Here are 3 tips to master time management that I have used throughout the last 5 years to revolutionize my life:
know your strengths
1. when are you most productive
I personally have not met someone that can be productive at any time of the day. If this sounds like you, please let me know because I want to meet you! But you’re old enough now that you have figured out whether you work best in the mornings, at night, or maybe after a cup of coffee. Use this to your advantage! Personally, I am a morning person so I wake up before 7am every morning so I have 2 hours to work before heading to school (or right now–my clinical).
I plan to do the hardest task of the day during that time frame because I know I have the most energy & have the highest chance of actually checking it off my list. This typically is taken up by editing because it is the biggest and most daunting task on my list. After attending classes or working a full 8 hour day, I know my tank will be empty & I will have no energy left. Therefore, plan to do your biggest task when you know you have the most energy to do so.
2. tasks vs. treasures
Tasks vs treasures is one of the key ways I believe I accomplish so much in one day! Tasks are those items that make up your never ending to do list. Treasures are small little things you like to do with your time because they make you happy.
I never attempt to cross off all my tasks at once! If I did that, I would be in the worst mood & lose my motivation instantly. Instead I like to mix a treasure or two into my never ending list of tasks. For example, I will edit an entire session and browse Instagram for 10 minutes before responding to my inbox full of emails. I use my treasures as a reset button; without them I would quickly drain tank without a chance of recovering.
3. prioritize your life
You have one life to live, and it’s important to live as such. You’ve probably heard this a million times before, but really let it sink it. Life is precious and more time is never guaranteed. I’m not saying to avoid all responsibilities and live like there is no tomorrow, but I’m trying to emphasize the importance of living a little each day. If you have the opportunity to check a few small tasks off the list or attend your child’s soccer game, I really hope you choose to spend time with your kids.
The same theory applies with friends! You might have decided Saturday night you were going to knock out a bunch of tasks you have put off until your college friends are unexpectedly in town and ask to catch up over dinner and drinks. Human connections and experiences should be integrated into your every day routine, and should trump your “tasks” every now and then.
Now that you have your tasks and treasures figured out, it’s important to prioritize that list. Some of those tasks need to be completed, but other’s can be pushed off for a later date. Now when a spontaneous moment pops up, you have the freedom to put off your list to enjoy living in the moment because you know you have flexibility with your priorities.
be intentional with your time
1. multi-tasking can save your life
Muti-tasking is a crucial part of time management, but it needs to be used strategically. It’s important to recognize time draining activities that are part of your daily life. Those become the perfect candidate for multi-tasking opportunities. A few time draining activities could be, while you’re eating or preparing meals, while you’re driving (hear me out), or any short frame of time while you’re waiting. Most people are afraid to be productive during short amounts of time because they are unsure anything can be accomplished. But if you have 5 minutes here, 20 minutes there, and maybe another 10 at the end of the day…that’s easily 35 minutes you let slip away because it isn’t “enough time”.
I am always working while I eat a meal. My main focus is the meal so I am working at a slower pace, but I’m still accomplishing part of a task. You don’t have to finish a task for that short bit of time to have been productive. Since I spend over 12 hours a week driving, I have learned how to make that time useful. I always listen to my church service while I drive instead of setting aside an extra hour or so on Sunday. Not only does it save me precious time on the weekend, but it puts me a great mood while I’m driving and impacts my day in a positive way.
I also use the “hey siri, take this note for me” feature far too often. I use this to draft emails or blog posts, because these are things that can be done while I drive and easy changed or sent later when I’m sitting down. Since I am in Physical Therapy school, I have also recorded myself saying information that I need to memorize or learn and listen to that while I drive. I get some practice in while I record those voice memos and I get passive practice while listening to it in the car. Win, win!
This item is extremely personal to your life, but it can be life changing. I’m sure you’re starting to think of all the little opportunities you have to work towards your tasks if you wanted to. Start being intentional with your time. Tell it where you want it to go and how you want to spend it starting with knocking out small parts of a task during those time draining activities.
stop spending your time like you spend your money
1. You can always make more money, but you can never make more time
Let me say that again. You can always make more money, but you can never make more time. Bills might be tight or maybe you want to save a little extra money for a fun vacation — there is always the option to pick up a second job or sell unnecessary items. What happens when you need five extra minutes in the morning to get ready or you want an extra time hour with friends on the weekends? I hate to break it to you, but the only way to find more time is to decrease the time you’re already spending.
Most people read that and instantly think, “looks like I’ll be loosing even more sleep”. No! Whatever you do you keep your sleep! Sleep keeps you healthy and refuels your body so you can do all these amazing things during the day. The more you cut down on sleep, the less likely you are to be productive the next day. Isn’t that the opposite of what we are learning here? I’m going to tell you exactly where you can find “hidden” time.
The in between moments where you likely turn to social media. I’m sure you’ve sat down to “take a 5 minute break” and opened TikTok. Next thing you know over an hour has gone by. Your time is the most valuable asset you have; do you want to spend it without considering what you are spending it on? Stop spending 5, 10, or 20 minutes browsing social media at lunch. Instead find one of your shorter tasks that isn’t extremely daunting. Start there. It might take you slightly longer, but you did it. You accomplished another task.
I’m sure it will make you feel great & now you’re motivated to keep crossing off bigger and bigger tasks. I’ve found myself spending my time like I spend my money, just wasting it away on social media. The only difference is I can double book a weekend to make up for extra money. I can never get the time back that I wasted on social media. I’m not telling you to give up social media by any means!! I set a 5 minute timer on my phone because it is a treasure for me, but I don’t want to get carried away. This is a huge time management skill I started implimenting. Stop spending your time like you can get it back & I promise you’ll find extra hours in the day.
- 6:30am: Wake up
- 6:45 – 8:00am: Edit photos/respond to emails/eat breakfast
- 8:00 – 8:40am: Get diet coke, “treasures” time
- 8:40 – 9:00am: Drive to work
- 9:00am – 5:00pm: Work
- 5:00 – 5:20pm: Drive home
- 5:20pm – 6:00pm: Edit photos/eat dinner
- 6:00 – 7:30pm: Drive to park & walk 4 miles
- 7:30 – 7:45pm: Shower
- 7:45 – 10:30pm: Edit photos/Write blog posts/Business ed
- 10:30 – 11:00pm: Gratitude journal/Watch 1 episode on Netflix
- 11pm: Bed time!
My schedule is not revolutionary by any means, but I have every minute of my day accounted for. By setting aside specific time to browse social media or watch Netflix, I’m not constantly getting distracted or going to do that when I should be working! It all comes down to being intentional with your time & looking at the bigger picture. I know if I work harder during the week, I have more free time to spend on weekends or when events pop up! Time management can be easy will a little practice and determination!
If you made it to the end, congratulations! Hopefully you have learned a few tips and tricks to help you with time management & taking control of your life! If this helped you in anyway, I would love to hear about it! Also, if you have any time management tips of your own, send them my way! I’m always open to learning & improving my time management skills!
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