Ever feel like there’s not enough time in a day? When it comes to time management, I think of a mug from Sweaty Wisdom that says, “You have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyonce.” Since we all have the same hours in each day, it is absolutely essential we manage time wisely. How we handle our time dictates whether we succeed or fail.
In order to conquer all my goals, I follow a system that helps keep me and my deadlines aligned. Balance is key, and by following these steps, it guarantees that I finish everything I need to AND allows me to have that precious time to spend with my family. Can I get a heck yes?!
Read on to learn about these tips and how they help me effectively manage my time!
Schedule email time
Aim to check your emails twice a day and leave it off for the weekends so you have that treasured time to recharge. If that makes you feel uncomfortable, write in your email signature when you answer your emails and how they can get a hold of you in case of an emergency. That way, your clients know when you are available. If it’s urgent enough, they’ll call or text you.
Have one big goal
Work to conquer one and only one large goal with smaller goals over a few months’ span. For example, I wanted to reach 1,000 website visitors in 3 months. In order to reach that goal, I had to make smaller goals such as: creating content for Pinterest that drives back to my website, scheduling that content on a consistent basis, promoting it on my social media, and so on.
By hyper-focusing on that one goal within a realistic time frame, I was able to achieve that goal in even HALF the time I predicted it would take me. Set small, daily tasks that helps achieve that long term goal. Make sure it’s a manageable one, and not too lofty.
Tackle your biggest tasks in the morning
Studies show that most adults perform best in the morning when it comes to doing cognitive work. If we get our tougher tasks out of the way first, we are more motivated to keep going. I found by switching my content brainstorming in the morning instead of the afternoon, I was able to finish more and still had the energy to keep going. Willpower is finite, so use up that brain power in the morning while it’s ready to go.
Manage time by planning your days out in solid blocks of minutes or hours where you will only focus on one assignment per block, kinda like high school classes. Batch similar tasks together—plan a time to answer all your emails at once, or schedule meetings back-to-back. Always overestimate how long it will take you to complete a task and allow buffer time in between each item. That extra time between tasks is perfect if you slightly go over your allotted time, or if you finish early and need a little break.
When we underestimate our time and try to fit as much into our schedule as we can, we end up feeling discouraged if we don’t finish all our tasks. We also tend to divide our time too much and don’t allow enough focus on each project if we over-schedule ourselves.
Plan ahead your block scheduling. My week is always planned the week prior. I like to schedule my week the Friday before so I can start fresh on Monday morning. I use my Calendar app and create repeating events each week, so that scheduling is a breeze. That way I know that every Monday at 9:45AM is when I answer emails.
Time each task you do
By timing how long it tasks you to finish a goal, you will know roughly how long it takes you to do that task and can make changes as necessary. When I first started tracking my time, I noticed that I spent hours on emails per day, which is outrageous. Now, I aim to spend less than 30 minutes on emails per day and always achieve that goal because I know exactly how much time I spend on emails.
Manage time by tracking everything you do. I personally like to use Toggl to track my time since it has a desktop app that I can use to actively track my time, but there’s other great options out there as well. By knowing where our time is spent and how long we’re working on something, it helps put into perspective how quickly we need to work to finish that goal, which leads me to…
Create a sense of urgency
Prioritize wisely. Find what’s most urgent, schedule it first, and get it out of the way. I know that sounds obvious, but it’s something that can easily be overlooked when our schedule is filled with so many things. Urgency is essential to success. Do you ever end up investing so much time into something and by the time you finish, you feel like it didn’t really payoff? That’s because we get too caught up in trying to perfect something that is otherwise minuscule to the larger project at hand. We take time away from expanding beyond that one thing we just spent a lot of time on and ultimately hinder our growth.
Aim to be less of a perfectionist, but always create quality work to the best of your ability. Push yourself to work quickly, but be thorough—faster doesn’t mean careless. Review your day and see if there’s any unnecessary activities you can eliminate. Focus on your personal deadlines you’ve set up in your calendar and work to finish them before their scheduled time. It’s a learned habit that may take some time to accomplish, but creating this mindset shift is an absolute game changer.
It seems every time I ask my husband to take the trash out, he’s playing something on his iPad. He answers me, still staring at his iPad in awe, but hours later the trash is *magically* still there. I ask him why it’s there and he says he doesn’t remember me telling him to take it out—I think you can probably relate. 😉
Our brain is designed to focus on one thing at a time. Multitasking makes it difficult for our brain to organize thoughts, therefore lowering the quality and efficiency of our work. Multitasking also affects our ability to pay attention or recall information (hence why the trash wasn’t taken out). In fact, not only will multitasking slow you down, but it can also reduce your effective IQ!
Bottom line? That tweet, new email, or Youtube video can wait.
I’m pretty much obsessed with social media. It wasn’t until just recently I started scheduling the time I spent on Instagram. Before, if I finished something, I would pop into Instagram to see what was goin’ on. I figured since it was my main source of marketing, I had to spend hours a day on it whenever I could. But it’s prettyyy darn easy to go down that social-media-rabbit-hole-scroll. At the end of the day, I felt like I barely got anything done—because I didn’t get anything done. Manage time better by turning off those distracting notifications, or mute and ignore your phone so you can focus on what you need to get finished.
Taking care of yourself is so important because we work best when our mind and body are fully rested. A Harvard research study has shown that insomnia can lead to 11.3 days’ worth of productivity loss a year—that’s a pretty big deal.
Figure out how much sleep you need to feel your best (the weekends are wonderful for this experiment 😉 ). I found that I feel well-rested when I get 8.5 hours of sleep. If you need to (as I do), go ahead and even schedule the time when you sleep. Guarantee yourself those precious hours so you don’t lose out on all that productivity!
All these tips may take some time to implement, but that’s okay! Allow yourself time to learn these new habits so you can spend your time wisely. Schedule those big tasks first, push yourself to work quickly, and eliminate those distractions so you can focus on one assignment at a time. And don’t forget to rest! Taking care of yourself is just as important as your work, that way you always have a fresh start.
How we handle our time will decide whether we succeed or fail. Keeping a system that you follow each week will put you well on your way to effectively conquering your goals in the these seemingly short days. 🙂