What do the president of the United States, the richest man on earth and you have in common?
You all have the same amount of the most valuable currency in the world: 1440 minutes per day.
Learning to manage your time efficiently is one of the most valuable and sought-after skills one can possess. No matter how lazy or unorganized you might be at the moment, you too can learn proper time-management skill and make the most of your 24 hours by following these 8 steps:
Analyze The Way You Spend Your Time
Before learning how to manage your time efficiently, start by observing the way you spend your day. Take notes every night before going to sleep. Write down what you have achieved, when and how you wasted valuable time and how you could have worked more efficiently.
Do this for at least a week and you will start noticing a pattern, hence you will know exactly which areas require improvement.
If you keep on taking notes while working on these areas and compare them to your prior notations, you will start seeing great results which will also boost your confidence and keep you motivated along your journey to mastering efficient time-management.
Imagine working for 16 hours straight and still having to finish your most important tasks. Sounds stupid? Many people fall prey to this terrible mistake. Think back when you had to do your homework. Did you start working on the most important or the easiest task? Priorizing work is essential.
Before starting your day, segregate your tasks into at least two groups: What MUST be done by the end of the day and what you leave unfinished until tomorrow without feeling stressed or having to reorganize your entire schedule for the next day.
I used to disregard my mothers advice on being organized, but having your stuff in order will make your life a lot easier. If you ever spent 20 minutes looking for a file or folder you know exactly what I´m talking about. These short amounts of time can add up to entire wasted days in the long run.
Keep your desktop in order and clean up your desk to know exactly where to find everything and you will already have a significant edge over your old unorganized-self.
In order to assure maximal productivity while working on any given task, you have to learn to fully concentrate and cut out all distractions. Switch off your phone, lock your door or go to a library if needed.
Our brains are practically programmed to be distracted. You have access to everything with a click of a mouse. Anybody around the world can contact you at any given moment. You have developed a habit of being distracted easily. In order to achieve good time-management skills, you need to develop the habit of fully focusing on anything it is you´re doing.
Developing this new habit won´t happen overnight. Start out by fully focusing on a task during 10 minutes. Once you feel comfortable concentrating for 10 minutes straight, increase the time to 15-20 minutes.
It will take you some time until you manage to place your full attention on a single task for an hour or longer, but if you stick to it, you will have gained a very valuable skill. Learning to fully focus on the present moment will significantly enrich your life.
Who says you need to do everything yourself? Start outsourcing tasks that take up too much time of your schedule, nowadays you will find qualified people all over the world willing to work for you without having to spend huge amounts of money.
Think about all the unnecessary things you buy every day. Cigarettes, chewing gum, energy drinks. Do you really need a new pair of shoes? Wouldn´t buying yourself some time be a much wiser choice?
Saying “no” can be a hard thing to do, but if you´re serious about making the most of your time, it´s a must. Stop being a people-pleaser. If you want to get things done, you need to stick to your schedule even if it means upsetting some of your friends.
Either way, they will get over it. And if they don´t, you should probably reconsider who your real friends are.
Take Advantage Of Waiting Time
Stuck in traffic? Listen to an audio-book on time-management or another subject you wish to master. Answer e-mails on your phone while waiting for a dentist appointment.
We all spend a lot of time during our day doing nothing but waiting, try to find things to do during these moments so you can fully devote your time to the most important tasks once you get to work.
Know When To Take A Break
Remember the above advice on learning to say “no” more often? Well, now it´s time to say yes. Take a break and enjoy your free time. This doesn´t mean you should take the entire weekend off, forget about work completely and party non-stop.
Aim at working 5-6 hours on weekends so you still have enough time left to let go and enjoy the company of your friends and relatives. If you take your work too seriously and aren’t able to take a break from time to time, you will get burnt out sooner or later.
Mastering proper time-management might not happen overnight, but it´s in your best interest to spend your time wisely as nobody will give you a refund for your wasted minutes.
Make your days count!