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Time management is a skill anyone can learn that will pay off significantly. Understanding and incorporating time management into your daily life makes it more likely to achieve your goals. Managing time is a lot like managing money, but time is one of the only resources that are truly limited.
You can pay for someone else’s time, but someday your time will run out, and you will die. This is not said to be morbid but to impress upon you the importance of managing your time to live a happy, healthy life that feels successful to you.
On average, you have only 27,375 days to live your life. But, unfortunately, many of those days are already gone. It may even be a shocking discovery to learn how few days the average person has to live, but it’s an important fact to face. When you get honest about the lack of time you have, you’ll finally understand how valuable learning to manage your time is to your life.
Use the following five ways to help you manage your time to have more effective daily routines.
Stop Checking Email First Thing in The Morning
Start your mornings off right by avoiding jumping right into an email or social media. Email and social media can be done any time of the day and don’t need to be the first thing you look at. It is always better to take decisive action first thing in the morning instead of getting sidelined by your email or social media.
While it’s tempting to excuse doing it because something might happen, or someone might have something important to convey, the truth is that anything sent by email can wait. Even if it’s considered “important,” can wait until the time of day you’ve set aside to process email and check social media.
Schedule Everything Based on Priority
The best way to ensure that you manage your time better and create a better daily routine is to schedule everything based on priority. But first, learn how to prioritize your actions so you can put them in the correct order on your schedule to make you more efficient and effective.
- Schedule Tasks by Priority – Put the most critical tasks first within your schedule, then fill in around those for the rest of the work you need to do. One method to create better priorities for your daily actions is to use the Eisenhower Matrix.
The Eisenhower matrix will help you organize and prioritize each task you believe you need to do each day. Make it a habit to use this matrix to create your prioritized to-do list and organize and systemize your life.
- Create a Realistic Schedule – Once you prioritize each task that you need to do and understand its importance according to the matrix, you also need to ensure that you schedule everything realistically. One good habit to get into is to put all the hard deadlines in first, then put everything else you need to do around those hard deadlines.
Another way to ensure you create realistic schedules is to consider all the time it takes to do that task, including set up and tear down if a factor. One example that comes to mind is scheduling time to go to the gym. If you want to work out at the gym for an hour, the entire thing will take more than an hour to accomplish. You’ll need time to get into your workout clothing, get to the workout place, do the workout, then cool down and clean up from the workout.
Please write down the process it takes to do the tasks, so you know exactly what needs to be done, how you’ll do it, and how long it takes. This will ensure that your schedules are realistic and not causing you to miss sleep or give up other things you need. Being busy all the time, flitting from one thing to the next, isn’t the same as being productive.
- Batch Similar Work Together
As you create your schedule, consider the logistics of what you are doing and how you can cut your time. For example, batch like work together. If you notice you have a hard deadline, such as a doctor’s appointment for your son Henry, ask yourself if there is any task you can accomplish on the way to or from this to-do.
If you set aside one day a week to pay bills or file, what else can you do when you open your file or open the software you use? If you work from home and need to upload blog posts to appear on your blog daily, you can do this weekly instead of daily, thus saving the setup and tear-down time by batching entries and scheduling the publishing using automation.
When you get good at making better schedules, you’ll get so much more done and feel a lot less busy. Stay flexible where you can and be strict where you can’t, but most of all, be realistic and ensure that you have the right tools to make your job easy.
Leave Work on Time Every Day
Setting up your workday with precise starting and ending times allows you to better schedule yourself for maximum productivity. If you know you only have a certain number of limited hours to get stuff done, you’ll become far more disciplined, and the good news is you’ll also have a far more balanced and happy life.
- Prep For Tomorrow Before You Sign Off – Help yourself get out of work on time by setting a daily reminder to start cleaning up and prepping for tomorrow. If you know the three things you need to do the moment you get to work the next day before you leave, you’ll feel more prepared for your day, but you’ll also feel more done today as you transition from work to your home life.
- Let Go of Guilt for Leaving on Time – Whether you work for someone else or yourself, you must understand that you do not need to work twenty-four-seven. It’s not right for you, and it’s not right for anyone to do that. Guilt for living your life is misplaced. If you feel it, let it go because it’s a trick. The truth is you will be far more successful and have a much happier life if you live all parts of your life and not just one.
- How to Leave Work on Time – Organize your day so that you front load the must-do work at the top of your workday. Put the other work toward the end so that if you don’t get it done before it’s time to leave work, things can easily be moved to the next day. Set visual reminders to alert you when it’s time to clean up your workspace so you can leave on time.
- Leave All Work at The Office – For most jobs, there is no reason to bring work home with you. Sadly, many people have made it a habit to keep checking work email and doing quick work tasks on their own time due to our constantly connected culture. If you work for yourself, it can help to get separate work phones and work on computers to have a clear transition from work to your personal life, thus leaving all the work in the office even if that office is your own home.
Leaving work every day when your work day is done says that you are valuable as a human being outside of work. Your value lies in your existence and not only during the times you’re being productive. It also says that your entire life is essential. Plus, your employers will notice if you are highly productive during working hours. If you’re working for yourself, you’ll feel more successful because of the balance you create.
Learn to Say No
If saying no is hard for you, consider every no you dole out due to lack of goal alignment as saying a strong ‘hell yes’ to your goals. There are likely numerous things you can say no to right now that will boost your productivity and motivate you toward your goals.
For example, do you still:
- Attend pointless meetings?
- Spend time with negative people?
- Do things just because you always have?
- Work with clients or business partners that cause you to stress?
- Do social activities you dislike?
- Do things you can delegate, outsource, or delete completely from your schedule?
- Respond to emails as they come?
- Do personal stuff during working time?
- Waste time with toxic people?
- Allow yourself to stay up too late and miss sleeping?
- Eat an unhealthy diet and skip exercise?
Say no to anything that takes you away from your goals or doesn’t need to be done by you. Learn how to say no so that others accept it. While others’ acceptance is not necessary you want to convey that no means no, rather than maybe. Set firm boundaries. This enables you to say yes or no to anything and be respected. To make sure your answer is understood, practice giving your various responses in advance.
- Don’t Answer Immediately – When someone asks you for something that you aren’t thrilled about, take time to consider the request before replying. Acknowledge that you received the message if it was written and give a time when you’ll get back to them with an answer. If it is a certain no, it’s okay to answer right away with a simple “no thanks” or “not at this time.” You don’t owe anyone an explanation.
- Check Your Schedule – If you’re not sure it’s something you want to do, check your schedule to see if you have time to do it. Of course, you may not have time even if you want to do it. However, if you can schedule it, examine it further to decide if you will do it.
- Ask Yourself the Right Questions – Look at the request or offer and make a list of the positive ways the request will affect your short and long-term goals. If it fits with one of your goals, such as improving your relationship with the person, you may want to say yes. However, don’t say yes just because you may feel guilty later.
- Respond Promptly – Once you have examined the situation, if you realize there is no reason for you to do this task, let the person know you have made your decision. Letting the person know your decision promptly is a sign of respect and it will be appreciated.
If you have a tough time saying no, discover the source of the problem. Usually, the difficulty with saying no has a simple explanation like not wanting the person’s feelings or fearing you’ll be fired. Most of the time, the reason saying no is hard is due to not wanting conflict, or you’re just doing the things out of habit rather than doing them because you want to help. Habits are great, but they can be difficult to stop even when they no longer serve your needs.
Address Issues Causing Procrastination
Procrastination doesn’t just happen for no reason. There are actual issues that can cause procrastination that you can address to overcome. Remember, whether you participate in a good or bad habit, the way habits work is the same. A habit has a trigger and a reward. You may wonder what the reward of procrastination is, but for each individual, it is different.
For one person, procrastinating may calm their nerves because they’re avoiding a more significant problem and causing a smaller one in its place, or it may simply be due to a lack of training. Whatever the reasons for the issues causing procrastination for you, you can discover them and fix them by being self-aware and mindful of your actions each day.
- Fear – Most people think that procrastination is ultimately rooted in fear of the unknown, whether it’s fear of success or fear of failure. Unfortunately, if you’re pushing through your comfort zone with a task or action, the fear can overwhelm you causing you to stop moving forward.
To remedy this problem, dip your toe in and do a little. As you dip your toe in, and the water feels fine before you know it, your whole body will be submerged, and your comfort zone will have expanded to meet the challenge.
- Perfectionism – Many people procrastinate because they need to turn in perfect work to be considered finished with a project or task. The problem with this thinking is that perfection does not exist. To avoid this problem, set up a systemized approach to your work that enables a process that has a clear start and finish criteria to follow.
For example, if you wrote a novel, limit your editing time. Set it in stone, so you get done. Most publishing houses only make so many passes on a book before they say it’s done and publish it.
- Avoidance – For some people, procrastination is caused by avoidant behaviors such as putting up roadblocks so that you can’t do something. It may be subconscious, but maybe you keep all your art supplies under your bed for a reason. To accomplish more, do things that take you closer to your goal. Make it easy by setting up the space, so you don’t have to dig it out from under your bed.
- Trouble Focusing – No one can multitask even though many jobs require it in their job descriptions. If you get interrupted a lot, that can cause you problems with focus. Set boundaries with others so they don’t interrupt you when trying to focus. Turn off your notifications, social media, and stop watching YouTube while you work. Work on one at a time to increase your ability to focus.
- Helplessness – Sometimes helplessness can be enforced and learned. It happens to children who were ill growing up and even to adults who have experienced a lot of trauma. If you feel as if you take the right steps but “nothing works,” it can make you feel helpless and stop you from acting since it feels like nothing you do works.
That feeling can cause you to stop taking action, which is the worst thing you can do since it will reinforce helplessness. If you feel helpless, you may get some training to help you overcome that feeling.
- Rebellion – Many people who had a rigorous upbringing find it difficult to act independently and hate having others tell them what to do. However, if you feel you have no control over a situation, sometimes the only power is to delay.
To overcome rebellion issues, you may need counseling or a life coach to help you discover those hidden traumas causing your reaction. But you can also set a timer for two minutes and just get started by doing something, even if all you do is outline what needs to be done.
- Not Knowing Where to Start – It’s not unusual to feel confused when looking at the big picture. Big-picture thinking is great for goal setting, but at some point, each goal has to be broken down into its very basic individual steps, each of which may seem ineffective on its own.
If you have paralysis getting started due to not knowing where to start, take the time to set up the process, so you know what to do first, then begin. For example, if you want to author a novel, there is a process to follow. Find someone else’s and do it. You can always adjust later.
- Poor Emotional Regulation – It’s an interesting paradox of human behavior but for some people procrastinating helps them deal with their emotions by pushing off tasks they dislike or fear until an unknown future time. So now, instead of dealing with the task, you procrastinated on, you’ll deal with the fact that you’re late or not productive. Dealing with lateness instead of the fact that you need to seek counseling due to trauma from the past can sometimes seem helpful, but it’s not.
The Artful Conclusion to Your Daily Routines
By weaving these methods into your daily fabric, you’re not just crafting routines; you’re sculpting a life of purpose and fulfillment.
Use the above five methods to manage your time better and complete daily routines. This will help you get more done each day while also balancing your life. You are more than your work. You are more than the money you bring in. All the things you do and are makeup who you are. You need to care for all aspects of yourself to be happy, healthy, and satisfied with your life.
Embrace the power of intentional living, where each day is a canvas to paint your aspirations. As you embark on this journey, may your routines be the brushstrokes that create a masterpiece of success, balance, and joy.
Cheers to the art of living well!”
Related Article: What is Time Management?