Does the day go by in a flash without you getting anything you planned done? If you’re working hard but failing to reach your goals, then it’s likely you need to work on your time management. These tips will help you get back on track. 

#1 Use to-do lists 

It sounds so simple but making a to-do list will help you avoid wasting time trying to remember what it is you need to do next and will stop you from losing track of important tasks. 

You can even aim to be extra organised by writing different lists based on what you need to achieve daily, weekly and monthly so you can get a clearer picture of what needs to get done and in what order. Just remember to score off your completed tasks so you don’t end up panicking if your list hasn’t gotten any shorter! 

#2 Decide on what your priorities are 

Once you have a list of everything you need to do, you should break this down into priorities. This will stop you from wasting time on tasks that can wait until a later date. 

If you’ve got a long list ahead of you it can be tempting to work your way through the tasks that will take the least time first, but this is only cutting down on the time that you have to complete things with a looming deadline. Instead, highlight the things that need done urgently and force yourself to work on those first. You’ll thank yourself when you get these things done well instead of scrabbling around a few hours before they are due. 

#3 Try to estimate how long each task will take 

Sometimes what feels like a 5-minute task can end up eating into a big chunk of your time. Try to avoid getting lost down the rabbit hole by properly thinking about how long it will take. Evaluate how complex it is and if you’ll be waiting for feedback from others and give a realistic timescale of how long it is likely to take. 

Once you complete your tasks, make a note of how long it took you so you can better plan for the next time it comes around. 

#4 Avoid multitasking where possible 

Multitasking sounds like a great way to get things done fast but in practice, it doesn’t really pan out. In reality, it’s just switching between tasks quickly and this can drain your focus, motivation and energy. 

Instead, allocate a set amount of time, say between 20 minutes to an hour, to work on one thing before switching to another. This ensures you can focus on the task you are doing but still have plenty of variation in your day. 

#5 Don’t let little distractions eat up your day 

It’s mid-morning and you’ve just made yourself a nice cuppa and are settling in to get back to work when a new email pops in. You read it and answer it straight away then back to work, but then you get another email, then another, then an IM from your work bestie and suddenly your day has vanished. We’ve all been there, and it’s much easier said than done, but try to ignore little distractions as they pop up. 

Stick to your set timescales for each task and allot 10 minutes out of every hour to deal with whatever pops up in your inbox. Obviously, this isn’t always possible as some things are urgent and will need attending to right away but being able to judge what needs a reply instantly and what can wait will do wonders for your productivity. 

#6 Try not to procrastinate 

We tend to procrastinate when we want to avoid doing something that seems like a big task. You might innocently pop onto social media for a few minutes as a treat before you get started but if you’re not careful it can end up sucking up a lot of your valuable time. 

If you’ve got something on your list that you’re desperate to avoid, try not to think of it as a big scary task. Instead, you should try to break it down into small parts and complete them one at a time so it feels like less of a slog. You might even find that once you get started, you’re more driven to get it finished and even if you aren’t, you’ll still be able to tick a small bit of it off your list when you take a break. 

Managing your time well is a valuable skill to have and one that every employer will be looking for you to demonstrate so it’s worth your while working on getting yourself motivated and organised. You’ll thank yourself in the long run. 

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