Have you ever been cranking through your to-do list, only to think to yourself, “Is that really the time?!” Some days seem to get away from us, as there’s so much on our plate it’s hard to get through it all.
Chances are, you’ve told yourself you’d be better about managing your time but end up repeating the same process over and over. If this sounds familiar, that’s okay! Time management requires practice, as your habits certainly won’t change overnight.
Luckily, there are a handful of things you can do to become more productive and efficient, so burnout isn’t something you experience daily. When you adequately manage your time, you’ll find success both personally and professionally.
Here’s what you can do to manage your time wisely and create more space in your schedule.
Analyze your current schedule
If you want to be better about managing your time, you need to take a close look at how you’re currently spending it. Consider using a spreadsheet to log your time and see how you’re spending each part of your day. Whether it’s taking work calls, finishing laundry, or scrolling through social media, get clear on how your schedule looks.
This exercise will not only help you see which tasks are taking up the most time (that you can hopefully delegate to someone else – more on that later!) but what time of day you’re most productive. For some women, it’s being up before the sun to start working, while for others, it’s their motivation truly kicks in after the sun sets. Whichever category you fall into, it’s vital to maximize this time!
Step up your prioritizing
Though creating a long to-do list might be cathartic, it doesn’t actually do much for you in terms of strategically managing your time. So instead of making a running list, think about using a prioritization method such as the Eisenhower Matrix to organize your tasks. This matrix consists of four quadrants:
- Important and urgent: These are essential work tasks that must be completed ASAP as they have firm deadlines. For example, a time-sensitive request from your boss.
- Important but not urgent: These tasks are important but don’t need to be the first thing on your to-do list. For example, exercising.
- Urgent but not important: These tasks feel urgent but aren’t important. For example, a work call that runs for 60 minutes with unnecessary chitchat, despite having been scheduled for 30 minutes.
- Not urgent and not important: These tasks hold little to no value and should be eliminated if possible. For example, checking social media.
By categorizing your tasks, you’ll better understand what you need to do and when you need to do it. Once you do this, you can get rid of those “not urgent and not important” tasks, creating more space in your schedule.
Get comfortable saying “no”
If you’re a people pleaser, this one can be tough! We understand. But it’s essential to learn if you’re hoping to create more time for yourself, your loved ones, and your wellbeing. Those who properly manage their time understand their workload and know what they can realistically take on. On the other hand, those who battle with burnout and overwhelm often say yes to any project and favor that’s thrown their way.
Saying no might not come easy to you, which is why it’s essential to practice. If you find yourself automatically saying yes to everything, you might respond too quickly to requests without considering whether you have the capacity. To get better at this, wait at least one hour before committing to a new project. Ask yourself things like:
- Do I truly have time for this in my schedule?
- Is this something that I will enjoy doing?
- Am I saying yes because I want to or because I feel like I have to?
Once you know the answer to those, saying no will come easier! Know that it’s okay to say no. It doesn’t make you a bad person. Instead, it improves your time management skills and allows you to put yourself first for once.
Text messages, social media notifications, endless emails – they all impact how we spend our time and whether or not we spend it wisely. If you’re looking to create more space in your schedule, it’s time (pun intended!) to focus on what distracts you from getting things done. It might be the TV show you have on in the background or the lure of swiping through Instagram stories. Regardless of the distraction, make a list of things that prevent you from being productive and ways in which you can eliminate them.
For example, if you love picking up a good book but find it’s impacting your time management skills, allow yourself to sit down and read once every morning, afternoon, and evening – but only when you finish specific tasks. Using these guilty pleasures as a reward system will motivate you to get things done instead of letting distractions pull you in different directions.
Resist the urge to multitask
Though you might feel like Superwoman when you jump from task to task, the unfortunate reality is that a multitasking habit is actually decreasing your productivity. Don’t believe us? Researchers have actually done psychological studies on the matter!
When you try to do two things at once, your brain has difficulty processing the distinct inputs from each task. For example, if you try to crank out a few emails while listening to a business podcast, you’re not 100% focused on either one. Each activity competes for your attention, so neither one gets the full amount. It can be hard to resist but avoid multitasking to boost productivity and effectiveness.
As you take a look at your current schedule, ask yourself these questions:
- Is there someone who can help me complete this task?
- Who would I feel comfortable asking for help here?
- Do I prefer to handle this independently, or would I be okay relinquishing control?
We’re guessing there are a handful of tasks on your to-do list that someone else can take off your plate. Maybe it’s having your partner prep ingredients for dinner or asking your kids to pick up their own clothes. Professionally, it might mean having someone take notes for you if there’s a call or two you don’t really need to attend. Think about where you can ask for help, and don’t be afraid to do so! Delegation will free up a lot of space in your schedule.
Have your own space
One of the best ways to properly manage your time is by having a space that’s entirely your own – a place where you can leave distractions behind and focus on what you truly need to get done. At Timber Garden Cabins, our cabins will allow you to move forward instead of staying stuck in the same spot.
We understand that the thought of adding onto your current space or moving entirely is enough to make your head spin – which is exactly why we make the process easy and seamless. You’ll choose a blueprint that works for you, and we’ll handle the rest. You’ve got enough going on already!
See how adding a new space for yourself will add even more space to your schedule by learning more today. It’s time you have a place where you can focus on yourself, prioritize self-care, and finally get things done!