A Guide to Better Time Management

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  1. Understand That There Is No Such Thing As Time Management

The first thing you need to realize is that time management is just a myth. Regardless of how organized you try to be, the amount of time you have in a day, week, or year will never change. Time is constant.  You need to recognize that the only thing you can actually manage is yourself and whatever you do with the time you have. Appreciate this fact, accept it and move on to our next tip. 

  1. Identify Areas Where You’re Wasting Time On

Many of us possess everyday habits that waste our time and deter us from being productive. Some of the most well-known time-wasters include texting, making personal phone calls, posting on social media, reading emails, surfing the internet, etc. Find out what your time bandits are and make the necessary changes. 

A survey  study conducted by salary.com found that 89% of people waste time every day at work:

  • 31% waste about 30 minutes per day
  • 31% waste about one hour per day
  • 16% waste about two hours per day
  • 6% waste about three hours per day
  • 2% waste about four hours per day
  • 2% waste about five or more hours per day

If you feel like you are wasting too much time, start tracking your daily activities and determine how much time you are spending on various activities. A work time tracker can help with time keeping. This will quickly help get you on the path to effective time management. 

  1. Set Time Management Goals

Again, keep in mind that time management is all about changing your habits and not actually changing time. And identifying and getting rid of your personal time-wasters is a great place to start. As an example, you can decide that, for one week, you won’t take any personal calls or reply to non-work-related texts while at work. 

  1. Create a Time Management Plan

Following up on the third tip above, the focus is on improving your behavior over time so as to achieve whatever general goal you have for yourself – be it lowering your stress levels or increasing your productivity. So, besides setting your specific goals, you need to track them over time and assess whether you are accomplishing them or not. 

  1. Make Use of Time Management Tools

This can be anything from a planner, a phone app, or a software program. One of the fundamental steps to physically managing your time is finding out where most of your time is going now and creating a plan for how you are going to spend it in the future. Software programs like Outlook make it easy to schedule events and you can set it to remind you of the events in advance, which helps to make time management easier. 

  1. Ruthlessly Prioritize Tasks to Get More Done

Begin each day with a session to prioritize the tasks planned for that day and set your performance benchmark. If, for example, you have 10 tasks planned for a given day, determine which are more important and that should be completed. 

  1. Delegate and/or Outsource

This is perhaps one of the most difficult things to learn how to do for a majority of business owners, particularly small business owners. Regardless of the size of your business, there is no sufficient reason for you to try and accomplish everything by yourself – learn to share the burden. By delegating the tasks that you’d be better off leaving to someone else, you will be able to maximize your available time.

  1. Create Routines and Stick to Them 

While things are bound to get chaotic, you will be much more productive if you try to stick to routines as much as possible. By establishing and sticking to a routine, you will be able to settle quickly and get started on the tasks of the day instead of wasting time trying to get things in order. 

  1. Start a Habit of Setting Time Limits for Various Tasks

Tasks such as reading and answering emails, for example, can take up your entire day if you aren’t careful. Rather, consider setting a time limit of about one hour per day to complete this task and stick to it. The best way to go about this is to set aside a solid block of time for this specific task instead of answering emails on demand.

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