The difference between those who accomplish a great amount and those who don't is simply that more productive individuals have learned how important time management really is. That's according to productivity expert Clay Clark.
Here are 10 time management tips from the expert which can help grow your business.
Is time management really that important?
Time management involves the task of planning and organizing the way that you will organize specific amounts of time during each day. Some of the benefits that come from using this type of technique include:
- Lower stress levels
- An increase in your professional reputation
- Additional advancement opportunities
- More efficiency and productivity
- Better chance of actually reaching your career goals
The time spent practicing better time management techniques can positively impact your entire life, not just your job.
10 time management tips from the pros
There is plenty of information available about time management techniques. There are apps that you can download and software programs you can purchase. There's also as many types of planners as there are days in the year.
The best tips come from people who have already mastered these skills and are willing to share what they have learned with the rest of us.
Here are 10 of the top time management techniques that experts recommend:
- Plan to plan: One key to making the most of your time each day is to plan it out the night before. This way, when you wake up in the morning, you won't need to waste any time trying to decide what to do first. Just stick to your plan.
- Don't skip the calendar: There's a limit to how much information most of our brains can hold onto at once. Instead of planning to remember times, dates, deadlines and important upcoming events, start using a calendar every single day. Be diligent about putting things in your calendar, checking it and maintaining it.
- Skip the multi-tasking: Many of us want to be able to brag about being able to get many things done at the same time. Productivity experts warn that when your focus is divided between several things, nothing actually gets done well. Pick one thing and give it your complete focus in order to be more effective and efficient.
- Know when to decline: It's far too easy to get overwhelmed by taking on too much. One valuable productivity tip is that sometimes, it's ok to just say "no." This becomes considerably harder for business when it involves income but sometimes, saying "no" is the best business move.
- Make the clock your friend: Be sure not to rely on your internal sense of time during the day, or you may end up missing out on something important. When you are involved in a project that requires a lot of concentration, chances are high that you will lose track of time. An easy-to-read clock that is near your workstation can help keep you on schedule. It can also send out audible reminders of upcoming meetings or deadlines while you work.
- Put the blinders on: Chats, instant messages and texts are all valuable ways of communicating in the workplace. But, these tend to take a massive toll on your productivity. When you really need to get things done, ignore all of them until your task is complete.
- Cut your email updates: If you have your email set to update every 5-10 minutes, you are probably feeling as if you spend all day, every day being bossed around by your inbox. Set specific "email checking times" each day and stick to them. Experts have found that you can be more efficient and feel less stressed by breaking that constant inbox habit.
- Stay on top of your deadlines: When you are planning out your day, it may be a good idea to color-code your deadlines for the day, week or month. This way, when you are reviewing your schedule, you will get a bright visual reminder of items that must be done in a timely manner.
- Hand it off: Because your time is important, you need to learn how to assign out tasks that others could easily complete. By doing this, you will leave yourself more time for tasks that are at the top of your priority list.
- Set a time for wasting time: Working long hours at your maximum capacity will accomplish nothing but burnout. Make sure to take time during the day to give your brain a rest. Set a timer and check your social media accounts for 10 minutes. Or, grab a snack and read for half an hour. The break will help recharge and energize you for your next task.
How do you eat an elephant?
While you are working to learn more about time management, remember that the only real way to eat an elephant (accomplish a large task) is to take one small bite at a time.
When you use your time wisely, you can accomplish any task. Be willing to one part at a time in order to tackle each project, task or deadline efficiently.