Written by: Chloe Corona Yan | September 2018
As much as we like to be organized and stay on top of things, sometimes life proves otherwise. It’s easy to lose track of time when our schedules are packed between work, a social life, and taking care of ourselves. Part of life is learning how to balance it all, yet everyday, people struggle with the grind. Time stops for no one and how you choose to break it up is a huge proponent of our success.
Often we hear people say, “I don’t have time for that,” but here’s the real truth: you always have time - you just have to make the time. So you want to make an improvement to your work attitude? You want better relationships? More impactful results? Here are a few tips to manage your time more effectively.
Keep an agenda.
Make it a habit to plan ahead and schedule it in an agenda. When you have everything laid out in front of you, you can always go back to it. While this may seem a bit old-school, having a planner keeps you organized, visually shows that your shit will get done, and reduce your Google calendar notifications. So if you don’t have one already, head on over to your local bookstore and buy one. Then, sit down and start adding in your to-do lists. Simple right?
Knowing what’s important helps you prioritize wisely.. Categorize tasks and events based on their level of importance. Think of it like a scale, whatever project is most crucial is number 1 on your to do list, where the least crucial is number 10. Then stick to it. Complete your first task before moving on to the next one. By saving low priority for last, you get the important stuff done first and have a nice break at the end. Tying in with our planner, add your list in chronological order to your schedule. Now your organized and hitting deadlines.
We all know how procrastination feels. Before you know it, your deadline is right around the corner and you’re staying up in the middle of the night trying to finish your task. While it might seem hard, if you do your tasks early, you will thank yourself when the deadline rolls around. Get it done and over with - it will lighten the weight on your shoulders. Out of sight, out of mind.
Focus on one task at a time.
While multitasking is a good skill to have, sometimes it’s better to devote your focus to one task at a time. If you want to do a good job, it’s best to put 100% of your effort into it rather than half-assing your entire to do list. At that point, are tasks even worth your time? You haven’t put your best foot forward. Multitasking might seem more productive, but often times, it does more harm than good. Overwhelming yourself with trying to juggle everything at once is not healthy and it increases the likelihood of mixing up projects.
Give yourself a time limit on how much time you’ll spend on each task or assignment. By doing so, you push yourself to get the task at hand done. Dilip Soman, a professor of marketing at the University of Toronto, has even suggested to keep your deadlines as near to the present as possible.
"People don't think of future time periods as continuous passages of time. They don't think about the number of days left to make a decision or finish a task, but rather, they tend to categorize future time outcomes—thinking about the deadline coming up next week/month/year, rather than this one. When a deadline is far into the future, we tend to put the task on the proverbial back burner, believing that we have a lot of time to attend to it. Things that are on the back burner stay there for longer than they should because there are plenty of other things that take up our attention as relatively more urgent."
If you’re the type of person who gets distracted easily, be honest with yourself and eliminate them. For example, some people work better when they listen to music, while others can’t work with noise. If music, TV, or any sort of noise distracts you from working, simply turn it off. By taking away the culprit of distraction, you will be able to focus better.
Take care of yourself.
This sounds obvious, but no one really follows it. You see it everywhere - take care of your body, mind, and soul - but, the reality is that we all get caught up in our own chaos. When you find that you haven’t been sleeping, you’re diet is take out, and your irritable - it’s time to take a step back. Nothing is worth burnout. Taking care of your body and mental state leads to your best performance. That means sleeping for 8 hours a night, eating properly, exercising, and drinking water. Having a healthy lifestyle increases your work productivity. It boosts your energy levels and allows you to focus your mind on what matters most.