We all have difficulties from time to time staying focused on the task at hand and balancing our extremely busy lives. That is why it has become even more important to work on your time management skills, regardless of profession. Time management is no longer for the business executive, it is for all of us. Constantly, day in and day out, there are so many different tasks, conversations, projects and activities that are pulling us in every direction, and just like a budget telling your money where to go, improving time management lets yourself know where your day is going to be allocated.
Here are three quick tips to improve your time management skills.
- Use your “Thought Process.” We went over this in an earlier post, but at the beginning of the day, make sure you understand what the most important activities you have to accomplish that day are, and approximately how long they will take you. This will set the framework for keeping your time allocated properly. It is also easily done in the shower, brushing your teeth, or on your daily commute.
- Turn off all distractions. This may seem like a no brainer, but in the 21st century, there are about a million daily distractions. Stay focused on your task at hand by getting rid of all distractions. This may include turning off the TV, closing your web browser, logging out of Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, etc., or turning your phone to silent. Make sure that whatever task you need to focus on, is your primary focus.
- Create built in breaks. In day to day life, there are going to be time consuming tasks that take hours to do. I have a 500+ page book of accounts that I have to go through in order to make sure collections are on target, and it can take me 2-4 days to work through all of the accounts depending on the time of month, the amount of calls already placed, and what discussions need to be made. That is why I have made it important to take breaks throughout the task. Once I finish these 50 pages, I will take a break, get up, and walk to the water cooler. Then, I will go back to my desk after approximately 5 minutes, and get back to making calls. Taking a break allows you to refocus your energy, and work diligently on the task at hand until it is completed. However, do NOT cheat and take breaks every 15 minutes. Try and limit a break to once an hour or so.
Question: What do you do to manage your time effectively?