In this article I’ll share a few of the most effective time management strategies I use while working with my clients.
Often, the key to boosting time-management is simply learning the tools that professionals like myself implement when working with our clients. If you are ready to take control of your day instead of simply reacting to it, try implementing one or two of the strategies below.
Do a Time Audit
The first step to better time management is analyzing how you spend your day. In the same way that nutritionists have people start with documenting what they eat every day, tracking your time will give you clarity on what you spend most of your day doing and where you get side-tracked. Sometimes what we think we are doing, and what we are really doing, are different.
Once you have a realistic picture of what you are currently doing, you can then use this information to create a time management plan that works for you.
Tip: Before you start planning today, audit the prior day to reflect what you actually did.
Create a To-Do List
This might sound like a no-brainer, but if you want to ensure that certain tasks get accomplished during the day, create a to-do list that is NOT just in your head! You should have an ongoing list of tasks and projects that you review regularly. Ask yourself: What needs to get done today? Which items are the highest priority?
Tip: Everyday, identify the two things that absolutely must get done.
Check Your Energy
Do you know what time of day you are most productive? The truth is that none of us can run at top efficiency for eight hours straight. Human beings have different times of day where it is easier to focus and when they have the most energy. Understanding when your energy is typically at its highest (and lowest) will give you the information you need for effective time distribution when it comes to getting things done.
Tip: When your energy is at its highest, tackle the items that require the most energy or concentration. WARNING: the tasks that take more energy are typically the things we don’t want to do, but need to do.
Eat the Frog!
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
We all have things we don’t like doing and that’s typically where I see the most procrastination with my clients. We delay the undesirable. Tackle your biggest project first, during your high energy times. Each day, ask yourself what is the #1 thing I have to get done today that will take the most time and/or energy? Then attack that task first and get it out of the way.
Tip: Break down projects into sets of smaller, bite-size tasks
Use a Timer
If you have a tendency to get into the flow and lose track of time OR have a hard time sticking to a task, a timer could be the way to go. When it comes to effective time management strategies, a timer is a simple and easy solution for staying on track. A timer could also be used as a reminder to take needed breaks and a reminder to get up and move around.
Tip: The product I use is a time timer