Your to-do list is long and your time is limited. Between work and personal responsibilities, it can be hard to juggle so many tasks. If you find yourself staring at your to-do list and wondering “how can I get it all done?”, I have a few ways to plan and schedule your tasks for greater productivity and better time management.
Here are 3 Tips for Better Time Management
Tip #1- Plan Your Day
“A good plan is like a road map: it shows the final destination and usually the best way to get there.”
– H Stanley Judd
Planning your day in advance is an important technique to make sure you are making the most efficient use of your time each day.
You can plan out your day the night before or in the morning. Choose whichever works best for your schedule. If you do choose to plan out your day in the morning, it is important to limit the amount of time you dedicate to planning. Cap yourself at 30 minutes.
Use these steps to come up with an efficient plan for your day.
1. Prioritize your tasks.
Create a list of the tasks you would like to complete for the day and organize the listed tasks in order of importance. Listing tasks by priority will establish a clear progression and eliminate the need to skip around your list.
2. Determine whether you must complete each task yourself.
Remember to work smarter and not harder. Identify tasks you can hand off and isolate tasks that you alone will be responsible for completing.
After determining which tasks you’ll delegate, assign where appropriate.
4. Block off time.
Dedicate a time block in your schedule for completing each task.
5. Finalize your list and get started.
After identifying your tasks and assigning a time block for each, you’re ready to begin your day with a clear plan of action.
Tip #2- Concentrate on One Task at a Time
Research shows, multitasking is unproductive. Switching between tasks is costly in terms of time and productivity. According to research published by the American Psychological Association, shifting between tasks causes brief mental blocks and can cost as much as 40 percent of someone’s productive time. The most productive use of your time is to work on one project then move to the next.
With so much to get done, it can be hard to stay focused on the task at hand. If you find your attention is constantly drawn away from completing your tasks like Dug from the Disney movie Up, eliminating distractions will serve you well.
Resist the urge to check your phone or friends and family social feeds frequently. Close out any open tabs in your browser that can pull you away from your work.
If your phone is a distraction, keep it out of reach. I have found that placing my phone away from my desk and requiring that I walk some distance to pick it up prevents me from checking every alert that comes in.
Find ways to block out distractions and stay focused.
Don’t be Afraid to Say No
If a new task comes up and it is not an immediate priority for you, do not do it. Set it aside for a later time when you have room to complete the task. Your attention needs to be directed to the tasks that will produce most of your results.
Tip #3- Carve Out Time for Rest and Breaks
On the surface, it may seem possible to save time by powering through your to-do list with no breaks, but breaks are vital for maximum productivity.
Meals are an easy way to incorporate breaks into your schedule. While it may seem like a timesaver to take a working lunch, you will be able to be more productive by giving your mind a moment to rest.
Other ways to rest include walking, stretching, and listening to music. However you choose to spend your break, be sure to turn your work brain off.
SEE ALSO: 3 Tips to Avoid Entrepreneur Burnout
SEE ALSO: 3 Tips to Avoid Entrepreneur Burnout
As a bonus, I’ve included a list of some of my favorite ways to save time and complete more tasks during the day.
Templates- Templates are a great timesaver. You can use templates for social media updates, emails, presentations or anything else you have to produce on a recurring basis. No need to reinvent the wheel.
Automation- Automate where possible. Preschedule social messages and emails. Create an email sequence. Use a scheduling tool for meetings and appointments.
Workflows- Establish a workflow. Having a defined sequence of steps for tasks and activities allows for greater organization. Create your workflow to add direction and streamline execution.
Recurring Checklists- If there are certain tasks you must complete regularly, you can benefit from using a to-do list that allows recurring tasks to be added to your checklist. This will cut time during your daily planning as tasks that are set to reoccur at the frequency you establish will automatically be added to your to-do list for the day.
I hope these tips help you maximize your time and have better time management. If you have other strategies, please let me know in the comments.