Oh common, we were just kidding. Of course you can have ninja-like time management skills, and we will show you how.
We all know what it is, all think we know how to manage our time, yet most of us are usually left wondering where all the time went and how we are late with producing our assignments yet again. It seems pretty simple – allocate a certain amount of time to do something, do it, move on to the next thing. However, this is not how it goes down. You give yourself two days to write up a report, and the next thing you know it’s now three days later and all you have is the heading. Well, you need to do more than only allocate time to a task. You need to know how to manage the time within each task you are completing, so that your overall plan goes to schedule. Here are our four tips for successful time management.
Make a plan
Rather than just making one plan, make plans within the plan and plans within the plan within a plan. So, to begin with, create your weekly plan. You should plan each week a week in advance. Within the weekly plan have each of your days planned out, then review the plan for the day ahead on the evening before. This way you know what you have coming in the following week and the following day, and you can see if you are able to take on more tasks or if you have to rearrange what you already have planned.
When you are making your plan, pay attention to certain deadlines that you have been given for your task. Prioritize these tasks, even if it means changing the plan that you have already made for next week.
Plan each task. Instead of allocating a day to tasks X, Y and Z, allocate certain times within the day for the completion of the tasks. Schedule in the time that you are giving yourself for the task, and also schedule in time for yourself. This way, you cannot go through the day putting off the tasks until later and then regretting it when you have to finish three tasks by midnight but now it’s ten pm and you have wasted your evening on Netflix.
Make it visual
If you plan everything out in your head, it is easy to forget and have certain events pushed out by others. Make your plans visual in as many ways as you can. You should definitely have digital records of your plans so that you can access them with ease whenever you are out and about. Use on online calendar system such as Google+ calendars and you can access your diary plans on your phone, computers…anything with internet access. However, also have a paper organizer. In today’s technologically dependent society we tend to put too much trust into our technologies. Having a digital diary and calendar is brilliant, but what happens if the system or server crashes and loses all of your plans for the next two months! It would be chaos! Just as you back up everything on your computer, back up everything from your computer on paper. You can even make to-do lists and keep contact information in your paper planner.
I find that I need to go one step further than using calendars and organizers. I also use a wall planner. I pin the wall planner directly opposite my bed, so that it is the first thing that I see when I wake up, and the last thing I look at before I go to sleep. With calendars and diaries it can be tempting to close the book or application and ignore the week ahead which you know is going to be stressful. You cannot ignore your tasks when they are directly in front of you every morning and every evening.
There are so many distractions around us every single day. If we let these distractions get to us, if we let them linger in the background, then our productivity is going to drop right down. Block out everything that distracts you. Have only relevant tabs open on your browser- if you have to have your browser open for work. Do not have your email account open unless you are emailing. Stay away from social networking sites! Yes it is interesting to see what your friends wore at that party last week, but it is not going to help you finish your tasks. The same goes for popular news and culture sites- you can never having a quick look. You go to read one article on a news site and four hours later you find yourself watching videos of cats skateboarding. The internet is a rabbit hole, and it is very easy to find yourself tumbling deeper and deeper into it.
The same goes for your telephone. It is so easy to distract ourselves, so do not give yourself the ability to do so. Unless you have to have your phone on for work, switch it off when you are completing tasks. If it is important, they will leave a voicemail and you can respond when you have time.
Remember that you cannot do everything, and do not be too hard on yourself. The most organized of people have perfected the art of saying ‘no’ to taking on extra tasks when the realize that they do not have the time to fulfill this task and every other one on their list. Prioritize what you have, and let go of the things that are not important. You will free up more time for yourself, be able to focus more of your time on the important tasks and be a more calm version of yourself. Finally, learn how to delegate. Although you will want to try to do everything by yourself, you need to understand that there are people who are better suited, and while you struggle to finish a certain task by next week another person may breeze through it in a day.
You are not superhuman, so do not try to be.