When you are working on your own, working to get there, or just have a variety of projects you have to handle you need to learn how to manage your time. This article will give you the basic tips on how I do that. Time management 101, if you please.
Every single person has the same amount of time in their day. Yet one person can accomplish a great number of things while another literally accomplished nothing. What is the difference and how can you become the former?
To do this I’m going to break time management 101 into 4 areas.
1. Plan and Prioritize
If you want to get a lot done you need to plan to do so. Failing to plan means planning to fail.
If you leave you schedule wide open the various activities of the day will come and fill that up, eating up all your time. Without a plan you will not make the time to accomplish your goals.
And in order to effectively plan you need to write it down. There are many ways you can do this. I will give you two recommendations on tools I’ve used for this.
The first is a Planner Pad. This is a physical planner but it’s not your normal planner. It is designed for maximal functionality. As you’ll see here you can see a week at glance.
On the top row you write down your projects and the various components that need to go into them.
On the second row you right down your projects, goals or tasks for the day.
On the third row you have the time for any scheduled activities.
There’s much more that goes into this and how to use it. But I recommend you get a Planner Pad and use it. Since I’ve started I have never gone back.
Another tool I have used in the past with good success is Simpleology. It is a web based platform and suite of tools that can help you get the most out of your day. It’s also free to get started.
Try them both and see which works for you.
You need to plan your day, week, or month before they start. That means at night time I’ll sit down and plan out tomorrow. Before a week begins I review the last one and plan out the next. So on and so forth.
2. Break It Down
When you are planning your day and projects you need to break it down into bite size chunks. If you have a goal of build a website and just write that down you’re not likely to get much done with it. It’s too big and there are no steps to be done.
Instead for every project I like to mind map it out. Either on the computer or on a big white board in my office. From the major project you list out everything that goes into that. Break each leg into chunks that are individual tasks. Break it down until it can be broken down any further. These can usually be done in a few minutes to about an hour, depending on the task.
Now you have activities you can do. With your mindmap all you have to do is each task and this in the end leads to the completion of the project.
3. Set Deadlines
If you want to get more done faster you need to set deadlines for yourself. Parkinson’s Law states “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
Wrap your head around this and you will automatically become vastly more productive. Set deadlines not only for the big project but the components that go into it. With no deadlines projects will drag out at least 2 to 3 times further than is needed.
If you miss a deadline you move on and set a new one. But don’t let this become a habit. Instead work as hard as you can to hit those deadlines.
4. Take Action
Nothing moves until you act. All the planning, mind mapping, and deadlines in the world won’t help you if you don’t actually do the things necessary. Take action and do it now.
There is a time to learn. There is a time to plan. There is also a time to act and that should make up the vast majority of what you do.
This covers the basics of time management 101. Look for more advanced tips in the future. But remember this is the foundation. Work to make these things a regular part of your life.