Time management doesn’t have to be a mystery; in fact, with these five hacks, you’ll be able to successfully manage both work and home for maximum efficiency.
Time management is an invaluable skill for anyone, whether you’re a freelancer or a stay-at-home parent. Keep reading to learn more about these five creative time management hacks so you can slay your to-do list and schedule your work better.
1 – Consistent Sleep Schedule
It’s a known fact that those who rise early get more accomplished during the day. In fact, it could be argued that getting a consistent sleep schedule in order is the most important hack for creating a better time management routine.
Without the right amount of sleep, you’ll feel groggy and lack energy throughout the day; something many people try to remedy with coffee and sugar.
Unfortunately, these methods always end up with the same result: an eventual crash leaving you feeling more tired than before you drank the beverage!
A good way to start getting better sleep is to ensure your room is sufficiently dark and your bed is comfortable. Once you’ve arranged your sleep environment for maximum comfort, turn off your electronics before you go to sleep.
The light from phone, tablet, and computer/tv screens actually helps keep you awake. Opt for a book instead.
Now that you’ve gotten a comfortable environment and winding down routine in place, it’s time to set a sleep and wake cycle. Be sure to follow the same time every day of the week. Obviously, there will be occasions where you simply can’t make your bedtime, and that’s ok.
Overall though, you should be going to bed and waking up at the same time pretty much every day of the month.
A 10:30 bedtime and a 6:30 wake up time is a great place to start for those that are new to the idea. It may take several weeks to adjust, so you’re likely going to have to discipline yourself to keep with it.
2 – Set Hard Deadlines
Soft deadlines leave too much wiggle room. In order to get the most out of your efforts, you’ll want to set hard deadlines for your projects. Aim to finish early (without sacrificing the quality of work) to give yourself a sense of discipline and completion.
If you have a project due next Thursday, aim to have it done by Wednesday. This will train your mind to expect deadlines to always be one day ahead of schedule, creating more consistency in your work and your time management skills.
This skill can also apply to at-home projects like laundry and the like. Set deadlines for your chores or household projects, and you’ll likely experience the same results; more consistency and less procrastination.
Remember that procrastination is the thief of time. Using your favorite time tracker tool can also help you stay on track and give you something to review once you’re finished; providing a solid foundation from which to create new time management habits.
3 – Hold Yourself Accountable
If you don’t hold yourself accountable for your actions, how can you possibly improve yourself? While it’s usually our first instinct to make excuses for ourselves, as well as the easier alternative to true self-reflection, it serves no real purpose but to create false reasons for why we didn’t reach our goals.
The fact is, you didn’t reach your goals because of your own actions, and that’s ok. Remove that negative connotation you have with failure. Failure is not what it seems to be.
Failure is not utter and complete defeat, but rather a chance to learn better techniques and to get up and try again. Hold yourself accountable when you fail. Pick yourself back up, and try again with the new lessons you’ve learned. Don’t let failure hold you back, and absolutely do not make excuses for yourself!
4 – Turn off Your Notifications
Time management can be nearly impossible if your phone is constantly going off. In a world of constant communication, wanting to keep up with every single notification becomes something of an addiction; sucking precious time and energy away from us to meet the demands of an endlessly hungry digital leech.
Try turning off your notifications just for a few hours the next time you’re working. Refrain from succumbing to the need to check your phone; it can wait.
What we have begun to view as urgent information is usually little more than a rant from a Facebook friend or a new variation of the same selfie on Instagram. The quality of your work is much more important, and the post(s) will still be there when you’ve finished.
5 – Protect Your Working Hours and Space
The environment is a huge component of successful time management. If you’re surrounded by distractions, you’ll find it’s nearly impossible to be truly productive. That’s why it’s so important to minimize distractions and secure your workspace from intrusions.
If you’re working from home, dedicate an entire room to be your workspace; preferably with a door on it so you can’t see the TV or fridge. The fewer distractions you have on hand in your workspace, the more focused you’ll be (this includes your cellphone).
Eliminating distractions and securing a secure work environment is a strong step toward better time management. Don’t forget to adhere to a specific sleep schedule, and use apps and tools to help you better plan out your days and your workload for maximum efficiency.