By Deborah Ricketts
Time management is one of those commonly talked about skills that you either master well or feel like you’re constantly chasing a clock. Why is planning your time so important?
If you plan ahead with SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound), set time limits, incorporate personal planning, utilise efficiency tools and resources, time block and prioritise, you’re going to feel in control and work efficiently. It may sound a bit overwhelming, but forming habits and setting systems in place doesn’t have to be daunting!Here are some simple strategies you can implement to plan your day and save your sanity.
1. Use Time Management Tools
The first step to physically manage your time, is knowing where it’s currently being spent. Consider an app like Toggl to assist in tracking your time. Then plan how you’re going to spend your time more efficiently in the future.
Time management tools are wonderful resources. Whether it’s alarms and timers, software programs or phone apps. Find what works for you, while choosing systems that integrate well together. Have an Android phone? Consider using Gmail, and Google Home Mini. Your Google calendar, to-do list, and email are all accessible via PC, tablet and phone, you can also access the google home app and connect them all up.
Think of the possibilities… ask Google to add a task or meeting to your calendar, dictate an email while you’re making your lunch. Used the last slice of bread? Tell Google to add bread to your shopping list and share with your VIPs. It’s your personal secretary: set alarms, reminders of upcoming appointments, weather or traffic on your way to work. Schedule in break time too.
2. Advanced planning
Before your head hits the pillow, do yourself a kindness and plan out your next day. Your tomorrow’s self will thank you. Starting the day with an action plan will help you feel more in control, allowing you to tackle any bumps in the road as they arise. Prioritise your important and urgent tasks, then time block to efficiently make the most of your day!
Imagine for a moment you’re a mouse running in a wheel.Without a sense of purpose, you’re simply busy. Take a step back, look at the bigger picture. Plan ahead every Sunday fortnight. Ask yourself: What work goals do I want to achieve? What personal results do I want? By setting objectives and connecting yourself to more meaningful aspects of what you want to see different in your life, your perspective will change from ‘stressed’, to managed and ‘in control’. Confidently hop off the wheel and stroll ahead with clarity and purpose.
Then each night, re-prioritise as required, adjusting to suit the current climate. You can’t predict everything that will happen tomorrow, however with a fluid plan, and added fat, it’ll minimise decision fatigue.
3. Morning Routines
Plan to exercise in the morning, it will enable your body and brain to be actively engaged throughout the day. With the additional dopamine, you’ll be happier, think clearer, and any stress or anxious energy will dissolve.
The first few hours of the day are critical, it sets the tone for your whole day. So, this is the perfect time to take advantage of your hardest tasks. Or in Brian Tracy’s words “Eat the frog first”. High impact and high intensity tasks are always done best first thing. Then watch your mindset skyrocket as your productivity soars.
4. Switch off
In a hyper-connected world, it’s important to plan to switch off. 90% of illnesses are stress related. Use apps to help you switch off distractions, like Space (for Android) to switch off social media and apps on your phone or pc. Know when to call it quits for the day. Spend quality time with friends, family and your passions. A balanced life is a happy life.
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Deborah Ricketts from Versatile VA supports Australian small service-based businesses, withoutsourced marketing (writing and social media)support. (www.versatileva.com.au)
Want more? Click here for 5 Psychologically Proven Ways To Be More Productive At Home.