It was only January 4th and already, my day had quickly turned around. My well-planned-out list of to-dos was hijacked by a siege of frustrating phone calls, calls that dropped or “failed” after 50 minutes of repetitious explanations, to start all over again, three times, with a new person tracking the details! Unnecessarily prolonged chunks of time, inexperienced customer service, and nonsensical pieces of information challenged my patient persona.
It was getting to the point of nightmarish dizziness.
Professional Organizers aren’t immune to the stuff that might spin your otherwise pleasant day, out of control. Notice, I say “might”.The difference is, we’ve armed ourselves with knowledge on how to redirect a ridiculously whirling day and emerge triumphantly. Click To Tweet
YOU can too.
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Why Learn Time Management Skills in 2021
Our time is finite yet our tasks are infinite. For this reason alone, it’s important to maximize our productivity. Time management skills empower us to “work smarter, not harder”. It doesn’t matter how organized we are or how advanced our technology becomes, we only have 24 hours in a day. So, it’s the people who know how to effectively use that time who get the most value out of it. The truth is, we can’t manage time but we can manage ourselves – our habits, behaviors, and actions. This forms the basis of all time management skills.
Here are some valuable time management skills to cultivate in 2021:
Uncover How You Allocate Your Time
How you allocate the time you have is similar to managing your budget – you need to know where you spend your time in order to effectively use it. To do this, set aside a week for tracking your time. Note down how much time you spend on every activity throughout the week. Include random activities such as unplanned phone calls, like the one I recently had, so that you can factor in time for the unexpected. Also, note distractions, interruptions, and who is distracting and interrupting whom? You may be surprised. We can be the culprits of our own poor habits that steal the precious time we have to get things done.
At the end of the week, review your log and determine how much time is spent on high-priority activities (looking for employment, creating a home office, etc.) and how much is spent on time-wasters (social media/TV, etc.). This awareness of how you spend your time will give you insights into how you can use it more wisely.
Prepare & Schedule
You can’t use your time efficiently without some amount of preparation. Take some time out at the end of each day to plan out and schedule all your tasks for the next day in your diary or planner. Make sure to leave space between activities so you have time to deal with the unexpected – you can’t plan for everything. Reschedule unfinished tasks and mark down the tasks to prioritize. Give each task on your to-do list a scheduled time-frame based on how long you expect it to take.
By setting your goals and intentions for the following day, your subconscious has time to process them as you sleep and you’re likely to wake up feeling motivated and inspired to follow through. Besides, knowing that you’re prepared for the following day will also help you sleep better at night.
Get an Early Start
Add hours to your day and watch your productivity soar by getting an early start. Most successful and organized people know the value of rising early. By going to bed at a reasonable hour and rising early, you can ensure a good start to the day. You can make your day even more productive and manage your time even better by cultivating a happy and mindful morning routine for you and your family that fits your lifestyle. When you don’t have to rush in the morning, but have adequate time to start your day off mindfully, things tend to go much smoother throughout the day.
Time Management Requires Organizational Skills
Time management skills are developed from organizational skills. You need organizational systems in place in order to manage your time effectively. Wasting time looking for missing items may seem insignificant but it definitely adds up if it happens regularly throughout your day or week. By creating and maintaining organizational systems, you work smarter, avoid frustration, and give yourself enough time to get things done. Check out these two guides on how to get organized in 2021 with tips from the best Organizing Professionals around the country.
Identify Your Productive Hours
Some people work best in the mornings, others in the afternoons, and some even work best late at night. The time that you’re most productive is dependent on your internal body clock, so it’s different for everyone. This is the time where you are most alert and productive. Listening to your body and identifying your most productive hours is the key to getting things done.
You may not be able to do everything during this time, but make sure to schedule your most important tasks for this time of the day (or night). Adjusting your to-do list and schedule according to your most productive time may take some work, but it’s one of the best time management skills and it’s available to everyone.
Delegate or Outsource
You may be superwoman to your family, but you can’t do everything. And, you shouldn’t be doing everything. Knowing when it’s time to outsource or delegate tasks is an important step in managing your time. Even the organizing experts know that there just isn’t enough time in the day to complete everything.
Go through your daily tasks or activities and determine which you can delegate or outsource to someone else. To decide on this, determine which tasks fall within your zone of genius (the tasks you do best and enjoy doing). Any tasks that don’t make the cut are ones that can be done by other people. You don’t need to do this all at once. Start with the task that is most time-consuming or that you really don’t enjoy and proceed from there.
Give Yourself a Break
We may be one week into a new year but that doesn’t mean the global situation has changed much. The pandemic isn’t over and the political tension hasn’t ceased. Be gentle with yourself and others and give yourself a break if you don’t develop effective time management skills right away. Focus on self-care, not just productivity, and don’t be afraid to say “no” if you feel overwhelmed. You can’t create efficient time management skills when you’re overloaded or feeling burnt out. Prioritize yourself too and not just your tasks.
A bad day can happen to anyone – even the organizing experts. Difficult events or circumstances seem to arrive out of the blue, ruining a perfectly good day. By working on our time management skills we can feel better equipped to handle the unexpected.
To get the most mileage from your time, make a list of what you want to accomplish in the next 3 months. Prioritize that list. Now, focus on the top three goals or projects and leave the rest. That’s using your time wisely.
Use this guide to your advantage to learn some easy time management skills that will help you better deal with whatever comes your way this year.
How has your 2021 been so far?
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