In the meantime, here are 15 practical time management tips to help you get started...
1. Write things down
A common time management mistake is to try to use your memory to keep track of too many details leading to information overload. Using a to-do list to write things down is a great way to take control of your projects and tasks and keep yourself organized.
2. Prioritize your list
Prioritizing your to-do list helps you focus and spend more of your time on the things that really matter to you. Rate your tasks into categories using the ABCD prioritization system described in the time management course.
3. Plan your week
Spend some time at the beginning of each week to plan your schedule. Taking the extra time to do this will help increase your productivity and balance your important long-term projects with your more urgent tasks. All you need is fifteen to thirty minutes each week for your planning session.
4. Carry a notebook
You never know when you are going to have a great idea or brilliant insight. Carry a small notebook with you wherever you go so you can capture your thoughts. If you wait too long to write them down you could forget. Another option is to use a digital recorder.
5. Learn to say no
Many people become overloaded with too much work because they overcommit; they say yes when they really should be saying no. Learn to say no to low priority requests and you will free up time to spend on things that are more important.
6. Think before acting
How many times have you said yes to something you later regretted? Before committing to a new task, stop to think about it before you give your answer. This will prevent you from taking on too much work.
7. Continuously improve yourself
Make time in your schedule to learn new things and develop your natural talents and abilities. For example, you could take a class, attend a training program, or read a book. Continuously improving your knowledge and skills increases your marketability, can help boost your career, and is the most reliable path to financial independence.
8. Think about what you are giving up to do your regular activities
It is a good idea to evaluate regularly how you are spending your time. In some cases, the best thing you can do is to stop doing an activity that is no longer serving you so you can spend the time doing something more valuable. Consider what you are giving up in order to maintain your current activities.
9. Use a time management system
Using a time management system can help you keep track of everything that you need to do, organize and prioritize your work, and develop sound plans to complete it. An integrated system is like glue that holds all the best time management practices together.
10. Identify bad habits
Make a list of bad habits that are stealing your time, sabotaging your goals, and blocking your success. After you do, work on them one at a time and systematically eliminate them from your life. Remember that the easiest way to eliminate a bad habit, it to replace it with a better habit.
11. Don’t do other people’s work
Are you in the habit of doing other people’s work because or a ‘hero’ mentality? Doing this takes up time that you may not have. Instead, focus on your own projects and goals, learn to delegate effectively, and teach others how to do their own work.
12. Keep a goal journal
Schedule time to set and evaluate your goals. Start a journal and write down your progress for each goal. Go through your goal journal each week to make sure you are on the right track.
Keeping a journal on your computer has never been easier!
13. Don’t be a perfectionist
Some tasks don’t require your best effort. Sending a short email to a colleague, for example, shouldn’t take any more than a few minutes. Learn to distinguish between tasks that deserve to be done excellently and tasks that just need to be done.
14. Beware of “filler” tasks
When you have a to-do list filled with important tasks, be careful not to get distracted by “filler” tasks. Things such as organizing your bookcase or filing papers can wait until you tackle the items that have the highest priority.
15. Avoid “efficiency traps”
Being efficient doesn’t necessarily mean that you are being productive. Avoid taking on tasks that you can do with efficiency that don’t need to be done at all. Just because you are busy and getting things done doesn’t mean you are actually accomplishing anything significant.