The bad news is, time flies. The good news is, you’re the pilot. – Michael Altahuler
We’ve all heard the saying ‘either you run the day, or the day runs you’, and are all too familiar with the reality of it. The truth is, being productive is not about having the time, it’s about making the time. Believe it or not, we all have the same amount of hours in a day as Barack Obama or Beyonce, crazy right? It’s how we allocate our time that makes the difference. Here are 6 time management hacks to kick ass on the daily.
1. Not everything is urgent. Wait, what? You heard me. In this fast-paced world, we’re inclined to think (and feel) like everything was due yesterday. Chill. Not everything needs to be done RIGHT NOW. Bosses, clients and even our families want everything done the moment they ask for it. Unfortunately someone will have to wait. While there are certainly time-sensitive tasks, a lot of (if not most) things can wait without the world crumbling beneath your feet. Identify what the ‘must-do’s’ and ‘would-be-nice-to-do’s’ of each day are. Eventually your must-do’s will be crossed off, your nice-to-do’s will become must-do’s and you’ll make room for new things in a free flowing fashion.
2. Make a schedule & stick to it. Mapping out your major tasks is a great way to help conceptualize your day, but you cannot stop there. A to-do list puts things into perspective but does not necessarily help you accomplish anything. After all, a goal without a plan is just a wish. It is easy to lose track of the day without a plan to follow, which is why I recommend making a schedule by setting time frames to your tasks. Start with your must-do’s and work your way through your would-be-nice-to-do’s as your schedule permits.
3. Take advantage of hidden productivity pockets. This is my favorite time management tool and life-hack in my every day routine. Once you write down all you hope to accomplish in a day and start tracking how you spend your time, you’ll begin to notice what I like to call productivity pockets. These are times in the day where you can accomplish two things at once without expending extra energy. I use my morning commute to listen to podcasts and start a load of laundry while I do yoga. Figure out where these pockets are in a day so you can work smarter, not harder.
4. Effectiveness vs. Efficiency. When managing your time, aim to be effective rather than efficient. It is important not to trick yourself into thinking that movement means achievement. Crossing things off your checklist does not necessarily mean that you’re being productive. Schedule things that are important, however big or small, that will help you reach your goal(s). It is better to do a few things exceptionally well, rather than doing many things haphazardly.
5. Delegate & Eliminate. If you see that there are tedious tasks that are eating up too much of your day, try to see if you can delegate them to someone else or at least share them to free up time for your more important tasks. Alternatively, perhaps you’ll notice that you spend an hour of your work day checking Facebook. Eliminate this ‘task’ by turning off your notifications and stalk your high school friends during your down time, you’ve got shit to do.
6. Be realistic. Try to avoid over-scheduling yourself and setting yourself up for failure. Be realistic about how long things take to do and plan accordingly. There will be times you’ll need to adjust your schedule, that’s okay. Constantly assessing your schedule and reassessing how well it is serving you will help you be more efficient.
7. Enjoy the process. Remember that the goal of this process is to alleviate stress, not add to it. It shouldn’t be all work and no play. Scheduling personal time is essential in finding a healthy work-life balance. Whether it’s a date night, a night out with your friends or a night in with your kids, do not neglect time for fun and relaxation.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your growing pile of responsibilities, remember that the key to getting ahead is getting started and it’s never too late.
Need help organizing your time and taking control of your life? You’re not alone. Contact me to see what we can do to put you back in the pilot seat.
Keep #bossing up,