Time management can be challenging sometimes. If you are a natural procrastinator, like I am, it is even more important to learn and to practise good time management skills. Doing so can help you to minimize your stress level. Today, I will share some tips that should hopefully help you to prioritize your tasks and manage your time as best as you can.
- Assess what you need to do and break it down into simple tasks, then categorize the tasks based on importance and urgency. You can do this by creating a matrix with four quadrants – important, not important, urgent, not urgent. Next, determine where each task fits in the matrix.
- Try to estimate how long each task will take. Set an agenda for yourself and ensure that you give yourself enough time to do each task. Be sure to include some extra time, just in case a task takes longer than you originally expected. Also, don’t overschedule yourself.
- Prioritize the tasks based on the ideas discussed in point #1 but be flexible enough to shift those priorities if things change. Sometimes emergencies occur and they require a complete shift in your plans. Most importantly, give yourself some grace if you don’t complete all the things that you had planned.
- We live in a highly connected world and all this connectivity can be a big distraction. So, if you need to go into “hibernation” in order to do what you need to do, that’s ok. Turn off the notifications and focus on what you have on your plate.
- Allow yourself some down time also. If you need to take beaks, do it. Nobody can work continuously without eventually having diminishing returns.
- Don’t allow tasks to pile up because of procrastination. When you constantly put things off for later, eventually “later” becomes “now” and before you know it, you are overwhelmed. It is much better to resolve things as they arise (if possible). This way things don’t become compounded.
- Delegate when you can. There is no law that says you have to do it all. If there is someone else who can and is willing to assist you, let them. There are no such things as superheroes, so don’t try to be one.
- This is my biggest rule of thumb. If you have multiple tasks that are similar in priority and need to be completed around the same time, start with the most difficult/unpleasant one. This way, you get the one you dread the most out of the way first and as you continue to progress the tasks become more pleasant/easier. So, as you go along, you will be doing things you find easier/don’t mind doing and you will be less likely to put them off for another time.
These are some of the things I do to manage my time, hopefully you will find some of these tips helpful.