Do you want to learn how to better manage your time?
Are you ready to make some improvements to your calendar or schedule?
Fortunately, anyone can learn how to better manage their time.
All it takes is willingness to change, taking responsibility for one’s actions, and having some practical time management tips in your back pocket.
In this post, I offer several tips that show you how to manage your time.
Follow any number of these tips, and you’ll be on your way to better managing your minutes and hours, day after day!
Use a calendar or planner.
Quick question: do you use a calendar or planner at home, work, or school? If you don’t, you really should!
A calendar or planner gives you a place to conveniently store all of your appointments, meetings, events, and activities. Once you place all of your commitments into one single location, you can easily tell where, and when, your schedule is booked.
And in case you’re wondering, it doesn’t matter if you use a paper planner or a digital calendar. What does matter is that the format is one you absolutely love to use, and that the format meets all of your scheduling needs.
Go ahead and choose a paper planner that you love to write in, or use an online or digital calendar that is easy and quick to update.
Schedule only one item in a time slot.
When it comes to using a calendar or planner, you should always follow the golden rule: only schedule one item into each time slot. Not two items, not three, just one. You can’t be in two places at once; so don’t even allow yourself to entertain the thought! This tip will be especially helpful for those who frequently double-book their your calendar.
Whenever you confirm a meeting, appointment, event, or other function, be sure to write it in your calendar or planner as soon as possible. Include both a start and end time for each calendar entry, so there’s no confusion as to how many minutes you’ve scheduled for a particular activity or task.
What if you happen to receive an invitation with no end time? Simply email, telephone, text, or message the meeting organizer to confirm the end time, and place it in your calendar.
Use a timekeeping device.
A key part in managing your time is being aware of the passage minutes and hours. You can’t successfully track your time if you don’t know what time it is! Make it a point to always keep a timekeeping device with you.
One of the easiest way to do this is to wear a standard wristwatch, or even a smartwatch. You can also check the time on your cellphone, smart phone, tablet, or computer at regular intervals.
But what if you have trouble keeping track of your time as you work, study, or relax? Set an alarm or timer for yourself before you get settled in. This way, you can attend to your work without worry or distractions.
Be sure to set your timer at least 15-20 before you need to start preparing for your next task or activity. Looking for a helpful list of timekeeping devices? Check out this post for a list of time management tools you can find right in your own home.
Give yourself ample time to travel from appointment to appointment.
Most people underestimate the time it takes to travel from appointment to appointment. It’s not uncommon to find out that that ten minute drive to the bank is really a twenty minute drive, or that five minute walk is really a seven minute walk.
If you regularly arrive late to meetings and appointments, you may want to consider scheduling travel time to your calendar. Doing so ensures you have sufficient time to travel to your present location to your destination.
If you’re uncertain as to how long it really takes you to travel from Point A to Point B, use an online travel app or planner like Google Maps, or simply time yourself during one of your daily excursions.
Make sure you add sufficient time between all of your appointments. In fact, once you start scheduling travel time between your appointments, you may realize you spend quite a lot of time in transit!
Learn how to say “no.”
If you want to manage your time like a pro, you absolutely need to learn how to say “no.” As we all know, there are only so many hours in a day. It’s completely unreasonable (let alone physically possible), to accept every single invitation you receive AND accomplish every goal you’ve set out for yourself. Saying “no” to incoming invitations, requests, offers, and queries allows you to protect your valuable time.
Now, this isn’t to say you should be rude when declining an invitation. All you have to do is thank the person for their invitation, and tell them you are unable to attend. That’s it.
What’s more, when you decline an invitation, you also have the option of providing a thoughtful solution. You just have to think one step ahead of the question or query being asked.
For example, how about offering the following to a meeting request, “No, I cannot meet with you this week, but let’s schedule a meeting sometime early next week,” or the following for a request of your personal time as in, “No, I cannot volunteer at the local animal shelter this year, but I am happy to make a recurring monthly donation to the shelter.”
How about you? What are some of your favorite methods for managing your time? Which of the above tips are you going to incorporate into your time management skillset? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!