You look at the clock, and three hours have gone by since the last time you checked the time. This is great if you’re hoping time will fly, but not so good if you’re at work and were supposed to get 10 things done during that time – but only did two. Here are 20 easy tips to manage your time better.
1. Plan your day. Make your schedule for the next day before you go to bed, and try to stick to your plan as much as possible.
2. Give each task a time limit. This will prevent your work from dragging and eating up time assigned to other tasks.
3. Use a calendar. Try using one that will link to your phone, so you can access it wherever you are.
4. Get an organizer. This will help you be on top of everything going on in your life. You can write to-do lists — sometimes it’s easier to actually write something down rather than type it.
5. Know your deadlines. Mark deadlines clearly in your calendar and your organizer so you don’t forget about projects.
6. Know your limitations. Don’t take on more tasks than you can reasonably handle.
7. Aim to be early. Try to be early for every appointment you have, even if it’s just getting to work. Also, try to submit projects earlier than you need to; it guarantees you’ll at least be on time.
8. Give yourself the least amount of time you’ll need. When allotting time for tasks, if you know you can do it in three hours, don’t allow yourself four. That’s just an hour you’ll waste.
9. Have a clock you can see. If you’re constantly reminded of what time it is, you’ll work harder to get things done.
10. Set reminders for 15 minutes before an appointment. That way you’ll have time to wrap up whatever you’re working on.
11. Focus. Sometimes multitasking isn’t the best answer. Focus on one task at a time, and you’ll be more efficient.
12. Lose the distractions. Log off chats and IMs if you have something to get done. You’ll concentrate much better.
13. Track your time. When you’re conscious of how much time you’ve spent on something, you’ll be more efficient. Try using Egg Timer.
14. Let go of the details. Try to take the perfectionism down a notch or two, because you’ll probably never get everything done exactly the way you want.
15. Prioritize. Since you probably won’t be able to get everything done, decide which tasks are the most important.
16. Delegate. If someone else can do something better than you can, give the task to them.
17. Group similar tasks. If you have some work to do that’s related to other work, batch them together. It will streamline the process.
18. Eliminate time wasters. We all love Twitter and Facebook (or do we?), but they just kill time. Take all those sites off of your bookmarks so that they’re harder to access, and you’ll find yourself checking them less often.
19. Stop when you need to. If a meeting is running 20 minutes over, say something. It’s likely that everyone else also has other work to do.
20. Leave buffer time. Schedule five to ten minutes in between each task. We’re not robots (we’re not?), and we all need at least a minute of breathing room.