Time management is something we all think we’re great at until we realize our to-do lists are still full of tasks we haven’t gotten around to yet. There’s no way these tasks could take more than one day to tackle, you say to yourself. And yet, at the end of the day, you have to work long hours to finish everything on the list.
If this scenario sounds familiar, then maybe it’s time to rethink your time management strategy. Here are a few things you can try to become more effective.
You’ve noticed that you aren’t meeting your daily goals but do you know why? Have you ever put aside a few minutes to track what you’re doing? If not, it’s time to do it.
You tell yourself you’re only going to check Facebook a few minutes while you drink your coffee or have a quick chat with your friend to ask what she wanted to tell you and the next thing you know, one hour just passed.
No one intends to waste time but it happens, and more often than not, you don’t even realize it.
Take a few days to observe what you’re doing and how much time you’re spending on each thing. Track everything, from coffee, breaks to actual work tasks and write them down. After a few days, you’ll be able to figure out some patterns, and you will have a starting point for your updated time management strategy.
Take a look at the tools you’re using too. Is the equipment you’re using costing you time and frustration? Maybe you’ve ordered a new batch of fliers only to discover that the quality is awful because of the paper and now you have to redo the entire thing. If that’s the case, then you should consider switching to sustainable paper. At Double A, you can find paper responsibly sourced from the highest quality pulp available. So, you can rest assured that your prints will be excellent every time.
We know it’s a force of habit and a direct result of the fact that our attention span is decreasing more and more, but this is one habit you should try to get rid of as soon as possible. Contrary to popular beliefs, multitasking doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily productive.
If you catch yourself answering the phone, texting on your cell, and replying to emails at the same time, take a look at the results, too. You’ve probably asked the person on the phone to repeat the same things over and over, the message you’ve sent lacks some information, and the email is still in your Draft folder.
Instead of trying to kill several birds with one stone, focus on one at a time. It’s going to feel strange at first, especially when you’re going to refrain from answering your phone while you’re in the middle of doing another task. In the end, though, you’ll notice you are getting a lot more done.
Each day should start with a set of goals you have to achieve, but you shouldn’t forget about long-term objectives either. Maybe you have a bunch of emails to write on Monday, but if you have an important presentation by the end of the week, you should keep in mind that you have to work on that too.
Write your tasks down at the beginning of each day and ruthlessly prioritize them. How many of those tasks must be finished in that day? How many can wait until the next day?
Even if you don’t end up finishing everything you had in mind, you’ve, at least, tackled the most important projects
Regaining control over your time is possible, but it takes a lot of work. Paying attention to what’s essential and continuously striving to become more organized will, in the end, help you improve your time management skills and increase your productivity.