Running a business and a home is a lot of work. Most of us have more things to do than we could ever get done in a day, or even a week. Managing your time well is key to making progress on your to-do and running your life well. These 12 time management tips will help you make the most of your time and get more done.
1. Add margin
You will always have interruptions to your day. Plan ahead for these interruptions by looking at your schedule and adding buffer time as needed. I like to leave about two hours open during my day. Then, I can use that time if a meeting runs over, if something needs to be moved around, or if something takes me longer to get done. If you end up not needing your buffer time on a particular day, you can do another task or take a short break.
2. Plan your day
Planning your day is one of the most effective ways. Look at your schedule for the day, see what time you have available and decide what your most important tasks are. Your day may not always go like you plan but having a plan in place helps you make the most of your time.
3. Limit distractions
You’re going to have distractions in your day. Especially if you work from home. But, some distractions are avoidable. Social media can easily become a distraction and take up a lot of time if you let it. Chores can also be a distraction. Treat your work time like you’re at work.
4. Prioritize your list
You probably have a ton of items on your to-do list and you’ll probably never get all the things crossed off your list. The key to getting the most important stuff done every day is prioritizing your list.
5. Take care of yourself
Getting enough sleep is so important for staying focused and being productive. When you’re tired, it’s hard to find motivation and do good work. Exercising and eating well will also help you be your best so you have the energy to do the things you need to do.
6. Stop multitasking
Multitasking is a myth. There are some things that pair well together, like listening to an audiobook or podcast while you do something physical. But, if you’re trying to do multiple things that require brainpower, you’re setting yourself up to do none of those things well. Concentrate on the single task you need to get done and then move on to the next thing on your list.
7. Set a timer
Many tasks will expand to fill the time we allow for them. If you have a big project, set a timer and work on that task for the time allotted with no interruptions. After that, if you need to move on to something else, you will know that you at least worked on your big project for a certain amount of time. It’s easier to stay focused on the task at hand when you know you have a finite time to work on it.
8. Create a yearly to-do list
In home and in business, we all have tasks that have to be done at certain times of the year. Create a list of items you need to do in a certain month or season. This allows you to look ahead at what you have coming up and also saves you from having to spend time thinking about what needs to be done year after year.
9. Make a someday list
You should have a master to-do list that has everything you need to get done. To avoid getting overwhelmed by your list, make a separate someday list for those items that you want to do, but don’t necessarily have to be done at a certain time. This will make it easier to prioritize what has to get done and still keep track of all the things you would like to do someday.
10. Batch tasks
Batching your tasks means grouping similar to-do items together and doing them in a single chunk of time. For example, if you have errands to run, run all of your errands at the same time. This saves time in the long run because you’re not making multiple trips. If you create content for your business, batch your content creation time together. It’s easier to get in the mode of a certain task (like writing or creating images) and working on several projects at a time than it is to do all of these tasks separately for each project.
It can be hard to delegate, because you feel like you can do the job better than anyone else. But, even if you could do it better, if there’s someone else who can do it good enough-delegate. This works for home and for business. Your spouse may do the laundry differently than you, but if it takes the laundry off your to-do list, that’s good enough. When you’re just starting out in business, you probably have more time than money, but as soon as you’re able delegate tasks to someone else so you can free up time to make more money.
12. Set up routines for emails & phone calls
Taking phone calls and returning emails is essential to running a business or a household. But, email and phone calls can take up your entire day if you let them. Instead of answering emails or phone calls when they are received, try to set aside 10-15 minutes a few times a day to dedicate to responding to emails and returning phone calls. It works well to do this in the morning and afternoon. You can always see what emails or calls come in and deal with them immediately if it’s an emergency, but all others can wait a couple of hours.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by our to-do lists.
There will always be more to get done or something else to add. Managing your time well is essential to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Follow these 12 time management tips to take control over your time and get more done.