Have you ever been so busy that you feel like you’re about to fall apart? Have your days gotten so dark that you want to crawl on autopilot? Sometimes life can be so hectic that you wonder how to find time to breathe. Perhaps you need to find a way to make the most of your time.
Time management is something that most people want to improve – especially at work. A survey by Salary.com found that 89% of respondents admit to wasting time at work daily. With cell phones, social media, and frequent emails distracting us, it is increasingly challenging to succeed in time management.
But no matter how busy things get, there are always ways to manage time and make the most of every second.
Five tips for effective time management and maximum use
Learn to follow these activities to make the time better.
1. Start Making the Most of Time Auditing
When you want to start improving your time management, you must first identify the problem. Then it would help if you said exactly how much time you spend on different things during the day. Creating a time audit means keeping track of what you did and how long.
Maybe you think an email or a regular report takes up half an hour of your time daily. But it requires much more than that.
One of the reasons you feel like you don’t have enough time in the day and feel overwhelmed. Also, people often underestimate how specific long tasks take. Thus, all their tricks will be played out, and they will be swamped. You’ll never plan a good day if you don’t have an accurate time estimate.
So keep track of your days for a week (you can do this in different apps). Then you can start by dividing the activities into three groups:
- Very important
- Little important
- It’s not important at all
This insight will help you understand where you’re wasting time and help you be more efficient.
Auditing also allows you to plan your days more realistically. You won’t have to schedule more work hours than hours in a day.
2. Make a To-Do List to help you make the most of your time
You’ve probably heard this advice many times. But is it something you’ve ever tried to fix and keep, or something you just gave up on after two days?
No to-do list is a piece of paper that rules your life. All the to-do lists you’ve ever made were probably thought of as some magical way to make sure you get every little trivial thing imaginable done. Imagine you have fifty bullet points on your to-do list. You won’t stop trying to track it down after just a few days.
The more complex the list, the less effective it will be. If you’ve even scheduled a coffee break or written it down as a necessity, it’s no wonder you’ll dread approaching this list.
The secret to creating fantastic and reliable job listings is to keep them simple, straightforward, and to the point. Focus on having only the most critical issues of the day on your daily list. Focus on getting these things done. Don’t overcomplicate your day. You’ll only get overwhelmed and end up wishing you burned that list.
The simpler it is, the more motivated you will be to get things done and get through it all to enjoy the rest of the day. Having more detailed lists also helps you see through all the fog your daily schedule creates. Just writing things down and simplifying them can force you to discipline yourself.
But how can you do it?
To be more efficient, keep a long-term to-do list to identify your various projects and goals. These can help you track how much further you must go before reaching the finish line. Seeing your progress can also help you realize you’re getting closer to your goal.
Therefore, you will be more motivated to continue, even if you don’t want to. Recruiter and software engineer William Lipowski strongly supports this method.
Research shows that simply making a plan to do something can free the mind from the anxiety and tension associated with the task. Therefore, writing a to-do list can be the first step to getting into the right mindset to tackle your daily routines effectively.
3. Delegating tasks to maximize time
Why bother doing everything alone when you can outsource parts of the workload? Remember that whenever others are busy with life, they can do some of the work they must do.
Maybe you are too busy at work. Now is the time to train someone to be your assistant. Find someone else who can handle simple tasks, like routine reports. Then you will have more time to focus on broader and more critical tasks. It would be best if you never try to do all this alone.
Otherwise, you work more than sixteen hours a day. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. This is not only not embarrassing but also allows you to specialize and become more qualitative.
But job sharing isn’t just about your job. Why bother washing that mountain of dishes when you can hire someone to help with the cleaning? If you already work all day and order for yourself every day, why not have someone cook for you from time to time?
Outsourcing work will help you allocate more time for the most critical activities during the day. This assistant empowers you to pursue your goals with less stress. Knowing that someone cares about a task can instantly make you feel less anxious and free you to spend time on the job.
4. Focusing on one thing at a time
Too often, people choose to over-task each other. They hope that they will not only manage them all but complete them faster if they take things slowly, one at a time. This method not only outsmarts you. It also makes you more inclined to leave specific tasks and projects unfinished to avoid overworking yourself.
One of the golden rules of time management is choosing a task and seeing it through to the end. Please make it a rule not to start work until you have finished it at a particular time.
If you’re writing an email, you don’t need to check some statistics at that exact moment. This is nothing but your own opinion. Instead, start one thing, ensure you finish it, and hen you can confidently begin doing another something. Not only will it be less distracting and of better quality, but you won’t have to deal with unfinished business later.
This approach also allows you to understand how long each task takes, as you do it one by one, and can help you set a realistic time limit for completing specific tasks. That way, you’ll be able to plan without questioning your skill.
“How long will it take?”
“What if I lose my mind and abandon the task?”
Taking things one at a time allows you to take breaks between tasks. Relaxing for even a few minutes will let you start a new job with greater clarity and energy, thereby increasing efficiency.
5. Maximize time by avoiding maximalism
Trying to be perfect can be the death of you. In most life cases, people do not expect perfection. They expect a good job.
Trying to be perfect will make you over shrink everything you see. You can’t accept that some things just aren’t meant to be perfect. Spending time trying to make the report look good is useless. The manager cares about the content of the information, not how it looks.
You may fall into the trap of spending so much time trying to over-animate something already good that you’re no closer to perfection at the end of the whole charade. Therefore, you wasted time and could have done something else.
This does not mean you are allowed to be careless and do everything just for her sake. You still have to give everything your best shot. But your attitude should be correct. Don’t worry about not being perfect. Instead, realize that you are only human and must do your best. That’s good enough.
Just because something you do isn’t perfect doesn’t mean it isn’t good enough or doesn’t deserve to see the light of day; it’s just good.
Remember that perfection does not exist. Moreover, it is poor quality to strive for new tasks and repeat tasks when it is possible to be more productive.
Final thoughts on how to manage and maximize time
Sometimes it’s okay to feel overwhelmed with everything you have to do. Life gets busy. Sometimes people think they can’t handle everything thrown at them. Time is a precious resource. There never seems to be enough in the world. But there are ways to make the most of your little time.
When you’re clear about what’s on your plate, you’ll be more focused and get more done in less time.
Good time management requires prioritizing daily tasks and organizing them to save time to get more done. Use the above strategies for a few weeks and see if they help you. You might be surprised how much time you still have.
Most importantly, it would help if you started planning your days. Therefore, prepare your work, determine your time & schedule, and plan your group work. Indeed, the better you plan your days, the better your chances of getting things done. You might even find extra time to enjoy yourself!
Remember to take things one at a time and try to avoid perfection at all costs. And if you can’t handle everything alone, don’t hesitate to delegate. Delegating allows you to focus on the most critical tasks at hand.