No one is born with incredible time management skills. Like anything else in life, efficiency and productivity take time to perfect. Wondering how to be more productive in your daily life? Read on for six ways to take your time management skills to the next level.
1. Keep a Time Diary
While you may want to see your time management skills turnaround overnight, the reality is that real change takes time. Start your search for productivity by keeping a diary of where your time goes throughout the week. This way, you’ll see where you spend your productive hours and where you become distracted during the day. Which will allow you to know where the majority of your energy goes. While you only have so many hours in the day, this diary will show you where you can make alterations and become more productive every day.
2. Schedule Appointments with Yourself
Time management is all about better learning how to prioritize blocks of time. Instead of adding to a growing to-do list and hoping you can accomplish everything on it, schedule blocks of time to get through your tasks. As you do this, prioritize the projects that are the most complex. By tackling these tasks first, you’ll have more time to get to the less intensive items on your list.
3. Make Time for Engagement
Learning how to be more productive is as much about making time to get work done as it is about setting time aside to engage with activities that make us more productive. Instead of viewing time spent in thought, conversation, or related activities as a waste of time, see these things as essential to your production process. Just as you should have your nose to the grindstone when working, you should have the same dedication to all the activities that help you produce your best results.
For example, a sales representative may be under the impression that their time is better spent on converting new clients, but this mindset may leave their current clients feeling neglected. Instead of risking an uptick in customer churn, this person should make time to engage with these clients. While this time spent maintaining a relationship with an existing client may not yield a new sale, it will encourage the client to stay on as a customer, ultimately reducing customer churn.
4. Schedule Interruptions
Try as you might, you can’t escape the fact that you will be distracted or interrupted at some point during the day. While you can create a tentative schedule that has you working tirelessly throughout the day, this isn’t realistic. Any schedule you create should make room for unexpected interruptions. This will ensure that you are still able to accomplish everything that you need to.
5. Plan Your Day in the Morning
Fail to plan, plan to fail. This saying bears repeating as it is the key to getting as much work done as possible. Regardless of what it is you do with your day, if you don’t have a clear plan for how you will accomplish what you need to, you’ll find that you spend more than a few hours being inefficient. As soon as you get up, spend the first half hour of your morning planning. Even if you deviate from your plan during the day, this initial planning time will help keep you focused as you get work done.
6. Define Your Success
Just as you should have a plan in mind when you begin the day, you should have a clear definition of what success looks like for you. Before every activity you start, figure out what it is you hope to achieve. Once the activity is complete, spend a few minutes determining how your performance can improve for future projects. This simple practice will help you make better use of your time as you work.
The more you learn about yourself and how you spend your time, the better you will become at time management. Apply these six time management strategies as you work and watch your productivity flourish.
Author Bio: Douglas Pitassi is a freelance writer and small business blogger.