Why do some individuals seem to finish so much in their day while others struggle to get things done? Some people have better time management skills than others. There are some simple time management strategies that can help optimize your day. Implementing some time management tips can help make your day a little easier and create efficiency in your life.
If you are balancing the job of being a parent, spouse, employee, or caring for a loved one, you may find that you are struggling to to get things done.
Fortunately, with a bit of knowledge and inspiration, you can put in place some simple time management tips to boost your productivity and take control of your time!
With only 24 hours in a day and about one-third of those hours being given to sleep, this leaves 16 hours to accomplish everything on your to-do list and still have time for you.
What is Time Management?
Time management is organizing your time and planning how to prioritize and divide your time between specific activities.
Time management enables you to work smarter, not harder, and get more done during the day.
Spending your time in a frenzy of tasks usually results in less done because you’re not focusing on the most important things.
When you organize your priorities and plan how much time you will spend on each activity, you will see the benefits of good time management.
Benefits of Good Time Management Strategies
Good time management strategies can benefit us by:
- Increasing our productivity and efficiency
- Decreasing our stress
- Decreasing missed deadlines
- Improving our quality of work
- Improve our professional reputation
A good start is by taking a time audit of your day – learning how you move through the typical 24-hour period – and make changes from there.
The Power Of A Time Audit
The first step to taking back control of your day is to complete a time audit.
A time audit is simply a method of tracking everything you do in a single day in detail. A successful time audit will allow you to look back over your day and see how you are spending your time.
The time audit has the power to help you realize how you are spending your time and where you could be investing it better.
For example, you may think that you are spending the entire morning trying to knock out a set of tasks around the house.
However, a time audit may show you are spending valuable time with other things not on your priority list, which sucks away your efficiency and motivation.
How To Complete A Time Audit
Auditing your time can happen with or without the aid of technology.
Whether you use a piece of scratch paper or an online calendar tool, you can easily track your day in 15, 30, or 60-minute chunks.
Known as time blocking, this act of writing down what you are doing for each allotted block of time will give you a big-picture look at your current time management.
Don’t be shocked if you notice that your time spent doing lower priority things is far greater than you thought!
The time audit usually provides insightful information to people and businesses that perform them.
As you begin to implement new time management skills, occasionally completing a new time audit is a good idea.
This enables you to compare your time to past audits and continuously improve on what you accomplish during the day.
10 Time Management Tips for the Busy Caregiver
Once you have your very first time audit in hand, you can start putting into place time management strategies that will help you better navigate your limited hours for the most valuable projects.
For those who are caring for family members or loved ones, these tools can help you finish tasks faster and help you build margin in your day so that you can spend more time on self-care.
With a bit of practice, these time management strategies will help you better manage your day.
Implement these Time Management Strategies
1. Give Tasks A Set Time Limit
One of the best ways to ensure that you stick to a task list and accomplish your goals is to set a specific time limit on each task.
If you completed your time audit, you can better understand how much time it should take to complete a given task.
By setting a time limit, you can almost create a competition with yourself to see how fast you can get the task done.
Should the time limit pass, give yourself the freedom to put the task down (if possible) and move on to the next item on your list.
2. Plan Tomorrow Today
One reason that many struggles with time management are due to their lack of planning and preparation.
Instead of preparing for the day ahead, they are left to react to events as they occur.
This will leave you moving through your day without a strategy and will often leave you trying to do too many things at once and not getting the most important things done.
If you want to begin mastering time management, plan tomorrow’s to-do list today.
Even if you aren’t sure what tomorrow will hold, the act of putting pen to paper (or finger to smartphone) and creating a list will help give you the extra boost you need to start tomorrow on the right foot.
3. Eat The Frog!
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
This quote from famous author Mark Twain may seem bizarre, but it brings up a good point.
Whatever your day’s most significant task is, that is your frog.
So rather than procrastinate or wait to do something you dread, why not just get it over with first thing in the morning?
Eat the frog!🐸
A tool of time management heralded by many, taking care of your biggest task first thing in the morning is a great way to boost productivity.
With the morning often giving you the most energy and focus of your day, you can take advantage of the boost that comes from knocking a big-ticket item off of your to-do list by completing it first each day!
4. Delegate & Outsource Tasks If Possible
If you are a caregiver for a loved one, you may find that you are trying to juggle tasks for yourself, your family, and those you are caring for.
Trying to complete too many things in a day can be overwhelming. Likely you have too many tasks, and it may be impossible to finish them in a day.
You may feel like you are working hard all day but not getting anything done.
Your time audit may reveal that there really isn’t enough time in your day to do all those tasks that need to be done.
One way to help you get ahead of your tasks is to find ways to outsource or delegate your work.
- Can a friend or family member help with housecleaning?
- Have laundry that needs to be done? Utilize a laundry service or hire someone who can take care of it!
- Need groceries purchased? Don’t spend time wandering the aisles! Use a service like Instacart to purchase grocers online and have them delivered to your door, or hire someone who can do the shopping for you.
- Do you need someone to help with house cleaning, doing laundry, assembling something, yard work, or a handyperson? Use TaskRabbit to find help with some things you need to get done. TaskRabbit is an online and mobile marketplace that helps you find freelancers to help you with many different tasks.
Get creative with your outsourcing, and you can discover ways to boost your productivity quickly.
5. Switch Up Your Daily Schedule
You will be amazed at what waking up an hour earlier can do for your productivity.
Get yourself on a regular sleep schedule, and make sure to prepare and plan out each day.
Enjoy some time for yourself before jumping into your duties of the day – a great way to practice self-care and prevent caregiver burnout!
6. Organize & Prioritize
Another way to better manage your time is by organizing your things.
Did you know that, on average, an American will spend 2.5 days of the year looking for stuff that has been misplaced or lost in their home due to a lack of organization?
By taking time to organize your belongings, you can better prioritize your day.
When you spend less time sifting through your stuff to get tasks accomplished, you will find that you are more effective and enjoy your time more often!
7. The 80-20 Rule in Time Management
The 80-20 Rule, otherwise known as the Pareto Principle, states the relationship between input and output is usually not balanced.
You can apply the 80 – 20 rule in time management.
Think about the people around you. Twenty percent of them likely give you 80 percent of the help and support you need.
Likewise, there are probably several people in your life who are not helpful or supportive, so try to put them on the back burner.
When applied to work, it means that approximately 20 percent of your efforts produce 80 percent of your results.
Learning to recognize and stay focused on that 20 percent is vital to making your time most effective. This is how you apply the 80 – 20 rule in time management.
8. Don’t Worry About Perfection
Here’s where so many individuals get lost in time management.
Rather than being effective, too many people get lost in trying to do things perfectly.
One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is the freedom of not being perfect.
Give up on striving for perfection, and get things done the best you can. Then move on!
9. Learn How To Say “No” to Optimize Time Management
If you balance family, work, personal life, and caring for a loved one on a full-time basis, you know how hard it can be to say “no” when asked to do something.
Unfortunately, this generosity keeps you from completing your tasks and may take away from your self-care.
To master time management, you must learn to say no. Review your day’s plan and the frogs you must eat when asked to do something.
If you can’t fit it in, and it isn’t an emergency, consider saying, “Sorry, but I can’t help today.” Saying no is often much harder on you than it is on those hearing it.
Are you having a hard time saying no? Many of us do! Consider reading our post: How to Say No in 5 Easy Steps–Politely with Confidence
10. Make Time Management Fun!
The final tip is the fun one – make time management fun for you! 😱 😎
Take advantage of technology to help you increase your productivity.
If you find yourself not wanting to knock things off your list, see what motivates you.
Try listening to a favorite audiobook, song, or podcast. Find something to listen to that inspires and moves you, so you move much quicker through those tasks.
Implementing time management strategies can help optimize your day. One time management tip is to start with a time audit, so you have a good idea of how much time you are spending on specific tasks throughout the day. Put some time management tips into place and take better control of your day.
Why not start taking some steps today so that you can move toward better managing your time daily?
Comment below and let us know if you implemented any of these steps or any others not on this list!