a wake-up call when I nearly faced work burnout a few years ago. At that stage, I realised that working long hours to check off all of my ‘to-do’ tasks did not mean that I was managing my time efficiently, nor did it equal higher productivity. Yes, I learned the hard way but I feel that I am now on the right track, living a more fulfilled and balanced life.
How have I managed this? Well, it did not happen in one day, it’s a journey, and I am still learning.
Just to highlight a few of my aha moments, I learned that to-do lists might be counterproductive, that saying no is not rude and that my internal rhythm is a big ally.
But I am still learning; it’s not always easy to juggle 10,000 daily activities.
Look around you, and you will find everyone is hyper busy, or seems to be quite busy… but this does not mean that people are equally productive and fulfilled. For me, managing my time wisely has allowed me to make time for the important things each day, to understand what the useless time wasters in my life are and to act on them and think about WHY I am spending time on certain activities, what’s the purpose and the end goal.
Here are a few things I am adopting daily to help me manage my time and keep some sanity in my hectic days. (Sorry to tell you, I do not have a miraculous formula and solution to add more time onto your 24h day… bummer, I know)
Don’t do it all
Don’t stick just a to-do-list, going from task to task. Instead, manage your to-do list strategically. For any time management programme, the first step is recording your daily activity: what you did and what you are going to do and WHY?
Anyone who can keep a check on their daily routine can become the judge of their activities and take informed decisions to be more productive. This will help you track where your precious moments are going and how much time is wasted on unproductive conversation and activities.
While comprising the list, you will find some activities that must be done and some activities that can be handed over to someone else. Yes, delegating is a big friend of time management and productivity. Start differentiating between these two types of daily chores and you can lead a more satisfying life.
Choose your peak time
Some people prefer to start their day early at 5.00 am, while for others waking up early is like torture. There are many different opinions, studies and curious facts about the night owl vs. early bird people. I am an early bird, one of those annoying people who can go to the gym at 5am full of energy. I find it essential to listen to and respect my biological clock and adjust my daily activities to fit my internal rhythm, and to take advantage of my peak energy time to focus on more challenging activities. So, listen to your wise body.
Leverage gadgets and tools
The rise of tablets and smartphones has led to a number of productivity apps. Evernote, Reminders, Wunderlist and Daily agenda make it on the top of lists of time-management apps. You can schedule your day and manage your team more efficiently with the help of these mobile applications. My advice? Download and test a few apps but stick just to one or two. Otherwise, your good intentions of being more efficient and productive will quickly go down the drain by managing multiple apps.
Limited time for social media
It almost seems difficult to live without social media these days – I admit that I probably have a slight addiction 🙂 … after all, we are linked to our entire friend group with these platforms. As a result of which, we spend hours on our mobile phones, checking the latest social feeds or funny puppy videos (yes, guilty).
I have started controlling the amount of time I dedicate to social media, tracking this time and cutting it as short as possible. As an example, I prefer calling my friends and family instead of messaging; this makes the communication clear and concise, cutting the need to be always connected online. Plus, I find it more personal and it leaves no scope for misunderstanding.
Learn to say no
Yes, you can say yes to everything but it’s quite likely that all these yeses will not fit in your daily 24h. I try to juggle my precious 24h each day the best I can, and this required that I master the art of saying no.
What is the art of saying no? As an example, this might sound rude or a bit extreme, but I find it less offensive to say no than to attend a meeting without having any valuable input to give. When it comes to creating a schedule, I choose only those with the highest priority and keep other tasks on the waiting list. It makes my job much easier, and I don’t even have to attend those unwanted meetings and so can focus my time on key activities.
Do you think these are useful? I would love to hear about your tips and experiences. As I mentioned above, I am on a journey, so I am always looking to learn more and more.