Creating an efficient and effective day is all about proper time management.
Whether it is in the workplace or anywhere else, there are key steps you need to take in order to make that happen. Creating a routine and sticking to it is a vital part of managing your time, day in and day out.
There are several aspects of time management that go into making the most out of your day.
By going over these methods and creating a plan, you will be able to more efficiently and effectively balance your work-life schedule.
The first step to improving your time management is finding out where it’s all going; where those hours are being wasted that shouldn't be.
Could it be that extra half hour in the morning you spend making lunch or figuring out what to wear? Or is it the struggle to not hit that snooze button three times before you realize you’re already late?
No matter how you do it, putting your daily repetitive actions into perspective and being self-reflective, you will find yourself surprised at how much more time and energy you could be saving. This realization will open up numerous possibilities for your day to be that much more productive and less stressful.
Click here or on the image below to learn more about how self-awareness can help you!
2. Creating Priorities
Once you realize that certain things can be eliminated from your day, create a list of priorities.
Ask yourself: What are things that need to get done every day that are important to you? This will allow you to add time to your personal goals and hobbies that make you happy.
Remind yourself that the more realistic you are the better off you will be. Telling yourself you’ll wake up at 4:30 every morning like Jeff Bezos to hit a 3-hour workout is a bit far-fetched.
Start simple. If that is easy enough after a couple of weeks, feel free to incrementally add things to your open time. If you are not realistic, then everything becomes a whole lot harder and your motivation will decline.
A helpful tip while making your list of priorities is using the Eisenhower Matrix method. It is a simple yet helpful organizational instrument that uses time and value to prioritize your activities into four categories.
This simple diagram will give yourself a way to rank tasks easier:
3. Design a Schedule
Next is to create the framework of your day, visually. Start off with the daily actions you do in your week that aren’t likely to change or are unavoidable whether that be work, class, meetings or presentations and draw these out in your weekly calendar (I prefer to write things down, but computers suffice).
These certainties that happen during your week will mark as the foundation of your time management plan. Now, begin by adding your top priorities to this list. If that means waking up earlier for a workout or packing your lunch and laying out your clothes the night before, so be it.
The reason for creating this plan is to structure your day which in turn will reduce stress and add flexibility. Trying your best to stick to this plan begins a cycle of repetitive actions that will create neural pathways in your brain, slowly molding itself into a habit.
This may take a month or so, but by doing this you’re slowly figuring out what works best for you.
On the contrary, understand that things will come up, so you don't have to follow this plan to a T – but the closer you stick to it the better.
By creating this framework for your day, you ultimately have done more for yourself than you think. Having a schedule that's going to keep you motivated is vital. By prioritizing goals, you will solidify your habits and become a time management expert.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Plan the night before – Planning the night before is far easier when your day is coming to a close. Rather than making your morning that much more stressful, it allows you to start your day off on the right side of the bed. This can include, laying out your clothes or packing your lunch.
- Actually use your alarm- I know that waking up is never fun, but by putting your alarm in a different room and having to go up and grab it, you have already resisted the urge to go back to sleep. Those extra 9 minutes aren’t worth the loss of productivity you sacrifice through the day.
- Wake up with a purpose – Waking up with a purpose is even more important, not being sure why you’re waking up will only just bring you back under the sheets. Knowing why you’re waking up gives purpose and value.
- Don't try to overcompensate – Do not try to overload your calendar the first time around with unrealistic expectations, multitasking assignments and running yourself into the ground. Set yourself a middle ground and test your routine out. Find what works for you and make time for those stress-free activities. Usually doing the hardest tasks first is best due to the increase in brain activity in the morning. The better of a situation you put yourself in the better you’ll perform.
At the end of the day, it all starts with wanting to make a change and making the effort to improve the time you do have in the best way possible.
By following these steps you can get back to doing the things that you thought you could never get back to again. You can start that building project or spend more time on your stamp collection! Whatever it may be, effective time management has now given you the flexibility you didn't think you had anymore.