Have you ever found yourself wishing that there were more hours in your day? People’s lives are so filled up with work, family, and appointments that they often can’t seem to fit in everything that is “needs” to accomplish into a 24-hour day. But what if you could accomplish more stuff in less time? If this were actually possible, it would allow you more time with those you care the most about and more time to focus on yourself, as well. The good news is that there are some simple strategies you can use to make the most of every day.
1. Make a list. Write out everything that you think you need to accomplish, and then joyfully cross off each task as you complete it. As you see your list start dwindling, this will provide some additional motivation to help you get the rest of the list done, too.
Put your list wherever works best for you- on the refrigerator, in your daily planner, or on the computer. Keep it somewhere handy so that you can look at it often and stay focused.
2. Prioritize ruthlessly. Determine which tasks are most important and which can probably wait until later on in the day, week, month, or year. If this is something that you struggle with, you can try to squeezing in some of the tasks that can actually be put on hold for a future time. But you must be careful here. To make this work, you must make deadlines for your tasks. For instance, if your in-laws are coming to visit you, then cleaning the guest bathroom would take some priority over re-organizing the basement. Unless of course you are planning on hiding from the during the visit in it.
3. Side-step procrastinating. Far too many people put things off to the last possible moment. When this happens, you find yourself frantically rushing around to accomplish everything, but you end up doing a crappy job and get you get yourself all worked up for no, or intelligent, good reason. There really is a better way!
Know yourself. Know your peak working and creative times of day. Use your morning hours wisely and get tasks started early in the day. This increases the chances that you will finish them in one day rather than dragging them into a second day because you ran out of time to get things done properly. For some people, this may mean that you have to wake up an hour or two earlier instead of sleeping in an hour or two later.
4. Get the unpleasant stuff done first. A great time management tip is to get the things that you dislike the most out of the way first. If you keep putting these things off, you will make a valiant attempt to squeeze it in somewhere else, and you will end up feeling overwhelmed, or short of time.
Always schedule something fun after you finish your to-do list. This will increase your motivation to complete the list quicker.
5. Group your tasks, if possible. If you are capable of accomplishing two things at once, then by all means do it. If you can, for example, put dinner on the stove while making a doctor’s appointment or wait for a load of laundry to finish while you mend a pair of pants, you can cut your time in half.
But be forewarned. Most people cannot multi-task well! Do not make the mistake of sacrificing the quality of the tasks you are trying to perform for the sake of a few extra minutes. If you burn dinner because you were looking at the calendar to make an appointment, this only wastes more of your time in the long run.
There will always be days when it seems as though you just don’t have enough of the precious gift of time. Thankfully, you can do something to improve your work flow so that you are able to accomplish more in any given day. Improving these skills will help reduce your stress level and give you more time to do the things that make you happy, leading to a more peaceful and fulfilling life.