I’m so excited to share this guest post from Patty of WorkingMotherLife.com. When Patty emailed me about guest posting, I thought, “There is no one better to write this post”. Why? Because Patty is a single working mom with a blogging side hustle. If she can get so much done, and stay sane in the process, so can you! Here are her tried-and-true time management strategies.
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s all too easy to feel like you are just barely keeping it together. With a full-time job, it’s often difficult to manage your time effectively, both at work and outside of the office.
In the past, I struggled with managing my time, often finding myself running late for important meetings and appointments, turning in projects late, and staying up late to try to achieve what I need to get done in a given day.
My problem was not that I was overworked: it was that I was managing my time poorly.
With a little energy, I was able to come up with a system to use the time that I do have more effectively. The result is that I am no longer dashing from one place to the next, turning in assignments after deadline, or stressing about when I can possibly get everyone done.
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Here are some of my best tips for how you can make better use of your time.
Take Advantage of Technology
It’s 2017. There is no reason to do everything manually anymore. Outsourcing some mundane tasks to various apps has made my life much easier — and has given me the gift of time. While technology can’t take the place of me physically doing certain chores, it can make it simpler for me to get things done, which can save me valuable minutes and hours each week.
One example of a time-saving technology that I utilize on a near-daily basis is a personal finance app. Most banks now offer apps that allow you to deposit checks, transfer money, pay bills and more. I save a significant amount of time by paying bills as soon as they arrive via the app, depositing checks with a few taps on my screen, and tracking my spending via my phone.
Another great way to use technology to manage your time is through calendar and planning apps. Google Calendar is my favorite, as it allows me to track my schedule through my laptop, phone and tablet. I can set alerts, manage my schedule and more — making sure that I never miss a beat.
Finally, there are a number of apps and websites that let you order restaurant meals, groceries and more with a few clicks. If you’re short of time, this technology can be a boon, allowing you to simply drive up and pick up your order (or even have it delivered). While it isn’t for everyone, using these kinds of short cuts can be essential if you are under a time crunch.
Create a Schedule
As the saying goes, those who fail to plan, plan to fail.
Before I created a schedule for myself, I would flounder through the days and weeks, bumbling from task to task. It was little wonder that few things got accomplished in a timely fashion! Now, I create daily, weekly and monthly schedules so that I know exactly what I need to accomplish and have a game plan for getting it all done.
First, I make a list of overall goals for the month in my planner. These goals are dependent on the time of year and what needs to be done at work and at home. If it’s summer, I may have a big yard work project to do at home; I can block out time on the evenings and weekends to get it done. At work, I may be aware that my boss wants to accomplish a particular goal this quarter, so I can look ahead to how I can get that done over the coming months.
Second, I make a weekly list for the following week at the end of each week. This helps me to understand what I need to get done each week, and the loose timing for each item. At this point, these items are not set in stone, but it is a pretty solid plan for how I want my week to look. Knowing exactly what I should be getting done for the week helps me plot out my time and ensure that I am on track to accomplish my monthly goals.
Third, each evening, I set out a plan for the following day. That way, I know what I should accomplish the next day and can attempt to stick to this plan as best as possible. I set a time limit for each task to help me stay on task, and work to stay on goal.
Ready to clarify your own goal and set up the perfect schedule to achieve it? Grab my free time management toolkit and get started now!
Focus on Your Priorities
Creating priorities is critical to effective time management. Ultimately, there are only so many hours in each day — and we can only do so much. That is why I learned that I had to decide what is important to me, and what I could delegate to others or simply not care about as much.
There are certain choices that each person will have to make for himself or herself in prioritizing time. It may mean deciding that cleaning your house less often is fine, or perhaps that hiring someone to clean is a better use of your time. It may also mean delegating more at work, or realizing that perfection was getting in the way of progress.
Ultimately, making a decision about the things that were most important to me — like getting a report done well and in on deadline, rather than that I did it entirely by myself — made me a better and happier employee.
Similarly, deciding that it was better to have a slightly messy house rather than exhausting myself trying to keep it clean made me much saner outside of work. By focusing on your priorities, you can become better at managing your own time.