If you find yourself falling behind every day, these five great ways to manage your time better are sure to help. Usually, time management is simply a matter of being mindful.
Five Great Ways to Manage Your Time Better
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Life gets busy and time has a way of getting away from all of us. The busier your schedule, the more difficult it can be to get everything done. Sometimes this can be a sign that we are over-scheduling our time. But sometimes, it is simply a matter of less-than-optimum time management.
Good time management is not just another way to fit even more stuff into an already over-burdened schedule. Rather, when you manage your time more efficiently, you not only get more done, you will be less stressed out while doing it. Here are five great ways to manage your time better. Hopefully, they will inspire you to think of even more ways to take charge of your time management in your daily life.
Make a Fresh To Do List Each Day
If you aren’t already making a “To Do” List, you should be. But even better, make a fresh one each day.
When you use the same To Do list without starting fresh, the things that you didn’t check off the day before can stand out like an accusation. It is easy to get distracted by feelings of guilt or failure, and neither are helpful.
Instead, make a “To Do Today” list. If there are items from yesterday that you’d like to get done today, add them fresh and new, along with the rest of your goals for the day. List everything in order of priority and check things off as you complete them. If anything important is left at the end of the day, add it to your fresh To Do list the following day.
Beware of Multi-Tasking
Even if you consider yourself to be a multi-tasking aficionado, try doing tasks one at a time whenever possible. You may have to juggle various responsibilities throughout the day. But do your best to focus on them one at a time. The more you can concentrate on one task without interruption, the more you can accomplish in less time. And once a task is completed, you get to mark it off your To Do Today list, a satisfying feeling, indeed!
Give Yourself a Break
When you feel like you have a lot of work to do, it may be tempting to work through your break time. But taking a break is very important to your overall well being, as well as your ability to get things done efficiently.
Rather than ignoring breaks, try dividing your To Do Today list into small, but important tasks. When you complete an important task, take a break. Even if you only take five minutes, giving yourself a moment to stretch your legs, look out the window, get something to drink, or just play a quick game of computer solitaire helps to refresh you for the next important task on your To Do Today list. (And if you know that you tend to get lost in your break time activities, set a timer so you know when to get back to work!)
Set Your Priorities and Hold Yourself To Them
Listing the items on your To Do Today list in order of priority is very important. It is also helpful if you put your least favorite work before your favorite work. That way, you have the work you love to look forward to, as a reward for getting the other stuff done.
And don’t allow yourself to start a new project until you finish the one before it. Yes, at times, you may need to, if you are waiting on work from another source you have no control over. But don’t allow yourself to just push the less-fun work to the back burner in favor of things you’d rather do. Get it done. Check it off. Take a short break. And get back to work on the task you really enjoy.
Cultivate a Positive Attitude
As long as you list things on your To Do Today list in order of priority and work from the top down, you should find it easier to keep up with your daily schedule. You may find that you often have items on your list that you need to reschedule for another day. Don’t all that to effect you in a negative way.
Actually, your time is best used by keeping your To Do Today list rather full. You never know what you can accomplish if you don’t challenge yourself. And you can’t challenge yourself by making your schedule so easy every day that you accomplish your tasks early. (Although that’s a great thing to do on occasion!)
Ideally, your schedule should include extra tasks that are harder to prioritize. But these tasks would still make your life a lot easier when they are done. When your work day ends, you can enter those tasks into your To Do Today list for the following day, feeling proud that you made any kind of dent in them at all.
Giving yourself credit and allowing yourself to feel good about all that you have accomplished in your day builds you up. It gives you even more incentive to do a good job the following day, so you can feel good again. And with an attitude like that, you can do anything!
Finding ways to manage your time better does not require pushing yourself to do more than you can. It simply requires being mindful, focused, and finding ways to reward yourself along the way. Be your own champion and friend while you work and you’ll find yourself getting more accomplished than you expected!
What are some of your favorite ways to stay on task? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!