When you’re working over 40 hours a week, trying to balance a personal life, social life, and a healthy life, your days can get really crazy. It’s hard to remember to do your laundry, let alone worry about how to manage your time efficiently. It becomes a battle of “What should I give up today?” in order to cram everything into your hectic schedule.
Rather than make sacrifices, try making changes first. There are three simple strategies you can focus on in order to change the way you spend your time day in and day out. Here they are:
1. Stop Half-Working
You know what we’re talking about. Half work is the death of productivity. It’s deceiving because you think you’re being extra productive by doing half of a task here and half of a task there. In reality, the multi-tasking bug has bitten you, and it’s turning into a full-blown unproductive epidemic. Don’t start on something and then take a phone break. Don’t set yourself up for failure by promising to get through half of your assignment. Give your task your total focus and plow through it. You’ll be happier looking back on a finished product rather than looking ahead at a whole bunch of unfinished projects.
2. Knock Out the Most Important Thing First
Bite the bullet and line up your MITs. MIT stands for Most Important Thing. You know you need to get these things done, so why not just get them out of the way, especially if you dread them? You may think that by procrastinating on an MIT, you’ll accrue a bunch of energy and motivation to attack it later in the day, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, you’ll be more drained and energy-deprived later on in the day, so your best bet is to knock it out first thing in the morning.
3. Stick to the Schedule
Schedule out all the things you’d like to get done in the day. Your schedule may include 5 or 6 big tasks to do at work, dinnertime, helping children with homework, and working out. Not every day goes perfectly as planned, so allow some wiggle room in your schedule between tasks as much as possible and be flexible when things change. If your day takes a turn, instead of saying, “Now I can’t make a big dinner, so I’ll just order take-out,” compromise with yourself. You can still make dinner, but maybe it won’t be a 4-course meal with dessert. Stick to your objectives and adjust them if needed.
These three time management strategies are all you need to make better use of your time in the day. Remember: You only have 86,400 seconds in the day. Use them wisely, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t. There’s always tomorrow.