Do you have a lot to get done, but you don’t know where to start? So many people think they do not have enough time to do the things they need and want to do. Most people, however, just need to learn to manage their time better. If you have a super-long to-do list it can be overwhelming to figure out how to fit it all into your day. Below are 35 simple time management tips that will skyrocket your productivity.
You do not have to implement all of these tips to be successful. Feel free to pick one or two that resonate with you and start there. Even utilizing a few of the techniques on this list will help you make your day more manageable.
Once you master a few, you can move on and choose a couple more to work on later. It doesn’t matter what you have going on, whether at work or at home, these time management tips are sure to make you more productive.
People are busier today than ever before. Sometimes we go so far as to glorify busy as if taking on too much is a badge of honor that we should wear proudly.
We have to be careful about how we choose to spend our time. It is so important to manage your time well, so you can spend more time on the things that truly matter. I hope you have a good idea of what that is for you, so you can focus your efforts accordingly.
35 Simple Time Management Tips
Use the time management tips below to help you get more done during the day, so you have more time to spend on the things you love.
1 // Wake up early
One of the best ways to get more done during the day is to utilize the morning hours before everyone else is awake. The rest of the world is quiet early in the morning, so there are fewer distractions. This is the perfect time to read a book, go for a run, or work on a side hustle or passion project. Click here for 10 ways to trick yourself into waking up early.
2 // Have a morning and evening routine
A streamlined morning and evening routine will help you start and end your day on the right note. What you add to your morning routine should fill your cup and prepare your heart and mind for a good day ahead. What you add to your evening routine should be whatever it is that might make your mornings run more smoothly.
3 // Know your priorities and honor them
You have to know your priorities and how to structure your days according to what’s important to you or you will be left burned out and overwhelmed. This is no way to live your life. If you need help with this, click here to read more about how to create a daily routine that honors your priorities.
4 // Create a daily schedule
We all have things that must be done each and every day. Sometimes we forget to make time for them or we choose to focus on things that seem more urgent at the time. Creating a daily schedule will show you how to design your day and streamline the tasks that don’t need extra brain power.
5 // Use a calendar or day planner
A calendar or day planner is a powerful tool if used correctly. The key here is to use it and refer to it often. Your calendar should house all of your appointments, but it can also be used to map out your schedule and your to-do list. Writing everything down in your calendar or day planner will show what you can accomplish in a day and what you might need to postpone to another day.
6 // Utilize time blocking
If you’ve never heard of time blocking, think of it as a budget for your time. You decide how you are going to spend your time before you spend it, which maximizes your level of productivity. This technique completely changed how I schedule my days and enabled me to spend time on the things I love without feeling guilty because I know I have allotted time for the tasks that need to get done as well. Click here to read more on time blocking.
7 // Learn to say no
Sometimes you have to say no to some things to make room for the things that are more important to you in this season of life. That’s why it’s helpful to know exactly what your priorities are, so you can say no when necessary. Just because something is a “no” now doesn’t mean it can’t be a “yes” later. Saying no isn’t always easy, so you have to keep the end goal in mind.
8 // Plan ahead
Once you create a daily schedule and begin to map out your day using time blocking, you need to then decide what you will do with those blocks of time. The key is to do this before it’s time to do the work. You don’t want to spend the time you set aside to work trying to figure out what you want to accomplish. Instead of planning to clean, plan to sweep and mop the floors, for example.
9 // Plan time to plan
If you want to have a good system in place for getting things done, you need to set aside some time to plan. I used to wonder why I always felt behind even though I had a set schedule in place. It turned out, I was forgetting to plan the time needed to plan ahead. There’s a saying that says failing to plan is planning to fail. I have found so much truth in this concept. You will be so much more productive if you know exactly what you need to accomplish during a set amount of time.
10 // Set a timer
Setting a timer works well for tasks you need to focus your undivided attention on as well as things that might be considered distractions. If you tend to get distracted by social media, for example, allow yourself to spend a certain amount of time scrolling and set a timer. You can also set a timer to alert you when it’s time to move from one task to another.
11 // Stop procrastinating
When I feel overwhelmed, I usually end up procrastinating because it’s the easiest way to take my mind off of all the ways I feel like I’m falling behind. The effects of procrastination are more harmful than we realize. Even the smallest problems that result from procrastination can cause a snowball effect leading to bigger problems down the road. And it’s not just you that feels the effects of your own procrastination. It spills over into other areas of your life, affecting those around you as well. If you struggle with procrastination, click here for seven tips to help you stop procrastinating and get things done.
12 // Set reminders
If I don’t write things down, I will forget every single time. If I know I have a task that needs to be done on a certain date, I set a reminder on my phone. Receiving a specific alert helps to prevent things from falling through the cracks. I use this tool to remind me of things that I don’t want taking up space on my calendar, but I know I cannot forget.
13 // Focus on one thing at a time
You can get so much more done if you focus on one thing at a time. Have you ever felt so busy throughout the day, yet at the end of the day it seems as if you never really accomplished anything at all? This is probably because you had your attention spread out between too many different tasks. Focusing all of your attention and energy on a single task will help you accomplish more in a shorter period of time.
14 // Know when to multitask
There are times when it is good to multitask. Listening to a podcast during your commute or while you are folding laundry is an effective use of time and a good time to multitask. You are learning while accomplishing something else that doesn’t require a lot of brain power. This is different than bouncing from one task to another without finishing anything.
15 // Track your time
A good way to figure out how you are spending your time is to track your time by writing down what you do every minute of every day. This will open your eyes to how much time you waste and what it is that distracts you the most. You will usually find that you have a lot more time available to you than you thought. Tracking your time will show you what adjustments you need to make to your schedule and what you need to eliminate to make time for what matters most.
16 // Stop worrying about perfection
Done is better than perfect. We often spend more time than we need to on a task because it doesn’t meet our standard of perfection. Determine if the task is good enough as is and move on as soon as possible.
17 // Delegate when you can
If you feel overwhelmed by all that you need to do, ask for help. You do not need to do everything yourself. If there is something that makes your life more stressful than necessary, ask yourself if you can delegate it and follow through.
18 // Batch your work
Batching your work allows you to focus on one thing at a time and can be applied to almost anything. Take cleaning, for example. Instead of cleaning one room at a time, get more specific. Clean all of the countertops in the house, then clean all of the toilets, then clean all of the floors. This keeps you from switching back and forth between tasks, cleaning supplies, etc., which is a more effective use of your time.
19 // Complete the biggest task first
Start your day with the most complicated thing on your to-do list. Stop putting it off and just do it, so you can get it out of your head. You will feel so much better if you get it done and don’t have to worry about it anymore.
20 // Break it down
Break large projects into smaller tasks that are easier to accomplish. Sometimes we avoid a project because it feels too big. What is the first step you need to take to get started? Do that, then decide what needs to happen next. Before you know it, you will have accomplished more than you ever thought possible.
21 // Choose a “top three”
At the beginning of the day, decide what three things must happen no matter what. As long as you accomplish those three things, anything else that happens is a bonus.
22 // Get it out of your head and on paper
Stop holding all of your to-dos in your head. Have a specific place where you write things down as soon as they occur to you and refer to that list when creating your to-do list. You will feel less stressed just by getting things out of your head and on paper.
23 // Use the two-minute rule
If something comes up during the day that you didn’t anticipate decide if you could accomplish it in two minutes or less. If so, go ahead and do it. This will keep the little things from piling up and becoming a bigger problem than necessary.
24 // Stay off of social media
Social media is a valuable tool, but it is also a huge time waster. Set specific times during your day to use social media and stay off it otherwise. When you do use social media, set a timer and stick to it so you don’t end up wasting an hour when you only intended on 15 minutes.
25 // Don’t watch TV
Television is another time waster that you can do without. Leave the TV off during the day and during those times you have dedicated to getting things done.
26 // Turn off notifications
Turning notifications off on your phone will keep you from feeling like you need to respond to every little thing that pops up during the day. You can turn notifications off for everything from social media, to email, to text messages.
27 // Take breaks
Be sure to allow time for breaks, so you don’t burn out. Your brain can only stay focused for a certain amount of time before it loses its effectiveness. Work on something for 25 minutes, then take a five-minute break before you get back to work.
28 // Add margin to your schedule
Adding margin to your schedule means leaving more time than necessary to complete a task. If you think it will take you an hour to do something, schedule an hour and fifteen minutes. Having a built-in buffer will keep you from running late or getting behind on your to-do list.
29 // Automate your tasks
Automate as many things as you can, so you don’t have to complete these tasks yourself. It takes a little more time on the front end, but eliminating items from your to-do list that can run automatically without you having to think about it is life-changing. Automatic bill-pay is one example.
30 // Sort your to-do list
Instead of allowing your to-do list to grow beyond a point that seems manageable, sort your tasks into categories. Split your list into things that you must do, things that you would like to do if you have time and things you might want to do someday. This allows you to get things out of your head and onto paper while helping you manage what items you need to focus on right now.
31 // Keep your space organized
Physical clutter leads to mental clutter. Keeping your space clean and organized will allow you to focus on the task at hand instead of all of the clutter that surrounds you. Take time each day to clear your workspace, so you can start with a fresh slate the next day.
32 // Get enough sleep
You will never be as productive exhausted as you will be well rested. If you need to wake up early to get things done, make sure you go to bed at a time the night before that allows you to get enough sleep to function properly.
33 // Listen to music
Listening to music helps me focus on the task at hand and motivates me to keep going. Whether it’s cleaning or paying bills, music always makes things more fun.
34 // Make healthy choices
You might wonder what this has to do with productivity, but making healthy choices and fueling your body properly will keep your energy level up which in turn makes you more productive. Click here for five productivity tips you haven’t thought of before now.
35 // Review your week
At the end of the week, take time to review what you did accomplish and what you need to follow up with the next week. Also, take notice of what worked and didn’t work with regard to how you scheduled your time. If you are in constant review of what works well and what doesn’t, you can make adjustments as you go.
Now it’s your turn
If you are the type of person who feels like you never have enough time to do the things you want to do, try some of these time management tips to skyrocket your productivity. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Only you can choose how you will spend your time. Spend it wisely.
What do you struggle with the most when it comes to managing your time? Which one of these tips do you plan to try first?