If you followed yourself for a day, would you be bone-tired or still have energy to do a few more tasks by the end? Did you have an overall productive day or still feel the need to get things done? Take a week and consider those same questions. Did you step off a roller coaster or float peacefully into the weekend?
Effective time management skills are valuable to everyone.
Time management surrounds us in our professional and personal lives. Those able to better manage their time and daily events find themselves feeling more productive, having more energy and feeling better about themselves. But there are only 24 hours in a day and six to seven are recommended for sleep.
So, what are some things we can do to make the most of our day?
Reflect on your day/week. The University of Georgia Extension suggests keeping a log of your time throughout the day for about a week. This visual aid keeps track of your time and allows you to review what may be taking most of your attention. From there, you can revise and plan your day accordingly.
Learn your learning style. We learn in three styles – listening, writing and seeing.
If you are a “listener,” record reminders for yourself throughout the day and replay them later. A “writer” can benefit from a dedicated planner or calendar app to jot things down as they are scheduled. Likewise, a “seer” can use a constant reminder on a phone home screen to see the day’s events.
Note that you may prefer one learning style or use all three for a productive day. Use whatever works for you!
Set daily, weekly and monthly goals. Setting goals for the day, week and month can help you feel accomplished. Start small with the daily goals to learn how you reach them the best. Setting small goals means you are earning achievements along the way, keeping you encouraged to be productive.
Set alarms for time-sensitive events. Do you have a meeting you cannot miss? Set the alarm 15 to 20 minutes before the actual time. This helps you arrive on time and early to prepare for the task at hand.
Focus on one project at a time. Avoid multitasking, especially on important tasks that require your attention. University of Georgia Extension comments multitasking can lead to a loss of time and lowering productivity.
Setting time for one project, taking a break and beginning the next allows you to regroup between projects and set time for each task without feeling as though both need your attention at the same time.
Remember to take the time to find what works for you. You are not limited to the typical calendars and paper-and-pen reminders. Many available apps are devoted to productivity. Experiment with different techniques, and find what helps you be the most productive.
Keep in mind that what works for someone else may not work for you. You may find traditional Post-It notes are the best resource, while others prefer an alarm to mark the beginning of the next task.
Regardless, find what works for you and revise your plan if needed.