Having time management strategies that improve day-to-day productivity takes the time to develop. But I’ve got you covered with my top 3 easy time management tips to immediately improve productivity and leapfrog you to a productivity queen in a jiffy.
With meetings, chores, dinners, projects, working out, music recitals it can all get overwhelming. You may even feel like you are being pulled in a million different directions each day. I know I do.
Busy savvy career girls can easily get buried under their lists, app reminders and emails which make managing your time impossible!
When I was first starting my career as a marketing assistant, it was all very overwhelming.
My role was to support a large brand team with their day-to-day activities. You know, all the stuff everyone else doesn’t want to do; bind presentations, post out prizes, order stationary, print copies and set-up meeting rooms for team presentations.
I was so overwhelmed with people pulling me in all different directions; if I make copies for the Marketing Director will I still have time to set up the room for the Brand Managers meeting at 11am plus go to the coffee shop and get 10 skinny skim lattes?
I really needed to identify what needed to be done first so I could support the team.
Is there anything a career savvy woman can do? We all have the same 24 hours, how can we actually use them more effectively? And most importantly, how can we manage our time to live healthier and happier, do the things that are important, and still handle urgent responsibilities?
I’m struggling with that answer just like you are, but in my experience, there are 3 super easy time management tips that have worked for me that you can use today to be healthier and more productive.
Let’s get to it!
1 | DO THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FIRST
Firstly, write down absolutely EVERYTHING you have to do, from making a dentist appointment to booking the conference room for a 3pm meeting.
I mean everything so you know what has to be done in all areas of your life, fitness, chores, work, relationships etc. This will give a holistic view of what needs to be done in all areas of your life.
The first time I did this; it was pretty daunting. I filled four pages of an A4 notebook and each line had one task! If you prefer digital, try Wunderlist which can be used across platforms. Once an item is added in Wunderlist, I know it will get. Simple. Even if it’s just booking a haircut.
I found that once I had everything written down in a list and I could clearly identify what was most important, I could manage others expectations of what was possible and by when.
So, from this list, identify the most important tasks that must be done today and highlight them or star them in Wunderlist.
2 | SCHEDULE IT!
At the end of the day when I know that everything is in my diary or to-do list; I sleep and I don’t constantly worry.
When I didn’t have a clear vision of my week and relied on my memory to remember hundreds of tasks, I often laid awake at nights stressing over what had to be done the next day. This kept me awake for hours at night and I would go to work the next day irritable as I was sleep deprived. If this is you, put a notebook next to your bed, write down what is keeping you awake then roll over and get some shut-eye.
Take out your diary and add all your regular tasks into your diary, grocery shopping, dinner with Dad on Thursdays, gym etc. Your week should be starting to take shape now.
We are now going to block out time to get those tasks done.
Allocate time in your diary to complete each of these items in order of priority plus add an extra 30 minutes. During the week unexpected things pop up, like being asked to attend a last-minute meeting or check over a project for a colleague. It happens. I keep Fridays free from meetings so I have time to get back to anything that wasn’t completed during the week.
I find that if I write my tasks down and schedule them into my diary, I’m far less stressed because nothing will be forgotten. When I’m done with one task, I can move right onto the next without reorganizing the list in my brain.
3 | REDUCE THE CLUTTER
Clutter can really influence the way you work.
If you’re too disorganized, everything competes for your attention; papers on your desk, inbox overflowing, notifications on your phone going every few seconds. It makes it hard to work and it also influences the perception others have of your professionalism.
Just looking at an organised workspace makes me feel calm as everything has a place and is organised.
At the end of each day look over your diary and to-do list. Is there anything on there that isn’t completely essential to do? Do you really have to do that item? If not, delete it. Then take 15 minutes to reduce the clutter and organise your desk by:
- Empty your in-tray
- File emails and clear your inbox
- Schedule any new tasks into your diary, if your week is full add it to your to-do list
- Recycle any boxes under your desk
- Take your dishes to the kitchen
These simple tasks let me walk out the door on time knowing that I’ve got everything under control and I can enjoy my personal time and not stress about if I have forgotten something.
IMPORTANT: What time management skills do you use to get through a busy day? Let me know in the comments below, I love hearing from you!