I’ve been reading all about productivity and how the days of time management are dead. This is a scary thought for someone like me who prides themselves on their time management and organisational skills.
The experts are saying in this day and age with all the instant messaging, emails, social media, and demands on our time throughout the day, it is actually our attention that we need to manage more so then our time. Interesting notion I thought.
We all have the same number of hours in the day (unless you have managed to bribe someone into creating a timeturner – and if so gimmie) so it’s important to spend your time consciously. Like with the new concept of ‘attention management’ you can never have too many ideas on how to squeeze more into each day. Here are some practical tips on really making the most of your day and having plenty of time to enjoy the little things.
1. Set your priorities.
Take 10 minutes to write down a to-do list. Take a look at it and prioritise what needs to get done today and why. Estimate the amount of time you need to spend on different tasks and make a note of it. This is going to help you really see what you can actually get done today in the time you have.
2. Consider your goals.
The amount of time you spend on things should be relative to how important it is in your life. Its easy to get caught up in day to day tasks and forget what is really important to you. But there is only so much time in the day and achieving your goals should be a priority. Don’t waste time (or your ‘attention’) on things that don’t matter.
3. Time yourself.
Setting a the timer is a great way to motivate yourself to do things you don’t want to do in the fastest way. It helps you to minimize distractions and get the job done. You can use this method to limit yourself to tasks that can take all day if you let them. Things like cleaning, checking your emails, studying, spending time on the internet.
4. Plan ahead.
Try to give yourself 15-20 minutes each morning to settle your thoughts and sit down with your planner and write down your to-do list. By taking this time out you can get ahead of a stressful day and regroup. Do the same thing at the end of your day and figure out what your plan is for the next day. This method helps you to stay focused on your goals.
5. Use a planner and checklist.
It just feels so satisfying to cross items off your list when you get them done. If you are always forgetting things or you find the time slipping away from you, try using a checklist each day. Paring your checklist with a planner helps to free up your mind and organise your time. Whenever something comes up, write it down.
6. Choose your time wisely.
If you have kids at home, you know how hard it can be to accomplish anything while they are awake. Same goes for if you have work or study commitments that need to take up designated time throughout the day. Try to split your to-do list into things that you can do throughout the day according to your commitments. If you have young kids mark different tasks you can do while they nap, if you work see what you can fit in during your lunch break, or marking out time to stay back at the library at Uni to pay your bills online or make some calls.
7. Stay up later or get up earlier.
I was never a morning person until I started working full time. These days I find I am far more productive in the morning and by the evening I’m far less capable. But everyone is different, so if you find you are more alert at night, stay up later.
8. Watch less television.
There might be some shows that you wont miss, and that’s fine! Why not record them and watch them later? That way you can cut out the ads and save time! But if there are shows you don’t enjoy as much and you only watch them out of habit, stop watching them!
9. Stop multitasking. The more you focus your attention on one task at a time the faster you will get it done. If you try to do too many things at once they will take longer to complete. Give it a try.
10. Take time off. All this time saving is bound to help you get more done which gives you more time to reboot and relax. The more you make time to rest up, the more energy you will have to get things done.
Until next time, colour outside the lines, dream big, enjoying the little things, and above all else… embrace imperfection.