There’s not enough time in the day! I’m so behind! I’ll never get caught up! I’ll never get ahead! Have you ever said this? I’ll take a wild guess and say, yes. Our society has become so fast paced, that if you stop to blink, you miss something. People are checking their email and responding to texts while they’re stopped at a red light, waiting in the school pick-up line, or worse…in the bathroom stall. Everything seems urgent. And yet, how can we possibly keep up? Never mind the piles of laundry, the lawn that needs to be mowed, grocery shopping, and someone has outgrown their shoes again.
Have you ever observed someone that seems to be so busy, yet they always seem to get everything done? And sometimes even more? Let’s face it. We all know someone like that. Well, here are a few tricks of the trade.
Take time to plan your day- Whether you do this the night before or first thing in the morning, pause and really look at your calendar. Think about everything that you have to do and everywhere you have to be. This will mentally prepare you for a busy day.
Eliminate distractions- This can be difficult to do when you are managing so many things (like family, a business, etc.). But if you know that you MUST get something done, plan on turning off the phone, banning yourself from social media, or locking yourself in a quiet room until you get it done.
Plan on interruptions- There is no exception to this (unless you have locked yourself in a room-see above). You will be interrupted. You are working on a blog post, and your baby decides he’s not going to nap that afternoon. You are going over your slides for your afternoon presentation, and your laptop decides to freeze. When you know that you will be interrupted (even though you don’t know how), you can learn to roll with the punches. It’s just a minor setback.
Complete your most important tasks first- Can you imagine if you started out your day by crossing off the 5 most important things? You’d have the rest of the day to accomplish the less urgent tasks.
Sleep well, exercise, and eat healthy- We’ve heard this time and time again. Sleeping 7-8 hours per night, exercising daily (and walking to your car in the office parking lot doesn’t count), and eating healthy are all proven ways to boost energy levels and increase your focus. Of course you can accomplish more when you have a boost in energy!
Create organizing systems- For some, this may be a detailed to-do list. For others it might be a color-coded calendar or filing system. And others may ask Siri to give them reminders!
Set a time limit- I love this one. If you sit down and tell yourself that you have only 1 hour to get it done, you will. Here’s the trick. You will be so focused and deliberate, that it will probably be just as good, if not better, than if you had allowed yourself the entire morning.
Delegate more often- Good leaders are good at delegating. Business owners are visionaries and need to think ahead. They can’t get bogged down with the day to day operations, like proofreading and editing their materials. Outsource.
Put these tips to the test, and you will see a noticeable improvement in your time management.
I'm Erin! I'm an MBA graduate with nearly 20 years of experience in HR, small business management, academia, and social media. I am an author, wife, mother, half marathon runner, and lover of the outdoors.