I talk about this all the time but taking control of your life starts by taking control of your time. The biggest part of gaining control of your time is to learn to manage your time efficiently.
I have complied 8 important steps that will help you take control of your time! These are all steps that have seriously helped me over the past year improve my time management and overall productivity.
1) Log your time
Spend at least 2 days, a work day and an off day recording what you do. I recommend logging it in 30 minute or 1 hour intervals.
A good example of this log would be:
7:00a – 7:20a woke up and was on phone, Instagram and Twitter
7:20a-7:30a checked emails
7:30a – 8:00a dressed, did makeup, did hair
8:00a-8:15a drove to coffee shop
etc.. complete it for the whole day and pay attention for any missing time slots because those are probably “wasted” time.
2) Evaluate the results
Take a long hard look at your results. It’s easy to say “yeah yesterday I spent 2 hours on social media but that isn’t normal for me” because it probably is normal. If you think it wasn’t an accurate day then do another couple days. But take the results seriously to see where and how you are truly spending your time.
Remember- it is only you that you are hurting by not being honest with yourself about how you are spending your time. If you aren’t achieving your goals it’s probably because you aren’t investing the right time and effort in them!
3) Write to-do lists
I live by to do lists and find it so insanely helpful to write to do lists for each day, week, and month. This can be in your planner, on a notebook, or on a note on your phone.
I like to make sub to-do lists as well, like I will do a more vague to-do list for the whole day and then do a list for my work, a list for cleaning, a list for my site, etc.
If you want more details on how to write and really follow your daily to do lists then you need to go check out my detailed guide: How to Make an “Every Day Goals” List.
4) Learn to prioritize
Prioritize, prioritize, PRIORITIZE.
If you find yourself at the end of the day wishing there were more hours in the day then it is certainly time for you to learn some prioritizing skills. The reality is that you can’t always accomplish everything you want to everyday. Which means you have to make sure that you prioritize what you really want to get done to ensure there is time for it. Prioritizing starts to become more and more natural as you do it and you will start to feel the positive effects of it and feel that you have more control of your time.
5) Schedule your day down to the hours
It is totally up to you if you prefer using a paper planner or a digital calendar. Do this the night before around bedtime. Then you will be able to wake up and review your day but get to it right away.
For my work hours I use my Outlook calendar and I feel like having access to an outlook calendar is very common in different work spaces. I love being able to get notifications before meetings, conference calls, and deadlines.
For outside of work time I use my calendar on my iPhone calendar. It’s so easy to use and to sync to your emails.
Keep the schedule decently detailed. This sounds super time consuming but once you get into the habit of it, then it becomes second nature and really doesn’t take long. And it ultimately ends up saving way more time than if you didn’t..
Interested in the same planner as me? It’s by Me and My Big Ideas, it’s their classic happy planner available HERE!
6) Use down time efficiently
This is another thing that I annoyingly don’t stop talking about. Finding time where you aren’t being productive but also aren’t relaxing or spending time with family/friends are time holes and using them more efficiently can turn your day around!
One of the biggest down time holes that can suck away potentially useful time is your commute. For majority of people it is unavoidable but there are tons of ways that you can use that time to improve your day. I wrote up a whole list of ideas of what you can do to make your commute time more productive.
7) Accept that multitasking doesn’t work
Multitasking sounds like the way to go and to be productive… until you learn how much worse it actually hurts your efficiency.
It takes you 50% longer to do EACH task. So if you are trying to multitask 2 tasks that normally take an hour each it will end up taking 4 hours to go between the two tasks to complete them. It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you can complete more but you CANT so get over that mentality and focus on one task at a time.
So work on one task at a time and commit yourself to that task Focusing on that one singular task will help you not only with efficiency but it also improves the quality of what you are attempting to complete.
8) Write everything down
A large part of time management is keeping things organized. And keeping organized is largely knowing what needs to get done. I walk around work with a notebook (don’t worry it’s a cute one) and write down little things and information. I look back on it through the day SO MUCH. And it keeps me from forgetting things and able to ensure that I complete everything in a timely manner.
I order my notebooks on Amazon, make sure you get a spiral one so that you can easily look back at past days.
What are your best time management tips?