I DON'T HAVE TIME: Simple time management strategies to get things done.
How many times a day do you make this statement when you have so many things to do? “I don’t have time”
In reality, everyone on this planet has 24 hours. So why is it that some people get a lot more done than others? It’s all about managing your time effectively. Here are some strategies to help you manage your time to get things done.
Use a planner.
Writing down what you have to do is one of the most effective things you can do. If it’s not written down, you’re more likely to forget.
You can use a physical planner or wall calendar. Use a planner that goes with your schedule. If you live by a schedule, using an appointment book style planner works great. If your schedule is a bit more flexible, a weekly planner without the times would be fine. There are a lot of great planners out there. Find one that fits your needs and you’re more likely to use it.
If you prefer, you can use your cell phone calendar or download an app to help you schedule your day. Some apps even let you sync with family members so everyone knows everyone else’s schedule.
Give tasks a deadline.
Having a deadline for when something is supposed to be done by, helps you stay focused. Instead of saying “I’ll do it later” write in your planner the date and time that it needs to get done.
A trick that I like to do when I have a project or bill needs to be taken care of, is to write down that it’s due a day or two before it’s actually due. That way in the event that you were too busy to get to it or simply forget, you actually still have time to get it done.
Break down your tasks into smaller steps.
When we have big tasks to do or multiple things to do, we could easily become overwhelmed. The trick is to break it down into smaller chunks.
For example, if you have to write a report, instead of focusing on the whole report, break it down to two paragraphs, take a break and do another two paragraphs.
Or instead of focusing on cleaning up the whole house, focus on one room at a time.
Take small breaks in between tasks to avoid burnout.
Set a timer for 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, take a short break. For example, do work for 30-45 minutes, then a 10 minute break. Taking small breaks throughout helps you re-energize and stay focused.
Throughout your work day, try taking a short break every hour. This could be watching a short video on YouTube, sitting in silence, taking deep breaths for two minutes, getting up and walking, or whatever you find that relaxes you or re-energizes you.
Have a to-do list.
Don’t make your list 20 tasks long. Instead break down your priorities by must do today and want to do if I get to it.
Try to keep it to 2-3 things in each category. Then do ONE THING AT A TIME. You might think that multi tasking will help you get more done. But multi tasking leads to mistakes, wasting more time than if you had done it correctly in the first place.
Look at your to list and ask “is there anything I can have someone else do” or ask “who could help me with this”?
There’s no need for you to do everything if you don’t have to. Doing the laundry, cleaning up and running errands are all things family members could do.
Our environment affects our mood. If you have a lot of clutter in your environment, it’ll be less motivating to get things done.
Clean up your desk or room. Put away clothes that have been laying around. Throw or give away things that you have no use for.
Having a lot of clutter around you blocks the flow in a room as well as in your mind.
This is why you always feel “lighter” and more clear after you clean up a room.
Try to implement at least one of these strategies this week. With some practice, you can learn to manage your time effectively in order to get things done.
About the author.
Liza J Alvarado is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice. She serves Adolescents, Adults, and Spanish speaking families in the Lehigh Valley, PA area.