I very much doubt there’s a single human on the planet that doesn’t struggle with time management at one point or another. I myself struggle with managing the time I spend reading blogs about managing my time. Luckily, that tail-chasing does often result in some useful tidbits; I found this Lifehack article particular useful in helping me corral my personal daily grind.
While “organize your time” might sound like a rather straightforward directive, how do you go about prioritizing multiple, often competing goals? As the piece points out, it ultimately begins with goal setting. What are your goals RIGHT NOW? What are your clients’ or your business’s goals? What personal goals must you prioritize alongside your professional goals?
Once you really know what your immediate goals are, you can begin the process of setting the tasks necessary to achieve them. What tasks are most important? What tasks must come first? What tasks rely on previous steps being completed or are dependent upon the timelines of others?
Lastly, it’s incredibly helpful to assign value to your time and limits on how it’s spent. What is your actual hourly rate? Whether you’re a CEO, a salaried employee or a stay-at-home mom, you should know that value of your time. As the article points out, once you know your time’s value, you can manage your time accordingly. Be honest, are some of tasks “below your pay grade” and begging to be delegated? Is surfing Facebook and Twitter for 15 minutes worth a quarter of your hourly rate? (You know what? On some days, it totally is.)
Which brings me to setting limits on your time. If you’ve gotten this far in this post, I’m guessing you’re pretty aware of what your time sinks and distractions are. Is it social media? Is it the “analysis paralysis” caused by overwhelming perfectionism? Is it that gorgeous weather outside your office window? Whatever it is, corral it, limit it, manage it. You can install any one of a number of applications that block your web or social media access per day. As the article recommends, to limit perfectionist time sucks, you can try setting time limits for your tasks that are far shorter than what you’d usually assign, And by all means, treat yourself. Whether that means taking a 15-minute social media break, sipping a latte at the closest outdoor café or playing a rousing game of Minesweeper, you do you. Small breaks are not only reward you for progress made but also for keep your mind clear and ready for the next task.
I’d love to hear how you manage to battle time sucking demons and slay endless to-do lists. Tell us in the comments below.