We live in an age where there are so many physical and online resources and tools at our disposal, so why is it that we still struggle with time management and staying organised.
Let’s face it, life is busy and challenging, but we can get smarter and wiser with how we balance our time. We have to change our approach and develop more self-awareness; as well as learn a few new tricks to get the things we want to do.
Here are 5 steps to realistically stop wasting time and stay organised
Know your Objectives
- Time management and staying organised comes from being motivated to do so. You need to clearly understand what your objectives are. This will then allow you to break this down into what you need to do monthly, weekly and daily. This is tied to effective goal setting. You should know them like the back of your hand, if your mind knows why it needs to do something it will prioritise the actions you need to carry out to fit with your goals. This will help create efficiency in how you operate.
Don’t be fooled – Being organised doesn’t necessarily mean you have good time management
- When you hear the word organised what comes to mind? Do you think about having everything in order and a neatly organised room? Sure, this is part of being organised but organisation is something greater than the physical representation, your environment is a representation of the state of your mind. Being organised also is not about being neat and tidy, it’s about having your thoughts and actions organised so that they are working with you and not against you in achieving your goals. As for the physical environment, it helps if it’s not in chaos so have your surroundings set up in a way that motivates you and so you can access everything you need to easily.
Track your Time
- Think about how you currently organise your time, what tools do you use? Using the right tools that caters to yourself is really important. Do you prefer using physical tools like diaries, whiteboards, sticky notes or do you prefer using online tools like online calendars and apps? Sometimes it can be a combination of the two types. Experiment and see what works for you. It also depends on what you are trying to keep organised and keeping on track in terms of time. Use a timer or set alarms and alerts for time sensitive tasks, and to ensure you are spending the allocated time on that particular task. All too often we can get so into something that we lose track of time.
Plan and Prioritise
- As obvious as it sounds a lot of us get this all wrong and we wonder why we don’t get things done or achieve what we want to. So keep things simple, allocate realistic time frames for each task or activity in your schedule. Don’t fill up your schedule for the sake of it, your schedule should have things that are aligned with achieving your objectives. Also prioritise your tasks in order of importance, know what absolutely must get done that day and what is non-urgent. This will help make it more manageable and less stressful however still aim to get what you have planned for the day done. Do not overload your day. Being effective and efficient with time also comes from planning in your social and personal time, this will help you keep the balance. Distractions will come – Don’t Panic. Yes, unplanned events and distractions will most certainly come, so it’s important to have your priorities in order so you know what you can and can not compromise on. It will allow you to also readjust where needed.
Focus and Evaluate
- Time management is not an overnight process. It’s a skill that we all can learn. You are in control of your time even if at times it doesn’t seem so. In order to get good at it you need to evaluate your progress daily, see what you managed to achieve and what you didn’t and understand why. Be kind to yourself and be honest. Did you underestimate how long something was going to take, did you overestimate how much you could get done, are your objectives clear, do you have the right tools etc. If you need help, ask the right person to help look at your schedule and tasks to help you plan better.
Your life, your time. Use it wisely and maximise on each day that is gifted to you. Time management is key to success and happiness as it will help you achieve your goals and bring balance to the time you spend professionally and personally.