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8 Tips to Improve Your Time Management

Posted by on Thursday, January 23, 2020 in Blog, Leadership Tidbit, News.

Take a moment and think about what is one of the most precious commodities in this world. Here’s a hint, it’s not gold or diamonds. Do you give up? It’s time! Each person has a finite amount of time. Once it is gone, there is no way to get it back. The only exception to this is if your name is Marty and you are going back to the future! We all get 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds in one day. Time never stops, so it is up to us to use it wisely. With that being said, I think it is time to share eight useful tips to increase your time management skills.

Rule #1: Prioritize Your Work

At the beginning of each day, take a few moments to make a list of things that you would like to accomplish. Start with the things that need your immediate attention and must be completed that day. To help with this, I choose to “eat the ugly frog first.” I begin each day doing the things that I want to do the least and get them out of the way. By prioritizing these items first, it gives me a renewed sense of energy and accomplishment, which then motivates me through the remainder of my day!

Rule #2: Delegate Tasks

Depending on your role, your ability to do this may vary. If you are in a leadership role, you do have the option to delegate some tasks to other team members. If you are not in a leadership role, perhaps if would be helpful to ask another peer for assistance. You’ll be surprised by a person’s desire to help. Remember, teamwork makes the dream work!

Rule #3 and 4: Schedule Task and Set-Up Deadline

These two tips go together. Refer to the to-do list that we created in Rule #1. Schedule an allotted time throughout the day to do each task and decide how much time you’ll need to complete the task. It is important to give yourself grace with utilizing this tip. We must understand that sometimes things take longer than we would like. For example, you give yourself two hours to complete a task. After two hours, you are not finished. At that point, you are at a crossroads. You can either: 1) keep going and adjust the other items on the list, or 2) you can stop, move on to another task, and pick up in the same spot tomorrow. Either way, don’t beat yourself up and remember perfection is not the goal.

Rule #5: Eliminate Procrastination

Don’t put the “pro” in procrastination! It’s so easy to do and we have all been there. You keep saying you’ll do it in X amount of days or X minutes, and you look up and a whole day has gone by. Then you realize that it’s been a week and you still have not accomplished the task you set for yourself. To overcome procrastination, try these five mini tips. First, identify your triggers. Determine why you are putting off this task. Second, face your triggers and get rid of them. Third, take planned breaks. Fourth, reward yourself for your accomplishments. Mini celebrations are always fun! Lastly, keep track of your accomplishments.

Rule #6: Start Early

The earlier you begin, the more time you can put in! When you get up earlier, you are less rushed and can begin your day more calm, creative, and clear-headed. Take those extra minutes to plan out your day, reflect, meditate, or whatever it is that helps you find your zen. All these things will help you get your engine firing on all cylinders.

Rule #7: Take Breaks Throughout the Day

This is important! We all hit that mid-day slump right after lunchtime. This is the moment when it is ideal to get up and take a walk. I know this can be difficult when you feel you have finally hit your stride, but it will be well worth it to go say hello to a friend. Maybe you can meditate, listen to music, or do a few stretches. Doing any of these suggestions can help and by scheduling these breaks strategically, it’ll help you balance your energy throughout the day.

Rule #8: Learn to Say No

Being able to courteously decline additional tasks when you are already booked to capacity is a skill that we should all practice. Before committing yourself to another project or event, take a look at your current commitments and then ask yourself three questions. First, do you have anything to offer? Second, can you gain anything from agreeing to participate (this could include additional skills, enjoyment, etc.)? Third, do you truly have the time to commit to this project? Answering these questions will allow you to reflect and determine if you should say yes or no to the task.

These are just a few ways that we can all learn to do a better job of managing our time. Each person is unique, and every day is different. All we can do is give it our best effort and be flexible enough to adjust to any changes out of our control. These are tips that are most helpful when they are incorporated into our daily lives. Identify a different skill each week and practice it. Remember that you control your day and that your day does not control you! 😊

Author: Tassany C. Henderson (tassany.c.henderson@vanderbilt.edu)


References:

Kukreja, R. (2020, January 13). 10 Practical Ways to Improve Time Management Skills. Retrieved January 20, 2020, from https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/10-ways-improve-your-time-management-skills.html

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