Time Management Tips
Normally I’d write an intro and explain why you need to better manage your time, but you know that – after all, you’re reading this blog! So, let’s cut to the chase and explain why doing these 4 simple things can help you get more done AND focus more clearly on the task at hand.
Get it out of your head
The first thing to do is get all of your tasks and items out of your head. If all your ‘to-do’ items are in your head, they’ll distract you when you’re working through your tasks, making it harder to fully focus. It’ll be more difficult to prioritise tasks and there’s a chance you’ll forget something. So, start by writing down all tasks, thoughts and questions. If you’re not used to doing this, you’ll probably be surprised at how much focus you’ll regain, simply by knowing that everything important is recorded and being worked through.
Use whatever system or app works best for you. There are tons of apps which help you organise lists and prioritise tasks, but I often find pen and paper works best. The ‘Bullet Journal’ approach is a favourite of mine, its free and all you need is a pen and notebook.
Prioritise your tasks
So, you’ve got all your tasks written down, but how do you know what you should work on first? There’s a really simple technique that a lot of people refer to as the 4 Ds: Do, Diary, Delegate, Ditch.
To determine which category each task should fit into, ask these two simple questions:
- How urgent is the task?
- How important is the task?
Then if a task is:
- important and urgent, do it now
- important but not urgent, put it in the diary for later
- not important and urgent, delegate it
- not important and not urgent, ditch it
We’ve also put together a short (we promise!) video on this technique (https://skilful.co/quicktips/TimeManagement).
When you work, how focussed are you really? Sometimes little distractions can add up and cost you extra time and focus. If you keep your phone on your desk, be sure to manage how it distracts you. Most of us have phones full of apps which like to grab our attention throughout the day, so unless these are important, set your phone to silent or disable the notifications in the phone’s settings.
Music can help when you’re working on something quite repetitive, but if you really need to focus, make sure your music isn’t distracting you. If you’re constantly playing air guitar or drumming on your desk while trying to work, maybe it is! Some tasks require more focus than others, so make sure your music doesn’t clash with what you’re working on.
Try to be aware of the little distractions which all add up, and minimise or manage them where possible.
Stop putting things off
Most of us have a couple of tasks which we keep putting off. It might not be something that important, or even difficult, but for some reason, you just don’t want to do it. Refer back to our ‘Prioritise’ section and stick to your decision. If you don’t, it’ll keep nagging at your focus, and might even turn into a bigger, more urgent task.
There’s no magic formula or silver bullet to productivity – most of it comes down to common sense and just getting on with things.
Right, we’ll let you crack on! Good luck!