Women In Business

6 easy ways to get your time management under control

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As hard as it may be to believe, everyone has the same 24 hours in a day – the same 1440 minutes, the same 86,400 seconds.  For the loafer it may seem like more. But for those of us who spend our days battling and juggling tasks to live up to everyone’s (including ours) expectations to be productive, it seems like we have been dealt an unfair hand in life with less hours than the average person.  Managing our time well sometimes seems like rocket science as the ‘perfect productive day’ seems to elude us every time.  The truth is, it’s really very simple.  All it takes is a little practice to develop some key habits that will make life easier.

1. Don’t take the almighty TO DO list lightly

Putting it all down on paper gives you the power to see and analyze all of your tasks.  Doing this allows you to see what is most important and what needs to be prioritized.  From your entire list, choose the top 4 to 5 tasks that are most important and set them in order of priority.  If you need to add more than 5 tasks, I suggest that you do not add more than 7 as you do not want to overwhelm your brain.  Be sure to check off each task from your list as you complete them.  This will give you a sense of accomplishment and reinforce the benefits of time management.

2. Learn to share… the workload

Delegating tasks will free you up to take care of the ones that only you can do.  There are some things that you may loathe doing that someone else might be great at.  Aside from that, some simple jobs like answering emails, fielding calls or even making copies can be transferred to others while you deal with the heavier stuff.  If you are a lone ranger eg. you work from a home-based business, you can easily reach out to online agencies such as elance.com where there are experts at anything  just waiting to assist you — and the great thing is, you can name your price.

3. Tackle large and most important jobs first

It’s a great idea to get the more daunting and important tasks cleared away first.  Large projects should be broken down into smaller tasks and prioritized.  Study the tasks and see what can be delegated.  With teamwork, the large project will be much easier to accomplish in record time.  When large and important jobs are completed, everything else on your TO DO lists seems easier and more attainable.

4. Turn off the distractions

Although smart-phones and modern gadgets were invented to make life easier, they can also become distractions, with incoming email and social media alerts sounding off every second, on the second.  It’s a good idea to turn notifications off while you’re working.  If you’re a social media junkie (like me), discipline yourself to check media feeds only while you’re on a break.  And while we are on the subject of taking a break, please be sure to take one from time to time.  Working non-stop only burns you out and leads to poor or mediocre results for your hard work.  You can also give yourself a time-frame for social media and shut it off after the time allotted.  Turning on your voicemail also helps to eliminate phone distractions if you have no one to field phone calls.  Also set aside a specific time to check and respond to emails.

5. Track your time

If you are still not sure where your time goes daily, it’s time for some tracking.  This may be the most important thing you do to take control of your time.  For a regular work week, record what you do every hour.  Everything must be written down from the time you get up until you go to bed.  After a week, study your time log and see where you have non-productive time.  It may be social media or even hanging out at the water cooler for an extra 10 minutes gossiping.  Whatever is eating up your productive time will show up on this log.  When you find the culprits, deal with them accordingly.

6. Learn to say no

Always remember that we are human beings and not superheroes.  As much as we want to give the impression that we can handle everything, we have our limits.  Taking on too much responsibility will only lead to frustration and burnout which won’t allow you to put out your best.  Be honest and upfront.  I have learned from experience that people prefer a job well done than half done.  Turning someone down will benefit you and also them — so don’t feel guilty if you have to say no.  A simple answer such as “I am really sorry but I am really booked up and it won’t be fair to you if I can’t deliver quality as a result of me biting off more than I can chew” will suffice.  

As Michael Altshuler so rightly puts it, “The bad news is, time flies.  The good news is, you’re the pilot”.

By developing good time management habits, we can be in control of the time machine.  Be sure to reward yourself everyday for completing your daily tasks.  You deserve it.

About Chrys-Ann Ambrose

Chrys-Ann Ambrose lives on the Caribbean island of Antigua, assists her husband with running several home-based businesses, and enjoys looking after her two daughters, writing and giving motivational talks to various educational institutions, organizations and individuals who need it. She has spent the last 8 years sharing positive information and teaching personal development techniques that she has learned from personal experiences and her mentors, and plans to launch her professional motivational speaking career in January 2016. Chrys-Ann's first book Operation: Game-Plan is scheduled to be released in December 2015.

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1 Comment

  1. Kennedyraw@gmail.com'

    Kennedy

    November 3, 2015 at 9:10 am

    This are great success principles to follow. It will help lots of people who understand that there are only 24 hours in a day.

    Great stuff!

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