Have you ever had a day where the time gets away from you? Next thing you know, even though you’ve been busy all day, you’re running out of time and not sure what happened? It happens to all of us, but we can do things to manage our time better. Here are a few time management tricks to help you take on your day.
Do a Time Audit
Step one is to find out how much time to spend doing any given task during the day. You can go back about two or three weeks in your calendar and make a list. Start with your morning routine. Then look at your workday, including how much time you typically spend responding to emails, making phone calls, and completing tasks. Next, look at your after-hours life. Once you know what you spend your time on, you can adjust when necessary.
Time Blocking and Batching
Do you know the feeling of being in the zone? This is when you’re so caught up in the activity you’re doing that time flies. But when you’re not feeling it, your tasks can feel like a drag. Here is where blocking and batching can help. Blocking is where you set aside a specific time frame to complete a project. Batching is taking several small projects and knocking them out in a single block.
You only have twenty-four hours each day. But not all of those hours are dedicated to your tasks. Eight hours are taken up with sleep. Then you also have to have time to do other daily functions, like bathing and eating. What does that leave you? Time boxing, which is a method used by Agile managers, means you determine how much time in the day you want to dedicate to any given task. Then track that time to ensure you’re not overcommitting time to some things and not others.
Maintain Your Flow
Remember when we mentioned being “in the zone?” One of the essential components of time management is maintaining your flow. We have created a myth in our culture that the human brain can multitask. But our brains are not designed to do more than one thing at a time. To avoid burnout, you need to maintain your focus on one task at a time. Multitasking takes longer and causes more errors. Instead, prioritize your tasks and work on them one at a time.
Know When to Say No
Time management isn’t just about your daily calendar and workflow. Sometimes, you need to know when to accept more responsibilities and say no. You need to stop taking on so much because no time management tricks in the world can make up for an overloaded schedule. Delegate, ask for help, and share your workload. Set boundaries and stick to them.
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