If you find yourself constantly saying something along the lines of “I can’t, I just don’t have time!” you might be selling yourself short. While it’s easy to get excessively busy and feel pressed for time, you can’t put your life on hold and wait until things turn around. Instead, you need to take control of your time and make it work for you, rather than the other way around.
10 effective time management tips
If you’re struggling with too much to do and not enough time, here are some smart time management tips on how to eliminate “I don’t have time” from your vocabulary:
1. Get up earlier
Many creative people throughout history have risen before everyone else to get their work done. Regardless of whether that work is writing, painting, or building, there’s something magical about being up for a few hours when nobody needs you and your time is all your own.
Even if you’ve never been a morning person, start getting up an hour or two earlier. While the change will take some getting used to, you’ll soon find that it’s easier to do things you’re typically “too busy” for.
For example: exercising, enjoying a good book and a cup of coffee, or working on your passion project.
2. Eliminate common time-wasters
One of the best ways to earn yourself more time on a daily basis is to eliminate common time-wasters. Surfing social media, checking your email every five minutes, and having long, drawn-out phone calls with co-workers or superiors is an easy way to have your time soaked up fast. If you need help limiting your social media time, for example, install a temporary website blocker. SelfControl is an app which will temporarily block social media, so you‘re not tempted to waste your time surfing.
If your time-waster is email, consider batch-checking your email instead of checking it every few minutes. In addition to allowing you to focus on the tasks at hand, this will also help you uncover lots of unused time in the day.
3. Stop watching TV
People who watch television waste an average of five hours each day. This amounts to more than 20 hours each week of lost time. Just imagine what you could accomplish if you cut out this needless habit! If you can’t cut your TV habit cold turkey, start cutting back or tempering it by watching TV while you do something worthwhile.
This can be cleaning the house, checking those emails on your phone, or organizing paperwork. This will allow you to get more out of each day without sacrificing a lot in the process.
4. Make the most of your in-between time
Do you have a long commute, lots of time spent waiting for appointments, or waiting at your kids’ various activities and obligations? Maximize this downtime by doing something other than surfing Instagram on your phone.
By using these odd, in-between chunks of time to catch up on emails, pay bills, or organize events, etc., you can find more wiggle room in your daily life and start eliminating “I don’t have time” from your vocabulary.
5. Listen to books, podcasts, or take classes
One great way to make the most of your time is to listen to things you would otherwise read or watch. Today, it’s possible to get podcasts, classes, and books downloaded on your phone in an instant. Listening to them during your commute or gym time is a great way to squeeze in some extra learning without having to make additional time for it.
6. Take breaks more frequently
Why would you take breaks if you already feel like you don’t have time? The answer is simple: taking regular breaks makes you more efficient, and can have a significant boost on your productivity. When you allow yourself to take small breaks throughout the day, you prevent burn-out and allow yourself to be more productive on a daily basis.
7. Learn to say “no”
If you find yourself consistently pressed for time and nothing you do seems to be helping, learn to say “no.” While you can consciously decide to leave yourself the most valuable or exciting projects, it’s still critical to learn to pick and choose. This will make it easier to manage your time efficiently and prevent overwhelm.
8. Develop a dedicated workspace
If you work from home, pick a workspace and stick to it. Even if this space is the kitchen table or a nook in the bedroom, it’s essential to separate your professional and leisure lives. By developing a designated “work area,” you’ll make it easier to focus and avoid distractions.
9. Make time for exercise
Exercise helps boost your energy and improve your mental clarity. It can be tough to make time for exercise when you’re already quite busy. However, it’s a critical step toward ensuring your future productivity and efficiency. Regardless of whether you need to wake up at the crack of dawn to get to the gym, make sure that you create time for it.
At least 30 minutes of cardio each day, and at least three strength training exercises a week are the recommendations for a healthy body and mind.
10. Evaluate your to-do list
If you’re like most people, your to-do list contains several inefficiencies. To save yourself time each day, evaluate it and locate areas where tasks can be consolidated or removed. Or investigate where you can outsource something to someone else. By auditing your to-do list on a regular basis, you can reclaim your time and prevent excess business from piling up.
Time management for busy people
While everyone says “I don’t have time” at one point or another, it’s an invalid excuse that only keeps you from reaching your dreams. To achieve great things, you need to build an effective time management strategy and learn to eliminate inefficiencies from your schedule. By following these ten tips, you can boost the amount of time you have and work more efficiently each day.
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