How To Use Time Management Effectively

Finding time to do everything can be tricky, but there are some basic things you can do to improve your efficiency. With technology moving at such a lightning speed, it is easy to get distracted and overwhelmed by all of the tasks that need to be done.

There’s an app for almost anything these days, so why not use this tool to manage your time? Apps like Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, and Apple iCal make creating and organizing meetings a snap.

You can create events with pre-set times or you can write down what you have to do where you can view the event information throughout the day. This way, you don’t forget about something until the night when you remember!

Time management isn’t just for professionals with busy schedules either – anyone can achieve success if they learn how to organize their time. It doesn’t matter whether you are in school, work, or both, being able to identify and eliminate distractions will help you focus on getting things done. You will feel more relaxed and confident in yourself once you find the right system for managing your time.

Multitasking is the devil

how to use time management effectively

We’ve discussed before here on The Art of Work how important it is to focus on one task at a time, and how switching tasks too frequently can hurt your productivity and success.

But what if we told you that most people spend almost their entire day doing just that? That is, they switch from focusing on one thing for a few minutes and then jumping into another activity right away.

This constant back-and-forth movement not only wastes valuable time, but it also creates a lot of stress as well.

Why? Because when you are investing energy in something else, you don’t have any left over for whatever you were originally planning to do!

And without enough energy, you won’t be able to perform your best on anything — which may cost you money or prestige, depending on the situation.

That’s why there's a very good chance that you will not enjoy what you're working on after a while if you keep switching things out every few minutes.

It'll leave you feeling stressed and distracted, and possibly even overwhelmed. All this wasted energy makes us unhappy, and it costs us money. So let’s learn some ways to use our time more effectively.

Do not try to do everything

A lot of people start using time management by thinking that they will just keep an eye on all their tasks and things for as long as needed, then once again make sure they have done nothing left undone. This is probably the most common way to use time management!

This is usually very frustrating because you will constantly be finding yourself with no time to actually get anything else done. You will also feel overwhelmed and stressed out due to the never-ending todo list.

You need to understand that this won’t work. By setting certain priorities, you will be able to focus on the most important tasks in your life, which should include spending some time on personal projects or reading books you have been wanting to read for ages.

Also, you should know how much energy you have at any given moment so if you notice that you are running low on motivation, you may want to reconsider the amount of time you allocate to each task.

Sprints are a great way to stay on track

how to use time management effectively

A sprint is defined as one week or one month of focused work. During this time, employees can focus exclusively on a project or task for up to one month at a time. After that period, they must shift gears and move onto another item.

Sprinting was first used in the manufacturing industry where workers would take short breaks while working on an assembly line. This allowed for limited down times so that people could re-focus and start preparing for next step of production.

In the software field, it becomes much more difficult to have these break periods due to the nature of technology. Productivity tools like Google Apps make it easy to collaborate online, which helps keep distractions low.

However, you still need to give yourself some downtime here and there. Set aside block amounts of time for each area of your job to switch off equipment and resources and relax.

Make it clear what is expected

how to use time management effectively

A lot of people try to manage their time by making a list of everything they have to do and then simply stick to that schedule, according to how much time each task takes. This can be very tempting if you are in a lull – “I have nothing else to do today! I’ll just get through this chapter of my book before I start on anything new!”

This can easily lead to overextending yourself and running out of time because you made a mistake by assuming something would take longer than it actually did.

By setting small goals and promoting goal completion rather than starting, your efficiency as a person will increase.

You will learn how to prioritize more effectively so that you don’t end up doing things that don’t matter as much to you or which should not be done due to time constraints. You will also learn when to say yes and invest your time in things that will help you achieve your larger goals.

Hold each other accountable

how to use time management effectively

As mentioned earlier, being productive does not occur overnight. It takes time to develop your productivity skills. This is why it can be so hard for some people when they try to focus or organize their day.

Since you will probably need help in achieving this goal, you should hold yourself or others accountable. This could be someone who works with you, or even friends that you know are able to stay on track during times you're not.

Accountability partners can be helpful in ensuring that you don't fall back into old habits.

Make plans

how to use time management effectively

A time management tip is to make sure you have enough time to do your things. If you don’t, then you will be too busy trying to find that missing time to do anything!

Too often we get into bad habits of rushing through our day with little downtime or breaks. It can feel like there isn’t any time left because you are always in activity mode.

You need to take some time off for yourself to relax, socialize and spend time with family and friends. Plus you should set aside time to work on hobbies and skills that you want to improve upon.

Don’t let all this hard work go to waste by not doing it properly. Take a look at how you can use time effectively.

Break down big projects into little tasks

how to use time management effectively

A common theme in time management books is breaking down your large project into smaller, more manageable pieces. This makes sense because we as humans are visual creatures, so it’s easier for us to see how much time something will take when we break it down into small chunks.

But what if that advice isn’t helpful to you? What if you can’t do that due to limited resources or no one else who can help out with certain parts of your project?

Don’t worry! There’s another way to use time management effectively. And it doesn’t require breaking up your project either. It’s actually about investing in yourself and giving yourself extra money assignments.

Here's why this tactic works better than the first one.

Take time off

how to use time management effectively

Even if you are working full-time, it is important to take breaks from work. You should make every effort to take at least one day each week where you do not come in anywhere close to normal hours.

This can be for an entire weekend or just a few hours here and there. Your colleagues and superiors will appreciate your efforts to unwind after a hard day’s work.

You can even find ways to use your free time more efficiently by giving up less productive activities like watching TV or spending hours surfing the net. More efficient use of time means you have extra time to spend doing things that you want to do.

Give yourself permission to enjoy nonwork related activities

Weekends are perfect times to do something you have been wanting to do but never got around to. If you always wanted to go hiking, try going when no one else is around. Or maybe you have wanted to read for awhile – now is the perfect chance to do so.

Whatever it is you want to do, give yourself permission to do it. It may mean investing in some basic equipment first, but don't hesitate to buy what you need because you want to do it.

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