21 Time Management Tips to Make Your Day More Productive

Time management

Why is it that some people get to do much more with their time than others? The simple answer is effective time management. 

Time management is an art that most successful people have mastered. Be it in business, academics, or sports.

It doesn’t matter where you come from, your age, your religion, your race, you and I have the same amount of time. Time is the only equalizer in life. 

So, what separates you from the rest? The secret is time management skills. Time is such a precious gift. There is no better way you can show gratitude for this gift than to manage time well.

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Time management is all about ensuring you spend your time where it matters the most. Simply put, it is the art of getting more done in less time.

It revolves around how you organize and coordinate your activities. It also entails planning on how long to spend on given tasks and activities.

Why is Time management Important?

Why do you need to learn about time management? It is rewarding. It puts you in control of your tasks and you get more things done.

Time management allows you more free time. The 24 hours in a day are fixed, but you can make better use of it if you manage time. Effective time management brings more opportunities. As they say, it is the early bird that catches the worm.

On the flip side, a failure to master key time management skills results in missed deadlines, poor quality work delivered and eventually increased stress levels.

What are Time Management Skills?

Time management skills

When you master great time management skills, you can do everything you want toskill is the ability to execute a particular task with expertise.

Unlike time management tools which have to be acquired, time management skills can be learned.  Learning these skills doesn’t happen overnight. It is a gradual process. They also appear different to each of us. It, therefore, then requires that you find what works best for you.

21 Time Management Tips

Now that you appreciate the need to manage time well, I will reveal to you powerful time management tips.

One thing about these time management strategies is that they require discipline. They don’t demand an intense amount of effort.

Let’s discuss, in detail, the time management strategies that will help you manage time wisely.

1. Create a Time Audit

Time audit

time audit is meant to help you understand where your time is going. It does this by allowing you look at how your time is spent. 

This exercise often reveals the difference that exists between the time we actually spend and the time we think we spend doing a given task.

A time log is a simple form of a time audit. It is, however, important to note that it works to a limited extent.

Its major shortcoming is that it shows the time we intend to spend on a given task and not the actual time we spend doing the work. An effective time audit should reveal your actual work history.

2. Wake Up Early

Waking up early gives you the time to plan your day. When you start your day early, you are at peace and clear headed. It is the common characteristic of most successful people. Don’t you want to be successful in everything you do?

As the day ages, your energy levels drop. Your motivation and productivity levels also start going down. This is why waking up early is an effective time management strategy. Sounds ambiguous, right? The trick here is to purpose to wake up at least thirty minutes before your usual time.

Simple as it may sound, this time management technique has proven to have amazing results.

3. Set Smart Goals for Each Day the Night Before

Time management goals

Smart simply means your goals are quantifiable, realistic, clear and within a defined time frame.

Before you retire to bed, you need to be clear on what it is you seek to achieve the following day. Than to just say you will read a book, you need to have a certain target: how many chapters.

Setting goals is an incredible thing to do. It, however, requires that you exercise a high degree of prudence. The goals need to be realistic. This way, you are able to manage time well.

You need to be specific with your desired outcomes is. This gives you that feeling of accomplishment when you hit your targets. It also guarantees effective time management.

4. Keep Mornings for the Most Important Tasks

If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first,” Mark Twain. What did he intend to put across? Morning time is the best time to deal with your most daunting assignments.

This feeling of accomplishment gives you the momentum needed to sail through the remaining hours of the day.

5. Prioritize Tasks

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Is it possible to tell if your efforts are directed toward your goals? Yes, it is. Carry out a primary goals audit. 

Track your activities for one week. Take note of which of your primary goals your actions connect with. Audit yourself closely. Then find out how to move near to your goals.

Unimportant tasks often seem easier and less stressful. This is why they consume most of your time. As you start each day, make a list of the tasks that will require your attention. 

Give priority to tasks that are urgent and critical to your core values.

Once you know where to focus your attention, you will be able to manage time well.

6. Set A Time Limit for Each Task

Keeping track of the things you do makes you more focused, organized and productive. You shouldn’t only track the hours you work but also be mindful of the number of tasks and assignments that you perform, and your clients.

You can track the amount of time you spend on a given task either manually or by use of a time tracking tool.

You manage time better when you are aware of how and where you time is being utilized.

7. Hold Yourself Accountable

focus on managing time

Why hold yourself accountable? All the time management skills discussed above and below will be in vain. They will be worth nothing.

Suppose you want to improve on your writing skills, and you decide to dedicate an hour a day to this course. But every time you pick a pen and paper, your phone rings. What do you do? You do not check your phone. You choose to give your writing the attention it deserves.

If you chose to stay focused on the end goal, to let the phone conversation wait, you’ll feel more accomplished than if you’d checked the phone.

8. 20 Minute Rule to Get in The Zone

What feeling do you get when you’re ‘in the zone’? You’re unstoppable ‘when in the zone.’ How often do you want to get ‘in the zone’? You can, whenever you want to. But how? By use of the 20-minute increment chunk.

Whenever you’re about to take on an important task, prepare an alarm for twenty minutes. As you wait for the alarm to ring, study everything about the task. As soon as the alarm goes off, decide whether to put the task down or finish it.

The 20-minute blocks will help you get into the needed ‘zone’. Repeat this exercise until you are able to fall into the zone without the use of an aid.

9. Block Distractions

time management tips

A study conducted in the United Kingdom in 2019 revealed that employees waste approximately 759 work hours each year due to distractions. On average, a simple assignment that only requires 60 minutes ends up taking 3 hours to complete.

The distractions ranged from social media messages, checking personal emails while at work to phone calls.

To manage time well, avoid these distractions as much as you can. It is advisable that you put your phone on silent whenever you’re working. 

You should also remember to turn data off. Another way to minimize distractions is to put ‘Do Not Disturb’ notification on your social media accounts.

Effective time management requires that you take control of your workspace. Do not allow unpleasant emotions like boredom and anger let you lose focus.

10. Don’t Multitask

Often, you get that feeling that multitasking is an efficient way of doing things. This is not true. Efficiency is seen when you focus and concentrate on a single task. Multitasking lowers productivity.

You should avoid multitasking if you desire to improve your time management skills. Choose quality over quantity.

Having a to-do list with timelines helps you stay focused. Finish one task before starting another.

11. Take Small Breaks Frequently and Between Tasks

Time for break

Breaks are listed among the most effective time management strategies. Smart time management emphasizes taking small breaks between tasks. I’ll recommend one-hour breaks. But this is not cast in stone, it all depends on how you’ve trained yourself.

Little and frequent breaks will take your productivity to the next level. But be careful not to confuse distractions with small breaks.

12. Find Inspiration

Monotony is boring. If you stick to a specific pattern of doing things over a long period of time, you’ll end up feeling less motivated. You’ll also find it hard to concentrate.

Whenever you feel lackluster while working, find inspiration. Watch a movie, turn to YouTube or listen to a TEDx talk show.

You can turn that fire back on. How? By finding and focusing on inspiring content.

13. Sleep Well

Sleep well for time management

You need at least 6-8 hours of sleep a day. Getting sound sleep makes you feel fresh and rejuvenated. Adequate sleep reduces anxiety and stress, improving your health and well-being in the long run.

Sleep deprived individuals are less productive and effective. Denying yourself enough sleep also exposes you to diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

A well-rested human mind makes better decisions. It is quick in deciding what to do, when to do and how to do.

14. Exercise

Do you meditate and exercise every single morning? If the answer is No, you might want to reconsider. You must be thinking about how this helps you manage time. It gives you balance. With regular exercises, your mental focus grows.

In science terms, exercise helps in the creation of new mitochondria. This results in more energy. It then means that you can work for longer periods compared to someone who doesn’t exercise regularly.

15. Less Is More

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It has never been a good idea to bite more than you can chew. The key to effective time management is taking up only that which you can handle. Having time only for the essential things in life.

Prioritize your tasks. Don’t waste time on superfluous things. This gives you a clear direction. You also save time and become more productive. Across the globe, this is what great performers do. They work smarter and not harder.

16. Use an Online Calendar

Use of an online calendar is a great time management tip for you. From time immemorial, calendars have been used as effective tools to manage time. The advent of online calendars has made it easy for you to manage your schedule.

Online calendars come with various features. With online calendars, you can mark import dates. You are also able to set up reminders for meetings and deadlines.

The good thing with online calendars is that they allow for easy integration with other applications. They can also be accessed from different devices. Choose from the different options available and track your activities.

17. Delegate or Outsource

Delegating

Delegating, whenever possible, helps you grow. It is an effective time management technique. When you let others handle tasks for you, you get the time to focus on new, exciting and challenging assignments.

Outsourcing is critical in time management, the more reason you need to master it. Most time management tools recommend that you outsource. This, they argue, lets you focus on your primary objectives and core values.

18. Get Organized and Declutter

It is your work environment that makes you lose focus. Precious time is lost when you lose focus. You can avoid that. 

You’re probably wondering how. Right? It is simple: get organized and declutter.

I’ll be honest with you. You can’t do it all at once. You have to start small. A shelf today. A cabinet tomorrow. Step by step, relentlessly. With that momentum you have built you won’t even realize when you turn into an organizing warrior.

You manage time well when you’re organized and have less things to distract you.

19. Stop Being Perfect

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The common mistake that we make is that we tend to spend a lot of time figuring out small details.

Assume you are working on a presentation and you find it difficult to align a table. Do you spend a whole hour trying to get it right? No. You leave it till you’re done with the whole presentation. You only come back to it if you have the time.

To manage time better, learn to focus on the bigger picture and not the trivial things.

20. Learn to Say No

If it doesn’t support your core values, say No to it. If it doesn’t add value to your life, say No to it. You need to normalize saying No to things that don’t help you achieve your goals. Politely saying No doesn’t make you look selfish.

The many times you’ve found it hard to say No, you’ve ended up regretting why you said yes. Right? It is better you say No to an assignment that you feel is hard than to do it begrudgingly.

As a tip to manage time, saying No to additional tasks saves you time. It also helps you focus on the things that really matter.

21. Relaxation Time

Relaxation time

To be successful, you must appreciate the need to occasionally check out. Watch cartoons. Climb a tree. As long as you give your brain a break from the thing you’re doing. It is often the best thing you can do.

Are you thinking about how to improve time management? Are you frustrated that you have tried everything? How about you step away for a minute or two? Do you feel the renewed vigor?

Relaxing lets your brain ‘reboot’. Your creativity and focus increases. This improves your problem-solving ability.

Conclusion

Time management tips

At the center of a happy and fulfilled life, lies effective time management skills. 

The secret to getting more done in less time is getting clear about what is on your plate. Being content with what you have attained brings an extreme feeling of peace. 

Practice the above time management strategies and see if they help you. Don’t be surprised when you find out just how much time you seem to have.

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