5 Quick Tips for Getting Your Time Under Control
Mastering time management can help you become better prepared, build better meetings, and become a better leader. If you don’t have your time management under control, you’re likely to face a ripple effect of day-to-day issues, but not all of us are born with an inner organizational clock. Not a Time Lord yet? No problem, we can’t all be Dr. Who. You can, however, change your life by learning how to manage your time effectively. Follow the tips below, and you’ll manage your team and your time like a pro.
Here are five tactics to improve your time management:
Set SMART Goals
If you want to organize your time, start by setting goals. If you already have and you’re still struggling to reach your goals, it’s likely you haven’t defined them enough. I’m partial to SMART Goals, which is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Setting SMART Goals is an in-depth process that doesn’t allow you to be vague, ultimately driving your success. Make sure you hit each letter, because each piece is important, and everything feeds into planning and organizing.
Plan and Organize
This is as straightforward as it sounds. At the beginning of every week, I make a list of my to-dos. Then I break that list down into another list of daily tasks and prioritize them. At the end of each day, I revisit my list and carry over any unfinished items to the next day. You can even plan and organize on a large scale for a full year, setting up monthly goals, recapping at the end of each month, and breaking out goals into weekly to-dos. 1UP: I like to use Tom’s Planner to keep me organized.
Time management is not just about doing what needs to get done. It’s about organizing your time correctly and doing the right things at the right time. That, in a nutshell, is prioritization. I personally prefer the ABC method of prioritization, which I break down further in my Preparation Makes Perfect post. Assign each of your tasks a letter based on its importance and attack your list accordingly.
Timeboxing is great if you don’t know how long something is going to take. It lets you carve out time during your day so you can accomplish a specific task without being disturbed. 1UP: Sometimes I box out a meeting for a little longer than I know it will take, so I can sneak in some other important tasks. If you schedule everything out without any wiggle room, you aren’t leaving any space for the surprises that come up.
Okay, this isn’t a specific process, but it’s just as important. Some people think they work better when they procrastinate, but it’s not true. Procrastination is simply fear in disguise. Think of what your idea could be if it wasn’t a shitty first draft. If you give yourself the time to receive and incorporate notes, you’re going to learn more and level up your game while you’re at it. So just start!
Using any of these tips will help you with time management, but if you’re already having trouble with time, attempting all of these at once may feel overwhelming. For now, choose one of these tips, and add as you go along. Accountability also helps with time management, so consider finding an accountability group, buddy, mentor or mastermind. I use Coaching for Geeks Turbo.
Have any time management tips of your own? Share them in the comments section below! Need a time management mentor? Contact me about one-on-one coaching today!