How you spend your time is vital to your success. Time management includes scheduling your time, prioritizing your time, setting boundaries, and knowing your most effective time.
Consider the following for improving your time management:
- Baseline your schedule.
- Carve out time for what’s important.
- Have a buffer.
- Know your most effective hours.
- Manage energy, not time.
- Schedule it.
- Set boundaries.
- Take weekends off.
Baseline Your Schedule
Before you can improve how you spend your time, it helps to baseline your current weekly schedule. Simply identify where you spend your time; note your free time too. Once you have a solid handle on where your time goes, you can start to evaluate potential ways to improve how you spend your time.
Carve Out Time for What’s Important
Make sure you spend enough time on the things that are important. The key to doing this effectively is to first identify your priorities and make sure you allocate enough time for them. Make everything else work around that.
Have a Buffer
Have buffers in your schedule. Aside from needing the breathing room and allowing for things to go wrong, having a buffer makes it possible for you act on opportunities. If your schedule is packed too tightly, not only is it stressful, but you won’t be able to take advantage of opportunities as they come along. Worse, every possible opportunity will look more like a burden than an opportunity.
Know Your Most Effective Hours
It’s one thing to know whether you’re a morning person or a night owl. It’s another to know which hours or which days are your most effective power hours. Track your most effective hours for a week or two. Once you know your most effective hours, leverage them by making them your most productive for your most important work. You might find that some hours are better for your creativity, while some hours are better for your productivity. You also might find that some hours just don’t do anything for you at all.
Manage Energy, Not Time
One way to improve your results is to focus more on your energy management than your time management. You only have so much time in a day, and it’s fixed. Your energy, on the other hand, can fluctuate a great deal. You can focus on your power hours and improving your energy so the time you do spend on things produces exponential results.
Schedule results; don’t wait for inspiration. If you schedule it, it happens. As the saying goes, "One of these days is none of these days.” Schedule items you need time for.
Setting boundaries helps you manage your energy as well as prioritize.
Take Weekends Off
The idea here is to take weekends off. It doesn’t have to be weekends, but it’s about having a day or two where you have nothing planned and no commitments. This helps you recharge for the rest of your week.