Do you feel you have more and more responsibilities as time goes by, and that the time you have isn’t enough? Being organized is a key element when achieving goals, because if there’s no discipline or consistency, we’ll never be able to finish anything. Remember that an important part of time management is BALANCE, like in any other life aspect. Therefore, learning to manage our time isn’t about being able to do everything, but instead being able to tell the difference between what’s most important and less important, learn to not accept more than we can handle, and acknowledging when we need a break.
Now it’s time to get organized, so we’ll be sharing some tips that can help you plan your daily tasks and organize yourself:
- Create a calendar/schedule and establish due dates.
The best thing would be to always carry a planner with you, so that you can feel in control of your tasks and visualize them. It’s better to have them in a physical manner, because this way you avoid the risk of losing all your information if your electronic device fails. It also allows you to see the tasks you have pending for the weeks ahead, and you can prepare yourself for what’s next. Consider dividing your planner into different sections like family tasks, social tasks, work tasks, etc… if it doesn’t already come with any dividers. Due dates are also essential, because they show you how much time you have to work on a task, so you can avoid procrastination.
- If you’re someone who likes to take advantage of technology, we recommend using calendar apps on your phone, “notes”, and even reminders. Both “Siri” and “Alexa” are also great for setting up reminders.
- Establish priorities.
We recommend that you start by crossing off the most difficult tasks on your list. You can evaluate and categorize beforehand the tasks that you have pending, and state which ones are urgent and important, or less urgent/important.
- At first, it may seem that everything is very important, making it difficult for you to categorize your tasks, but analyze them closely and you’ll find this to be untrue. In order to do so, you must first take into consideration due dates. If you see that any of them coincides with another, then it may be time to ask for help or assign that task to someone else. In the worst of cases, just ask for another due date, or communicate that you will not be able to complete the task.
- Ask for help.
Please remember that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help, and it can be an option when you’ve got too much on your plate. This doesn’t mean that you’ll leave all your work to someone else, but it is important to know when to ask for help. It’s even better to identify this need early on, because it will give others the opportunity to prepare ahead of time and make space in their schedule to help you out. If it’s a group task, or something that requires quite a few people, make sure to divide tasks equally.
- The first step in identifying whether we can do a task or not, is to ask ourselves whether we have the necessary expertise and the time. Saying “yes” is a commitment that’s about more than just being in good standing with a person. Sometimes it’s better to admit that we don’t have the resources or the time to do a good job. This way, you’ll protect your image both professionally and personally.
- Identify your distractions.
What are the things that distract YOU the most? We all have them, and they don’t necessarily affect our productivity, but there are times when they do limit us in terms of time management, and that’s when we need to worry. Once you identify what these distractions are, separate some time to attend each of them. If it’s still hard for you to concentrate and do your tasks, then you may need to seek out a professional’s help.
- Some distractors that affect time management can be cellphone use, social media, television, meetings, and personal situations.
- Evaluate which concentration techniques work best for you.
To manage time effectively, and take advantage of every minute you can, it’s important to develop concentration techniques or “anti-procrastination” tactics. This could be anything from listening to classical music, aromatherapy, or even blocking certain apps and pages on our computers. Each person is different, so you must figure out what works for you depending on your job, environment, personality, etc.
- Things as simple as your background music or your lighting are key elements to keep in mind when developing strategies to maximize your time. Platforms such as Spotify and Youtube have channels meant for working or studying. There are also applications such as Freedom, Serene, Forest, and Cold Turkey Blocker, that help you block unnecessary apps or websites for a determined period of time.
To be able to manage our time and availability, it’s important to take time to PLAN. Don’t try to rush into things and complete your tasks in a hasty manner, instead, analyze and think it over. Your mind and body will thank you for it. This still doesn’t mean that we’re going to plan every single minute of every day, because life is full of surprises and our plans can change in a second. In this case, keep an open mind and be flexible, so that sudden changes don’t ruin your day completely. It’s time to put these tips into action!
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