If you never have enough minutes in the day to do everything you want, then you’re far from alone! When you have to-dos to check off, meetings to attend, and personal commitments to see to, you can feel as though you’re constantly chasing your tail. Good news! You can replace busy for productive and you can carry more than you currently imagine. It’s all possible when you discover how to manage time.
Truth is, time is not as limited as we think - even if it feels that way.
Each new day, you’re gifted 1,440 minutes.
It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, you get the same amount as everyone else. It’s what makes time the great equalizer… and our most precious, non-renewable resource. You can’t stop the passage of time -- there is no pause or rewind button! But you can allocate and use your time in a way that makes your minutes stretch further.
Here are five ways to do that.
1. Manage yourself - not your time
The problem with feeling overwhelmed is it makes it hard to get started. Take today for example. I have a number of chunky tasks on my to-do list. I’ve got a team call to attend later and I’m also taking 90 minutes out to watch my daughter’s school show.
When there’s so much on your plate, you can wonder where to start - and this decision becomes even harder when you’re handling tasks that will take a lot of you. If you’re not careful, you won’t start at all! Instead, you convince yourself that social media really is your top priority!
It’s easy to squander time through distractions, procrastination, and overwhelm. Therefore, if you want to manage your time you can’t focus on the minutes alone.
You also need to explore how you show up with your time.
For sure, we all have off days and play days. Life shouldn’t be all work, work, work! But when you do need to be ‘on it’, it’s key you can cultivate the discipline needed to sit tight and get stuff done in a realistic timeframe.
2. Prioritize your tasks
Not all tasks are created equally.
Take a look at your to-do list now… What’s on that list, which can wait? Is there anything you can delegate? Better still, what items can you eliminate altogether?
In addition, what’s not on the list that should be because you tell yourself there’s not time right now?
It’s tempting to try and do everything and take on more than we can realistically handle, but we all have our capacity. Time management isn’t about quantity.
It’s more about quality.
There will be some items on your to-do list that will move the needle proportionally further than anything else. Make it your mission to constantly identify those tasks - and get them done first. Remember, that task won’t always be a work-related item. It could be clocking off early to spend time with your kids or making self care time so you can show up as your best.
Focus on the significant stuff, and the smaller things often take care of themselves.
3. Use a timer to be mindful of your minutes
What can you realistically achieve in 30-minutes?
Often, we don’t get conscious of how much time individual tasks and activities need. It’s puts us on a collision course with Parkinson’s Law, which states that tasks will take as much time as you give them.
That’s why a 2-hour blog post can take all day or a ½ day presentation can keep you up all night.
How to manage time? Set time parameters for individual tasks.
Work out how long you think each task will take to complete and pencil that timescale in. It’s good to stretch yourself so don’t give yourself too much wriggle room. But be realistic. If you make it too hard, your productivity will plummet (because you’ll get overwhelmed), and that pushes everything else behind.
Then when you get to work, time yourself with a timer. This simple exercise helps you get more mindful of the passage of time. It will also increase your time awareness too as you tap in deeper to what you can realistically achieve in any given timeframe.
4. Set deadlines
It’s good to be spontaneous and to go with the flow, but without accountability those precious minutes can float away.
Deadlines help to keep you time focused - so less goes to waste. You can use deadlines to inspire you to figure out what you could do - and by when. With a finish line marked out, you have more incentive to keep going - regardless.
Deadlines also encourage you to be more productive. They create accountability to yourself (and to those you’ve made promises to). When you feel you have to deliver by a set date or time, you can draw upon your reserves to make it happen.
Too much stress can wreak havoc with your body. But a little bit of pressure can heighten your senses, draw out your best, and help you win the day.
5. Schedule your day
Have you noticed that scheduled appointments rarely get overlooked? It’s hard to ignore that commitment in your diary, right? More than that, you also plan your day around those commitments - to ensure you can be where you need to be on time.
Imagine what would happen if you applied this same principle to everything else on your to-do list.
Instead of leaving tasks and activities to chance, you scheduled out committed time in your planner to get stuff done.
Here’s a how to manage time example:
This is one of the most powerful time management processes I know. It’s a practice that protects you from Parkinson’s law as well as leveraging the power of deadlines. It also allows you to set up your day to hit your priorities first - so you’re always moving the needle. When you can see how your day works on paper, it’s easier to get cracking.
When your plan is out of your head and onto paper, you’re less likely to get distracted or procrastinate.
Wondering how to manage time with a planner?
We get it…
There’s a lot you want to do and a lot you have to do! When you’re juggling so much, it’s always easier to plan it all on paper. With a realistic day mapped out, the stress and overwhelm almost melt away.
It’s why you’ll love the SELF Journal.
Perfect for managing time, increasing productivity, and achieving goals.
It will also keep you clear headed too - and that can make all the difference with a life that’s as busy as yours. So grab one today. You won’t regret it for a second.