Have you ever wanted to have thirty-six hours a day because twenty-four is not enough? The deadlines for given tasks and projects seem too close that you cannot finish on time. The worse, unbalanced lifestyle enhances stress that makes you unhappy and miss the beauty of your life. However, you’re not the only person with twenty-four hours a day, the busiest people with the busiest schedules on this planet have same exact amount of time. They’re good at time management because they know how good time management makes their life better.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you finish your project or task before given time, so you can take a rest or grab a cup of coffee? When you manage your time wisely, you’ll have more leisure time for yourself. More than that, you’ll not be over stressed again because you know exactly what comes next (for the most of time). The best part is, you’ll have better work and life balance which will give enough time for you to spend with your loved ones or practice a hobby.
If I’ve got you convinced, let’s take a look at how to effectively manage our valuable time with these four proven techniques.
The first and the most effective technique is to plan your day in advance. Think about what you’re going to do tomorrow from today and write it down. Of course there’re several methods that you can plan your day. For example, journaling; many successful people keep a journal, journals are already made for planning purposes, so it’s easy to plan your day with a journal. As a matter of fact, after I started to journal, my life has changed a lot. For me, journaling does more than planning the ‘tomorrow’ because it helps me to track the whole year. That means, journaling will give you the most accurate analysis of the year and you’ll be able to see your development, also correct your mistakes for the next year.
Another way to plan your day ahead is to have a to-do list. It’s simple, easy and makeable in no time, simply you write what to do for the day. To-do lists can be in your journal as you wish. To effectively make a to-do list, you should put your tasks in time-blocks. Think about any task that you need to do; writing an essay, hitting the gym or preparing for finals. Whatsoever your task is, put specific time periods for specific tasks. For example, study for an hour, by doing this you force yourself to finish your study in an hour, as a result, you avoid distractions.
But wait, how do you guess an estimated time for particular task or activity? If you’re unsure about how much time you should set for a task, then you simply test it. Set your stopwatch (you’ve it in your phone if not on internet) and stop it when you get it done, now you know for how long that specific task lasts. While doing that, you must avoid any distractions like social media or phone calls, remember, you’ve got limited time to finish your task.
Second, since time management is all about having the best out of your time, prioritizing is the key. “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first”, said Mark Twain. Do your most important tasks first, which is generally in the morning. After you’re done with it, do less pertinent tasks. By doing this your workflow gets more organized and helps you to be more sufficient.
Third, take your time, take regular breaks. Without enough rest, you cannot be productive. You can arrange your breaks with Pomodoro technique which was developed by Francesco Cirillo. Basically, you work for twenty-five-minute block and have a break of five minutes. However, I modified this technique for myself and you can do the same because this’s like a template that you can use.
You can use this amazing template in two ways, here is what I did, first, I changed the time blocks, for me it is forty-five-minute work and five minutes of rest. On the other hand, when I write, I make the outline first, after I’m done with the outline, I take a rest of ten minutes, then I start writing. As you can see, you can change the time blocks or you can adapt it to yourself as task based breaks. Because in particular tasks, for me it’s writing, you get really focused and you’re in the flow, so you don’t want to stop. After completing four cycles like these, take a longer break of twenty minutes. Again, use it as however it suits you.
The last one, have a morning routine and wake up early. How do you start your day? Do you check your smart phone and go through social media or make your bed? If you’re on your phone, then you’re wasting your time. Here is what happens, I tracked how much time I spend on social media in mornings and it was approximately thirty minutes. Instead of spending thirty minutes on social media, I started to use that time for myself, the improvement was incredible. If you don’t believe me try yourself!