I don’t know about you, but when life gets super busy for me, my world can fall apart if I don’t have a good time management plan in place. I am a procrastinator (I’m able to perform well under pressure, so it’s been hard to stop), but I’ve had to learn how to break that cycle so that I can continue to get more sh*t done. I will never be one of those people that sticks to a strict regime, but I do know that in order to achieve some of the goals that I have for myself, I have to master my time management so that I don’t lose momentum.
Whether you’re trying to pursue a career or simply get more things done around the house, here are a few time management hacks that I’ve learned through the years that really help me get the most out of my day.
Make a realistic to-do list (but don’t stop there)
Whenever I have a lot that I need to get done, I make a list and put everything in order based on priority. Once I do that, I look at what my work/social schedule is for the week ahead and schedule tasks based on those days. I’ve found that when I do this, I don’t get overwhelmed by my list and still feel like I can have some down time. Contrary to popular belief, most humans are NOT good at multi-tasking, so instead of trying to to do multiple things at once, I spread them out and use those “free moments” to actually do something leisurely (like read a book or magazine) vs. trying to do something that I can’t really concentrate on. I feel much more accomplished when I do this.
Work in dedicated blocks of time for large projects
Batching, whether it be for blog work or to clean my home, makes tasking so much easier. When you give yourself a block of time to finish certain projects (like wash your hair, or take pictures for your blog), you subconsciously trick your brain into doing a countdown. So if you know that you only have 3 hours to do xyz, you’re much more focused while you’re working because you’ve given yourself an (unofficial) deadline. I know that I can be easily distracted sometimes, so I add a little cushion to the block of time so that if I’m done early, I can take a break before I’m on to the next thing.
Avoid taking a break as soon as you get home
If you have any chores that you need to complete around the house, do NOT sit down or take a break as soon as you get home. Every single time I’ve done this, I wind up losing track of time and either not doing the task or going to bed super late because I procrastinated. Now, if I know I need to do anything at home and I’ve been gone all day, I put my bags down and immediately get to work as soon as I walk through the door. The things that I need to do usually don’t take that long, but washing dishes at 7pm is a LOT easier than doing them at 11pm so I try not to waste time.
Listen to music or a podcast while you work
Some people can play movies or television shows in the background while they work, but I do much better with music or a podcast. If I’m cleaning, I’ll inevitably sit down and watch TV (especially if it’s a movie or show that I really like), but if I listen to a playlist or podcast then it’s easier for me to stay focused and finish things up. This also helps with batch jobs because you know how much time you have to complete each project before whatever you’re listening to ends.
Limit social media
Mindlessly scrolling on social media is a time suck and habit that’s so hard to break. We are all addicted to our phones in some capacity, and it’s part of the reason why it’s so hard to get things done. If you’re someone that has to use their phone for work or to find potential clients, it’s easier said than done to reduce your screen time, but the biggest thing to remember is that you can’t create if you’re watching what everyone else is doing. Putting my phone in a separate room isn’t realistic, but giving myself designated times to check email and social media helps. I check email and try to only look at certain accounts in the morning while I’m prepping for the day (some people say don’t do this but this works for me), and then again for lunch and in the evening once I’m done with everything. I don’t have any notifications outside of text messages to disturb me, so unless I’ve recently posted something and need to engage with my audience or have an important email I’m waiting on, I can step back from my phone and be more present.
Implementing these time management hacks can be hard sometimes, but they makes a huge difference in my productivity levels when I’m able to do them consistently.