Time management is one of the hardest skills to master. With as many distractions as we have, it’s easy to understand why it’s so valuable to learn how to manage your time effectively.
Are you tired of working on the same things day in and day out without feeling like you are actually accomplishing anything? Think about how much time you are truly focusing on the task at hand.
Busy doesn’t always equal productive. We can work our tail off all day every day without really getting anything done.
That’s why managing your time is so important. It helps you to learn how to spend time on what is actually important instead of just running around without getting anything truly done.
This list of 12 tips for time management is full of the most effective strategies for being more productive with your time. These time management skills will help get you to the next level.
Pareto Principle (80/20 rule)
One of my personal favorite time management techniques is using the Pareto Principle.
This tip was life changing for me. It doesn’t only help with time management. It helps with every aspect of your life.
Most things in life are not distributed evenly. You aren’t getting the same outcome from the same amount of effort for everything that you do.
The 80/20 rule is that you are doing 80% of the work that needs to be done with 20% of your total efforts.
20% of what you do creates 80% of your productivity.
It’s not an exact number. Sometimes it’s 15% of what you do creating 85% of your productivity, but it’s a close estimate.
What this means is that you need to find out what that 20% is. Where is your time most effectively spent? What is that 20%?
Digging deep and determining where your highest contributions lie will make time management so much easier because you will know where to focus your time.
This one is a little easier to do than the pareto principle.
With more and more things fighting for our attention, time management has become increasingly difficult. Advertisers and social media stars have become masters at grabbing your attention with headlines.
Fight the urge to quit the task you are working on before you are at a stopping point. The pomodoro technique breaks down your time into productive chunks.
- Decide on the task to be done.
- Set the pomodoro timer (traditionally to 25 minutes).
- Work on the task.
- End work when the timer rings and put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
- If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go to step 2.
- After four pomodoros, take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step 1.
The pomodoro technique is an effective time management strategy because it requires you to keep your focus for a set amount of time and you know a break is coming.
Plan your priorities the night before
It doesn’t take long to write out your highest priority to-do list. Take 5 minutes a night to write out what you want to get done the next day.
Once you have started to master the 80/20 rule that we talked about earlier, this planning will become extremely valuable to you.
You don’t have to write out a huge list. Just hit the high notes.
The longer you work, the more you will understand what your strengths and weaknesses are. Use this knowledge to schedule your time.
This will help you become extremely productive. Taking advantage of your strengths will mean that the tasks that you do are easier and more natural to complete
It also helps you determine what tasks you should hand off to other people. We will talk later about using your resources effectively, but part of it is knowing your weaknesses and letting other people step in and take some of those tasks over for you.
Time management isn’t only about scheduling and planning. It’s also about knowing yourself.
Know your whys
Knowing yourself also means that you have to know what drives you. Finding your whys is essential to your success.
Waking up every morning with a true purpose to make the most out of your time is the best way to be more productive.
Time management skills are great to have, but the most effective time management strategy is to go through each day with a real commitment to making the most out of every second.
Will you prioritize your health, family, friends, work, finances, or fun today? Your whys will help you understand where your time should be placed.
One of the best personal development books that I’ve ever read is Essentialism by Greg Mckeown.
This book helped me to understand the importance of simply saying no.
See, we have been conditioned as a society to try to say yes to every opportunity that we are given. We think that any task that is sent our way is so important that we need to jump on it straight away.
Saying no isn’t always easy, but by knowing your whys and understanding what is most essential to you, it becomes much easier.
You need to be a priority. Time management is about choosing to do what is most important to you.
Use your resources
Have you ever been stressed about completing a project because you literally had no idea how to do it? I know I have.
When I first started working, I didn’t understand the value of going to the people around me for help. See, I was afraid that they would think I had no idea what I was doing and look down on me.
But that couldn’t have been further from the truth. Using the people around you is a great time management technique. A lot of times they have been there and done that.
They have strengths that compliment your weaknesses.
Instead of beating your head against the wall trying to do something that is totally unnatural for you to do, turn to a peer who you think can help. It will save you tons of time and make you more productive.
You can always turn to your personal development plan to find out what is the most important thing to get done.
Turn your phone over
This one is super easy.
Every time that phone of yours lights up it distracts you. Do yourself a favor and turn it over.
This time management skill takes the least amount of effort and knowledge, but it will produce some of the best results!
Technology is awesome. There are so many productivity tools out there to help you manage your time.
You can set up automatic transfers for your bank account.
You can use a meal planning site like www.eatthismuch.com to plan your meals and shopping list out.
Tie things together using ifttt.com and you can set automations up and let it do its thing.
It will take some time to set these automations up, but it will save you so much more time in the long run and you will be more productive because of it.
Go with your instinct
Our decisions are based on instinct and emotions rather than logic about 95% of the time. We try to use logic to make a “better” decision, but in the end we are likely better off by going with our gut.
The decisions that we make from the limbic system part of our brain are made more quickly, easily, and have a higher quality than the decisions that we spend time trying to rationalize.
We are wired to act more on instinct than logic. We just fight our instincts because we think we can outsmart ourselves.
It will save you so much time if you just go with your first inclination.
Use the 2 minute rule
I use this one all the time. The 2 minute rule is a time management skill that is a true game changer.
Part 1: If something will take less than 2 minutes to do, then just do it now and get it over with. You’ll truly be amazed at how much stuff takes less than 2 minutes to do.
Part 2: When you are trying to do something, plan to spend less than 2 minutes on it. This is like jumpstarting your task.
Folding the laundry becomes just folding one shirt.
Mowing the lawn becomes filling up the gas tank on the lawn mower.
Creating your presentation becomes opening powerpoint and picking a theme.
By the time you’ve spent 2 minutes on something, you’re pretty invested in it and will likely continue.
But even if you don’t continue on and finish it, you’ll have a little bit done!
Take advantage of your “down” time
We are at an amazing point in time with the technology that is available at our fingertips.
You can read or listen to books. You can listen to podcasts. You can subscribe to influencers that have achieved the goals that you are trying to achieve.
Time management means taking advantage of all the time you have available.
Commuting isn’t only “down” time any more. You can listen to a book or a podcast and learn something new.
Think about time that is currently being wasted and try to turn it into something that is productive for you!
Wrapping it up
The 12 easiest time management skills are:
- Pareto Principle (80/20 rule)
- Pomodoro Technique
- Plan the night before
- Know yourself
- Know your whys
- Say no
- Use your resources
- Turn your phone over
- Automate decisions
- Go with your instinct
- Use the 2 minute rule
- Take advantage of your down time
These 12 time management tips have helped me be more productive. Try to implement 1 or 2 of these techniques this week. Check out this productivity guide to help you with even more ideas.
If you are struggling with productivity and managing your time then feel free to reach out to me for some more ideas on how to stay on track firstname.lastname@example.org!
If you like any of these ideas then please share them with others or leave your feedback below!