7 Time Management Strategies to Help You Tame Your Time

Time management is something most of us struggle with as we try to juggle careers and families. We march through our day feeling like we’re busy but look back and feel like nothing got done. Try these seven helpful strategies to help you tame your time:

1.    Focus on the right things. – You have too many things on your “to do” list and not enough time to cross them all off. It is time to prioritize! When you spend a lot of time putting out urgent fires, the important tasks get pushed down the list. Author Stephen Covey designed a Time Management matrix that helps to define the differences. Use this tool to help you understand what is truly important and what to focus on.

2.    Have a planning system. – There are almost as many different planning systems as there are people that use them and what works for one person may not work for another. Determine the system that works best for you and stick to it. Devise a system that helps you keep track of your schedule and your “to do” list so that you always know where you need to be and what you need to get done.

3.    Audit your time. – In the same way that you balance your expenses (hopefully), you should balance your time. Take a look back at where your time was spent the past week and identify the areas that consumed the most of it. The things that you spend your time on should be in line with your goals and values. If that is not the case, it is time to start delegating and saying “no”.

4.    Get (and stay) organized. – Disorganization is a big time-stealer. If you are unorganized, you will spend valuable time trying to find things that you could be spending actually accomplishing things. There are a many different systems for organization, but they all start with decluttering. Don’t let things pile up! If you find yourself touching the same pile repeatedly just to move it around, you know it’s time to get organized! As soon as you pick something up, make an immediate decision to either do it, delegate it or dump it.

5.    Schedule your time. – If something is on your calendar you will show up for it. Take the same approach to the things you want to get done by putting them on your calendar. Schedule your important tasks during the time of day when you are most productive. Think of the “rocks in the jar” analogy. If you fill your jar with the little rocks, you will run out of space for the big rocks. Put the big rocks in first and let the little rocks fill in the gaps.

6.    Delegate! – In both your work life and your home life, there are people around you that can share the load. Enlist their help, make sure they have the tools they need to succeed and acknowledge how much their help means to you. You don’t have to do everything!

7.    Just say “no”! – When you are asked to do something, consider whether it is contributing to your goals and values or taking valuable time away from them. If you spread yourself too thin, the people and tasks that matter the most will not get the best of you. Practice saying, “Let me get back to you.” Then take a moment to evaluate the request and make a decision you can feel good about.

Implement these time management strategies to free up time for the things that matter. When you finally tame your time, you will see improvements in other areas of your life, too.

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