The idea of “making time” for something is a funny one when you think about it: with only 24 hours in our day, the inescapable truth is that it’s impossible for us to make more time than we have. But when you’re trying to tackle a million tasks during your busy workday, the nuances of that concept can easily get lost. Time management has become about bending time to our whims—even though the truth is that the only thing we can manage is our own focus and attention, adapting our use of the time we have available. If you’re trying to reclaim your hectic schedule with better strategies, here are the tactics you need to adjust your focus and concentrate on what matters.
1. Figure Out Where Your Time Is Going
If you feel like you’re always running out of time, the first step is to take a step back and see where all your time is going. Grab a notebook to log your time for a week or so, tracking all of your daily activities. You can also use an app like Toggl to do it digitally if you prefer. With a time audit, you’ll have a better idea of where you get distracted, how long certain tasks take, where you’re wasting time, and when you’re most productive.
2. Create Time Limits for Common Tasks
Once you understand how long common tasks and projects take, try to work out the average amount of time you need for them—and stick to it! For example, you might give yourself two hours to create a blog post or five minutes to respond to an email. It helps you understand when you’re spending too much time on a single task.
3. Make Daily To-Do Lists
If you want to stay on top of your time spent working, it’s crucial to understand how much you have to do on any given day. If you struggle with to-do lists, make sure you have the right strategies in mind and prioritize your tasks as needed.
4. Plan Ahead
They say failing to plan is planning to fail—and that holds true on a daily basis! Going into your day with a clear plan for your time can help you stay organized instead of wandering aimlessly. Either the night before or the morning of your work, spend a few minutes composing your to-do list, checking your calendar, and identifying your priority tasks.
Want to harness the power of the ultimate time-saving method? Get smarter about the art of delegation. Proper delegation helps you and your team become more effective, as long as you use it the right way.
6. Stop Multitasking
It’s tempting to think of multitasking as the ultimate sign of productivity. After all, you’re literally tackling multiple tasks at once—what could be more effective? But research shows that multitasking actually makes us less productive, so cut it out of your wheelhouse of work strategies!
7. Create Buffers Between Tasks
You might think that productivity means spending less time between tasks and meetings, not more. But the truth is that work breaks can help your brain and increase productivity. Even scheduling ten minutes for you to walk and clear your head can help you stay effective as the day wears on.
In the end, the only thing you can do to reclaim your time is to learn to adjust your focus on whatever makes you most productive. With the help of a time audit and some clever planning, you’ll find it easier to boost your effectiveness, day in and day out. Make these part of your ongoing goals for the best results, and don’t forget to check out our other posts for more productivity tips!