Do you ever feel like there is just not enough time in the day to get everything done? We live in a busy world and so many of us have commitments that we just never seem to have enough time to complete.
It is easy to commit yourself to so many different things, that take you in so many different directions, and it can quickly become overwhelming.
I used to feel the exact same way. By nature I am a people pleaser, so I have a hard time saying no to requests from others.
I would find myself saying yes to things that I knew I didn’t have time to complete. It wasn’t until I started learning how to say “no” to unimportant requests that I was able to free up a little bit of time.
But even if we are good at saying no to unimportant tasks, and only focusing on the most important tasks, we can still find ourselves feeling overwhelmed and over scheduled.
The key to getting more done in your day seems like it would be having more time. Not only is that not possible, we all have 168 hours in a week, but it is not what we truly need.
If we truly needed more time, how can you explain why some people seem to achieve so much more with the same amount of time that we have?
You don’t need more time, you need to use the time that you have in a more effective way.
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Which is great news! If the solution to our problem was finding more time, there would be nothing that you could humanly do to achieve that goal. But, since the solution is using your time better, the solution to the problem lies within our control.
So what is the key to managing our time better? What steps can we take to use the time that we have in the most effective way?
3 Steps to Better Time Management
- Start creating time blocks. Do you have a plan for your day? If not, why not? One of the most important things you can do to increase your productivity is to time block your day. At the beginning of the day, or preferably the night before, sit down and schedule your day into blocks of time. Dedicate specific times in the day to do specific tasks. Time blocking is how you effectively implement batching. But having a time block set for a batch of a specific task, and then focusing only on that task during that time, you will be able achieve far more in far less time. For example, email is something that many people spend 5-10 minutes, or more, checking at multiple different points during the day. If you set up a email time block, and batched all email during that time block, you would be able to respond to, and deal with, all your email in far less time than if you are checking it multiple times per day. Depending on your work you may need to set a few email time blocks, maybe one before lunch and one before the end of the day, but try to create as few as possible.
- Implement batching. This is one of the quickest ways to increase your productivity and use your time more effectively. Batching is the idea of doing similar tasks all at one time. Do you have repetitive tasks that you do throughout your day? If so, it may be possible to batch them and do them at the same time. Rather than doing the same thing 10 times throughout the day and it taking five minutes each time, you may be able to do all 10 at one point in the day, and do it in far less time. Email, returning phone calls, and scheduling appointments are all tasks that can be batched. These are some of the tasks the take up large amounts of time in our day without us even realizing it. Attending meetings can also be batched if you have any control over the time meetings are scheduled at. The idea with batching is to give yourself large chunks of time to complete your most important tasks without them being interrupted by smaller, more menial, tasks.
- Focus on the task at hand. We are all guilty of being bad at this at times. It is so easy to let ourselves become distracted when we are working on a task. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, emails, text messages, phone calls, or even a coworker stopping by to chat, it is extremely easy to let outside influences interrupt us during times that we should be focused on the task at hand. If you find yourself becoming easily distracted by technology, find ways to avoid it. Turn it off, or use tools such as Self Control for Mac to help you from being distracted by it. If you find that you’re being distracted by coworkers, you may need to have a conversation with them about setting better times to chat.
It really can be that simple. Focusing on these three steps, and being intentional about the activities you’re engaging in throughout the day will allow you to make far better use of your time.
You control your schedule, not anyone else. It’s time to start believing that. Set some time blocks today, figure out what things can be batched, and then focus on the task at hand during your time blocks.
Doing so will make it feel like you have gained hours in your week. This is the secret of how highly productive people achieve so much!
Question: Do you currently use time blocking or batching? Join in on the conversation on Facebook or Twitter!