Sometimes 24 hours seem like it’s not enough to carry out the things you wanted to do in a day. What’s the reason behind it? Is it because of your poor time management strategies, lack of direction in life, or just plain old procrastination? Whatever your situation is, it’s best to find out some effective time management techniques if you want to achieve your goals faster.

Rather than hurrying in a state of frenzy when work has piled up and the clock is ticking away, it’s best to find out how you can utilize your minutes in a more efficient way. All you need is some self-discipline and a few other things we shall take a look at in this article. Scroll down and find out how you can make the best out of the time you have in hand.

Why Is Time Management Important? 

Effective time management strategies are all about managing your work life and leisure time in a better way by exercising conscious effort and control over how much time you spend on all the areas of your life. When you don’t know how to develop a productive mindset in your day to day life, you may face anxiety, stress, frustration, and even depression. That’s one of the reasons why managing time is essential. Some other benefits of managing your time include:

  • Time and task management strategies help you deliver your work on time. Even larger projects will be done smoothly and skilfully 
  • When you minimize distractions and don’t have any time wasting habits, your quality of work improves
  • You will be able to increase productivity and get more things done than usual 
  • You will have a healthy balance personal time and work time 
  • When you have a dedicated time period for certain things in your everyday life, you will have greater energy to carry out other small tasks that you love, such as practicing hobbies, recreational activities, working out, and hanging out with friends 

These are the importance and benefits of effective time management strategies. Now, let’s take a look at how you can do productive work without wasting too much time.

15 Practical And Effective Time Management Strategies 

Honestly, it’s easy to introduce time management skills in your life. However, the only thing that comes between you and a successful time management is your lethargy, procrastination, low motivation, failed multi-tasking attempts, not enough sleep, distractions, a lack of maintaining focus, and poor organizational skills. You can tackle all these problems with the help of time management tools and steps listed below.

1. Review your existing schedule 

This is the first and the most important thing to do when you are learning how to stay focused and use your time productively. Do a time audit. Understand where your time is being spent wisely and where you are wasting it. Are you sleeping away too much or are you sleeping late and ruining your health? 

Are you wasting a lot of time gossiping at work and the gossip is further affecting the quality of your work? All these things matter when you are trying to schedule time and learning time management skills. When you track the wasted time, don’t sulk over it. Promise yourself you will do something about it. 

2. Organize a daily to-do list

Just empty promises about time and task management strategies aren’t going to help you. You need to sit straight and take action against this inertia. Start by something small like organizing a to-do list. Wake up in the morning, have a cup of coffee, and write down all the trivial and significant things that need to be done by the end of the day.

Jot down every single task that needs to be done and add a time frame to each task. Both online and remote workers need to write down the tasks based on the availability of time. Don’t scribble twenty difficult tasks a day and think you can achieve them all in under 24 hours. That’s impossible. Your list needs to be doable. 

Once you have the list, make sure you cross it off your list. This will give you a sense of accomplishment and drive you toward your goals effectively. When we ca our efforts bearing fruits, it motivates us further.

Time management tips

Find out your exact reason and try to limit distractions. Let’s say you spend 15 minutes every hour chatting with your colleagues. Reduce it down to 15 minutes every 3 hours. This will have a significant impact on your delivery time and work quality. And once you finish your most important tasks, you can scroll social media for a few minutes.

3. Plan a weekly timetable 

Find an open window on weekends to plan your upcoming week. Create a schedule for each day where you will allot a certain amount of time for each task. For larger tasks, you need more focus and your appropriate mental energy to get it done. So make sure you place these things at the beginning of your week.

The more you procrastinate these specific tasks, the difficult it will become for you to finish. Some easy and manageable tasks can be done later in the week because they are easy and you won’t need to stay focused and have more energy for them. 

4. Start your day early 

We have all heard of the saying, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” It’s not just an age-old saying. It’s a mantra you should start diligently practicing if you have a hard time finding work life balance and completing tasks. When you sleep and wake up early, you have more time for yourself which you can make use of in a better way.

Waking up early won’t just benefit both your work quality and personal life. In fact, it has the ability to reduce the risk of depression. Research has found that people who were genetically predisposed to getting up one hour earlier in the morning compared with later risers had a 23% lower risk of depression. In addition to that, sticking to a proper sleep schedule and getting proper sleep can keep you happier and healthier than those who have a chaotic sleeping pattern. 

5. Split bigger tasks into smaller ones

Sometimes you spend all your day at work. You are maintaining focus, there is no wasted time, and you woke up early yet you are unable to carry out certain tasks you had imagined the day before. This is why it’s important to break down particular tasks into smaller ones and create a priority order. When you work for four hours straight on one specific task, you may feel overwhelmed. Your mind will wander and your exhaustion will unintentionally have you scrolling through your Instagram feed. 

Overcome this by breaking down one big task into smaller ones. These bite-sized assignments will appear approachable, manageable, and achievable. This one-step-at-a time strategy is also known as “microproductivity”. Here are some reasons why you need to inculcate this habit in your everyday life:

  • The human brain is limited. There is only so much your mind and body can do in a limited time period. When you have a small task to do, you won’t feel so confused as to where to begin 
  • When you know where to start, you work better. You have a map and you know to navigate the road ahead
  • When you complete tasks, you feel a sense of accomplishment. This feels rewarding and you feel proud of yourself. You are further motivated to do more

6. Prioritize the most important tasks 

Draw a line between professional and personal tasks. Which of these things can wait? If there is an emergency in your personal life, then the other can wait and vice versa. Whichever one is important, prioritize that first and everything else on your to-do list and timetable need to adjust around it.

Some chores may have to be dropped because of time constraints. On the contrary, you can delegate these smaller other tasks to someone you trust. Perhaps an assistant or a colleague if you have a lot of work responsibilities or a friend if it’s a family issue who can save time by helping you out. 

7. Practice Rapid Planning Method 

If the goal in your life at the moment is to manage time, then you need to take a look at the Rapid Planning Method (RPM). You need to ask three questions to yourself while dealing with time limit, multi-tasking, and multiple projects:

  • What (Results-Focused) – What do I really want to do today?
  • Why (Purpose-Driven) – Why does this task matter to me so much? 
  • How (Massive Action Plan) – How will I achieve this keeping in mind I have other things to do as well? 

If your “what” is to make sure you earn a little more than last month or to lose some weight for your wedding, you need to be specific. You need to make up your mind that this is what you want from yourself in the next thirty days.

The next step is “why”, here you need to determine why this task matters to you so much. The reason could be anything from going on a vacation to getting married so you want to look good in pictures. The more compelling your reason is, the more determined you will be to achieve the resume. 

The final “how” is the step you take to achieve your goals. Are you going to start working for various industries? Are you going to get in touch with a dietician and plan a healthy eating chart? These three questions will change your outlook on how you are prioritizing tasks. It will definitely make you better at managing time. 

8. Try the Eisenhower Matrix

This is one of the famous time management tools that will help you stay organized. All you have to do is divide your tasks into the following categories of two rows and four quadrants. The rows will include: Urgent and Less Urgent. Important and Less important. Under urgent comes the work tasks that need to be done no matter what. Whereas, under the not urgent category, write what can be scheduled for later.

Under important comes “delegate” and not important comes “delete”. You can delegate the not important task to someone who is willing to help you out and delete the unimportant one. If you don’t want to delete it, then try to do this in your free time. 

Eisenhower Matrix for time management

9. Eliminate distractions 

One of the best things you can do to increase productivity is limit or completely eliminate distractions. But before that, you need to find out the things that are distracting you in the first place. Research has revealed that over 50% of employees are distracted by their smartphone or social media during work hours. Furthermore, 80% of employees have revealed that hanging out with colleagues and chatting with them is a big reason for a lack of focus in their job. 

10. Don’t multitask 

Many people are under the impression that multitasking is a great way to get things done. They couldn’t be more wrong about this. It can have a negative impact on your memory. Research has found that multitasking hinders the interaction between attention and memory resulting in memory problems. Hence, quickly shifting from one task to another impacts short term memory. That’s why you are having trouble remembering things.  

Another major downside of multitasking is that it can cause anxiety. A study has found that stuffing too much work equals more speed, more mistakes, and more stress. On top of that, when there is limited time and you are trying to get more than once thing done, it may result in failure. You won’t be able to carry out even one task properly. 

11. Try the Pomodoro Technique 

Pomodoro Technique is yet another time management tool  to limit distractions and be productive. To follow this technique, you will need a to-do list and a timer. Select the most important task you have in hand and set a timer at 25 minutes. Once the time is done, record how much you’ve completed and how much work is remaining. 

Enjoy a short break. You are allowed to take a five minute break each Pomodoro. After four such Pomodoro sessions, take a longer 15-25 minutes break. This works effectively because you get your work done while doing other things like using social media, making phone calls, and even listening to music to feel relaxed. 

12. Tackle lethargy smartly  

Lethargy is completely different from procrastination and laziness. Lethargy is when you constantly feel tired and burned out, whereas procrastination is done out of laziness. Try to become more active by becoming more active. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, then the inactivity can harm your mental and physical health. 

Here are some ways you can become more active:

  • Start going to the gym twice a week
  • Practice meditation 
  • Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water
  • If you are a little on the overweight side, then it’s good to shed a few pounds
  • Instead of devouring all the food in one meal, have smaller meals and eat throughout the day
Tackle lethargy smartly

13. Learn when to say no 

Drawing boundaries with coworkers, friends, and even your significant other becomes crucial when you are trying to save time and trying to find balance between personal time and work. If you are being nagged by your colleagues to help them out on weekends, set boundaries with them and tell them you have personal things to do that can’t wait. 

If your week was fully booked and you barely had any time for yourself, then ask your family and partner to let you have some alone time. Once you establish clear boundaries with them, they will know your side of the story and there won’t be any misunderstandings. 

14. Keep some time aside for yourself

You are a human after all. You need to destress and take life lightly once in a while as well. Try to take one day off from work every week. You can use the day to do what makes you happy. If you like to bake, then you can go ahead and do that.

If you love reading, then head to the library and spend the day smelling books and reading your favorite passages. You can also end the day by meeting your friends or spending time with your family. 

15. Summarize your day 

After a hectic day at work, try to review the things you did during the day. Reflect on the things that were done successfully and those that couldn’t be accomplished. This is an honest way to review yourself. And with the help of this self-reflection, you can find out how and where you can improve.  

3 Bonus Tips To Help You Manage Your Time Better

We aren’t done yet because we have three more bonus tips to offer that will help you in inculcating healthy habits while enhancing mental energy and improving your quality of work:

Bonus Tips # 1 – Download time tracker and productivity apps 

Technology has advanced massively over the years. There are many apps available which you can download to help you keep a track of time. These apps will help you in developing good time management skills. Along with that, there are many productivity apps you can download to lessen your burden and prepare you for the tasks ahead of the day. For example, you can download “todoist”. It’s an app that allows you to record your tasks and review them later. 

Bonus Tips # 2 – Practice decision-making skills 

Smart decision-making is crucial in every aspect of life. Similarly, you need to make informed decisions when it comes to time management. Make a plan, be assertive, look at things from different perspectives, weigh your options, and then decide. 

Bonus Tips # 3 – Be mindful when you are going off track 

It’s okay to go off track while working once in a while. You find your fingers slipping in your pocket to get your mobile phone. You open Facebook and start scrolling. It’s okay. But it’s not okay when you do it regularly and for an extended period of time. You need to practice control. You need to bring your focus back by being mindful.

Benjamin Franklin, polymath and the Founding Father of the United States once quoted, “The lost time is never found again”. Thus, time is a very precious thing and should never be wasted. We should learn how to develop effective time management strategies and make the most out of life.