Even people with the best of intentions can sometimes struggle with time management. Maybe you frequently show up late when meeting up with friends, or you happen to arrive at the office 5 minutes late to an important meeting. Traffic can hinder your plans, but making a habit of being late usually reflects poorly on the person who continuously saunters in late. Here are a few tips to help get you back on track.
1. Turn off social media notifications
This was never a problem 20 years ago, but now social media has created a lot of time management issues for people in today’s workforce. Since most people have smart phones, they are constantly bombarded by notifications from social media apps encouraging them to login to find out who liked their post or photo, or to answer a direct message. Humans are social creatures by nature, so ignoring those notifications takes a lot of willpower. Do yourself a favor and turn those notifications off, at least until you are done with work for the day.
When most people wake up in the morning, the first thing they do is reach for their phone to turn off their alarm. Then they start reading news alerts and browsing their Facebook or Twitter newsfeed. They may not have even gotten out of bed yet to shower. Soon five minutes of browsing turns into 20 minutes of “likes” and “retweets.” Already this can hinder your schedule and make you late to work. Before you go to bed at night, put your phone on airplane mode. This way your alarm will still wake you up, but your social media alerts will stay silent.
2. Examine your distracting habits
Everyone has bad habits, even highly motivated and successful people. Whether it is playing games, partying with friends, checking your social media, or watching a whole season of a scandalous Netflix series in one night, we are limiting the time we do have to get important stuff done to cater to our vices. Sit down and reflect on where you can eliminate those poor habits. Moderation is key. If you want to go out with friends every day, consider moving those meetups to just weekends. If you need your social media fix, set 30 minutes aside after work to catch up on current events.
3. Take email breaks
Check your email first thing when you get in to the office, but then turn it off for a set time period. This will allow you to focus on a few tasks at a time. People are easily distracted by notifications much like with social media alerts. Every time a new email pops up, you may feel the need to check it and respond. If this happens too often then you may never finish the tasks you originally set out to do. When you get some downtime open your email back up so you can see your next set of tasks. Tackling emails a few at a time will make your day smoother and allow you to finish more tasks. If someone needs to really get a hold of you they will call or walk over to your desk.
4. Recharge with breaks throughout the day
Take frequent breaks even when you have deadlines. Your brain can only operate so well without a break. Even college students who study are often advised to walk away and take a break from a study session after 40 minutes because their minds starts daydreaming. Coming back to work with a rejuvenated mindset will allow you to process ideas better and contribute in a more valuable manner. Also, eat a snack, running on empty will not help you and you will burn yourself out in the long run.
5. Record your week
Keep a notepad handy and jot down everything you do for a week and be honest. What have you been doing? Are you spending a lot of time at the gym? Are you wasting hours on social media? Is your commute to and from work taking up multiple hours in the day. Decide how much time you were productive and how much time you wasted. This can be a real eye-opener if you are honest with yourself. Sometimes we need to see the truth in order to find the motivation to change.
6. Make a list to get some sleep
Many people suffer from insomnia. They have too much stuff to do and they spend hours thinking about it at night when they should be sleeping. As a result, they are too tired when their alarm goes off and they end up hitting snooze multiple times. They are now late for work and this cycle repeats itself each day due to their lack of sleep. Each evening, make a list before going to sleep of everything you need to get done. This will allow your mind to work out the details while also recording the tasks so you don’t worry about forgetting to do something important. Cross off items on your list as you accomplish them to reduce your anxiety. This will help eliminate your insomnia so you can train your body to fall asleep sooner and get a better night’s rest.
There are all kinds of items to help you manage your time better: alarms, calendars, apps, etc. However, it is ultimately up to you to take control of your situation and find the motivation to manage your time more effectively. If you adhere to some of these tips, you may already be set up for success.