How do you fit everything you have to do in an average work day? It can be quite a challenge, and at times, even stressful. But it shouldn’t be; the time you have should do the trick, if only you spend it wisely.
When you come to think of it, time is one of your most valuable resources. But it’s often more your enemy than your friend. When you understand what your goals and priorities are, you can create a plan that keeps you right on track. Proper time management will help you reduce your stress levels.
We've listed 6 steps below to give you a powerful framework better manage your time.
Step 1: Discover how and why you’re losing time
Although it might seem logical, it’s key to find out how you’re actually losing time to improve in the future. Look at your everyday activities to get a good sense of how you’re currently spending your time. Track what you’re doing and how much time it’s taking you to understand how much time you’re wasting.
Do you procrastinate too much? Are you too perfectionist, or do you lack planning? Or maybe you’re even dedicating your efforts on tasks that don’t even contribute to your bottom line. Find out what is holding you back.
Step 2: Prioritise and set goals
If you want to start managing your time effectively, you need to set goals. They should be attainable and measurable, which obviously makes them easier to accomplish. For example, determine you want to dedicate 3 hours on a project that’s on top of your to-do list. In addition, commit to delivering it before noon to make sure you have a straightforward goal in mind for how you want to spend your morning. When you know exactly where you're heading and have only one thing to focus on, it’s much easier to figure out what needs to be done and in what order.
When prioritising, focus on eliminating the tasks that are simply insignificant, not on getting more work done. Bear in mind that doing a lot of small things (such as responding to emails) tend to give you a false feeling of productiveness. Once you've got this sorted out, you can start with completing your most important tasks.
Step 3: Plan your day, week, or month
Creating a task list should be part of your daily routine. In fact, make a plan at the end of the day for the upcoming one so you have peace of mind. If you want to get results and improve your time management skills, attention is key - focus on one task at a time and get rid off all distractions. Yes, that means storing your smartphone somewhere far away and closing all your tabs on your laptop.
Set alarms and alerts for activities for when you need to finish a task and prevent you from being too late or missing an appointment. Be aware: too many notifications and alerts can quickly become distractions as well!
Step 4: Track your time
Before you can increase your productivity, you’ll have to understand how you spend your day. A time tracking tool can come in handy. It automatically records all the hours spent on a task. In addition, it will make it much easier to focus on just one project at a time without any distractions. But it doesn’t stop there, you will also be able to track your team and get a clear overview of how they dedicating their time on a project. Time tracking also offers transparency to your customers when it comes to invoicing. They will be able to see how you're spending your time.
Step 5: Delegate more often
Consider delegating some of your workload if it can be easily done by others. How do you decide whether it’s best to divide and conquer? Delegate tasks that are urgent but not so important. Look at all the work you’re doing and see if it can be outsourced or delegated to someone else. For example, think about hiring a freelance designer. Delegating doesn’t just free up more time to focus on important tasks, it will also help your team members to learn, improve and expand their skills.
Step 6: Set aside time to review
In the last step, you evaluate how things are going. Find the faults and good outcomes. You can make specific improvements based on these results, so you can manage your time efficiently and focus on the areas that will allow your business to grow.
When you know what your time management obstacles are, it will be easier to overcome them. From here on, it’s merely a process of planning how to overcome these obstacles and using the right tools to get the job done.
Interested in learning how to improve your time management skills? Download our ebook on time management and discover why saving time should be a priority for your company.