By Randy Wooden, Director, Professional Center by Goodwill Industries of Northwest North Carolina
Some days feel like they are 30 hours long. Other times, we feel like we need 30 hours to get everything accomplished.
Since everyone is given the same 24 hours each day, how can you make adjustments to feel like you’re accomplishing what you want or need to get done? Here are five tips to help you improve your time management skills. Let’s get started!
#1. First, understand where your time goes. Whether you use a phone app to track your time or write it in a journal, you will want an accurate accounting of your time. Are you wasting time checking your phone or on social media? Talking to friends? Taking long breaks? Checking emails constantly?
#2. Create a to-do list. Write your tasks in the journal or enter them into an app. Do not rely on your memory, even though some of your tasks may be repetitive. Think about grocery shopping: if you go in with a list, it will help you remain focused instead of bouncing around from aisle to aisle, scooping up impulse items. Another benefit of using a list is the sense of accomplishment when you cross off an item.
#3. Prioritize. Your list is only a start. Make sure you do the most important or time-sensitive tasks first. Do not do the things you enjoy doing, saving the less enjoyable tasks for later. There is a wise saying that holds true, make the main thing the main thing – and put first things first.
#4. Delegate. Is it possible for others to do some of the work? There may be other people that have the training or knowledge to help ensure tasks are completed on time. Even if you don’t need or receive help, it can be good to help others when they feel overwhelmed.
#5. It is okay to sometimes say no. Instead of delegating tasks to someone else at your workplace, saying no may refer to your personal life. As you prioritize your life tasks, unforeseen requests have to be weighed against pressing deadlines. Learning to say no to distractions or temptations is among the toughest lessons to learn.
Despite your best intentions, sometimes life happens when unforeseen crises occur, and sometimes priorities change. No matter what happens, try to be clear and stay focused on what is most important by keeping yourself organized with good time management skills. It will serve you well in both your work and your personal life. Good luck!