4 Actionable Time Management Tips For Insanely Busy People
Is your to-do list longer than your arm? Do you fall into bed exhausted at the end of the day, without having completed your goals? Are you constantly putting off things that are important to you because you’re too busy? If any of this sounds familiar, improving your time management skills could be the answer to your problems.
Effective time management is about more than the just basic organisation. It’s easy(ish) to keep track of appointments and deadlines, as these are affirmative plans, but ‘softer’ tasks can pile up because they have no set completion date. This is why you need to organise your organisation by prioritising your duties and goals to create a workable schedule.
The first step is to list everything on your agenda. Work commitments, set appointments, social events, self-care and wellbeing tasks, chores, and leisure…get it all down on paper! Next, order these in terms of their importance and their immediacy. Your list should go from very important to complete in the near future to very important to complete but has no fixed deadline. Then comes less important items that need to be done soon if they are to be done at all and, finally, things that aren’t important and have no timeframe.
Deciding what falls into which category can be tricky. The answer will be unique to you and depend on your own personal goals. For example, if you want to improve your fitness, you must exercise several times a week. Thus, you should fit your gym sessions into ‘important and immediate’.
Organising yourself using this ranking system prevents against the ‘to-do list pile up’ that occurs when you have a number of tasks to complete without any order to approach them in. It’s human nature to want to set about the easier and quicker items first, but this is a classic time management error because it leaves your to-do list full of mammoth tasks. Such a daunting list of duties can seem impossible and destroy your enthusiasm for tackling it any further – especially if you already have a sense of achievement from accomplishing smaller tasks.
Be Time Savvy
As well as organising yourself, you need to be aware of how you’re spending your unscheduled time. Be aware of vacuums – activities that waste precious minutes and hours without returning any benefit. Examples include scrolling through social media, mindlessly watching TV, cooking unnecessarily complex meals, and taking longer to get ready on a morning than you need.
You also need to get time savvy by multi-tasking where possible. Do you have a long commute? Get ahead on your work emails or do an online grocery shop. Work from home? Begin your day ASAP and make showering and getting dressed your mid-morning break. Cooking dinner? Double up the recipe and freeze the remainder. They may not sound like much, but these little time savings really add up!
Learn To Say ‘NO’
If you still feel like you’re unable to manage everything after you’ve applied the time management system above, you’ll need to re-examine your agenda and trim some of your commitments. Overburdening yourself is easy to do and, as women, we often believe that we should be taking on everything that’s asked of us, but there’s a power to be found in the word ‘no’ – even if it can be difficult to say.