We’ve all been there; you’ve got nearly a dozen things to accomplish in a short period – so you get started on the first task. All of a sudden, you look down at the clock and something that should have taken you an hour, has taken nearly four to complete and you’re way behind schedule. What gives? Then you really need these 9 time management hacks.
It turns out, there’s more to time management than just getting things done. In order to be efficient, you need to plan for the unexpected and you need to ensure that you’re making the most of what time you do have. To help you improve your time management skills, here are nine hacks to improve your daily routines.
- Be realistic about times
There is nothing worse than feeling like you’re behind schedule, especially if it’s because you under-estimated how long something was going to take you. The sad fact is, issues come up that can’t be avoided – it’s about learning how to cope with them. Make sure you take a realistic approach to your tasks and add on a few extra minutes, in case of emergencies.
- Pre plan for the rest of your day
A little bit of planning can help prevent a lot of chaos throughout the day. Spend a few minutes while you enjoy your coffee in the morning to glance at your schedule. Make a note of anything you have going on that day and anything you’re going to need (change of clothes, planner, briefcase or finished report on your desk). By preplanning you’ll be more inclined to stay on top of the tasks, instead of forgetting a few major items that can spoil your day.
- Get enough sleep
When you have a lot going on, sleep seems to take the back burner – but it should actually be the other way around. By focusing on yourself first, you’ll have more energy and commitment to finishing items efficiently, instead of simply rushing to complete them. Ideally, you should aim for anywhere between six to eight hours. Use your body as a general guide. If you find yourself getting wiped out mid-afternoon and running to the nearest coffee shop – you could likely use some more shut eye during the evening.
- Eat properly throughout the day
Your body depends on nutrition to function properly – from your energy levels to your stamina in the bedroom. Take a few minutes each day to prepare your meals (or at least pack a few snacks) instead of hitting the fast food places on your travels. Your body, wallet and waistline will thank you for doing so.
- Learn how to delegate tasks properly
If you’re finding that you simply don’t have time to complete everything that needs to be done throughout the day, it’s time to find someone to help you out. If you’re self-employed, take a look at your books and see if you can hire an assistant (even if it’s part-time) to help you throughout the week. Assistants can do virtually everything from planning your weekend getaway to helping you organize your appointments more efficiently. If you’re not sure whether you need an assistant, ask yourself how often you’re having issues throughout the day. By freeing up a few hours, you’ll be more inclined to prioritize your items properly and less likely to let things slide that really should be taken care of immediately.
- Keep tabs on your tasks
One of the biggest mistakes that busy men make – is the inability to remember everything throughout the day. As a result, you’ve likely forgotten about a really important appointment or anniversary—simply because you didn’t have it written down. Grab a high-quality organizer and start by entering in all the important dates you need to have handy throughout the year. Make a note of anything that requires a gift or a phone call – because you’re probably going to forget that too. Finally, make sure that you bring the organizer with you on a daily basis. As you travel throughout the day, update the planner to reflect anything new or finished.
- Stop procrastinating
We all have things in life we don’t want to do – whether it’s a date with the in-laws or finally finishing off the report for our client, it’s never fun when you’re trying to get back to enjoying life. That’s why procrastinating can seriously impact your schedule. Instead of spending the hour on finishing the project, you’ll spend nearly three times as much when you put it off. That’s because your brain can’t forget about it and keeps reminding you throughout the week. The best rule of thumb: If you’ve already put it off once, make sure it’s done the next time it comes into your head.
- Don’t over plan your week
There’s a difference in being organized and being too anal about how things are progressing. If you find yourself having to constantly update your planner, it’s likely one of two reasons. You’re either really busy (which means you should possibly hire someone to help you) or you’ve become far too intense with recording and tracking everything you need to do. A good rule of thumb; if you need to purchase, prepare or plan for anything – write it in your planner. If you’re likely to remember to buy groceries every Friday evening – leave it out. This way, your mind can skim through the important things on the calendar, instead of trying to determine what items are most important.
- Learn to relax
Having a high-stress job isn’t easy on the most professional person – sometimes things don’t go our way and sometimes clients fall through the cracks. The most important thing to remember is that at the end of the day, you’re only human. Stop dwelling on things you can’t change and make a mental note on handling it better next time. If you find yourself continuing to stew on something negative, consider going for a jog or a roll in the hay to take your mind off of it.