We have all been in a situation where we feel like we have too much to do and too little time. This kind of hectic lifestyle can lead to stress and anxiety and over time may begin to impact your health. Good time management can help you to stay on top of your tasks effectively while leaving you free to relax and unwind at the end of a busy day.
Here are our best five tips to manage your time better and keep calm even when the pressure is on:
1. Set Realistic Goals
It is important to set yourself small goals that you can achieve each day, or you could end up feeling disheartened and demotivated. It is also a good idea to think about your plans in the longer term. What do you want to complete by the end of the week, the month, or the year? Once you have set these goals, think about what you need to do to achieve them and work towards this. Even if you only spend a few minutes each day working towards your long-term goals, it will help to keep you focused and on track.
2. Plan Everything
Spend a few minutes each morning planning your tasks for the day. Categorise them as either urgent and important, non-urgent and important, urgent but not important and neither urgent or important. Try to spend most of your time clearing jobs that are non-urgent but important. This will avoid them becoming urgent and important later, which can leave you panicking at the end of the day.
3. Minimise Distractions
While you may not be able to completely remove interruptions and distractions from your day, there are steps you can take to keep them to a minimum. Social media is one of the biggest causes of procrastination, so avoid it at all costs unless it is vital to your work. Try wearing headphones in the office to block out background conversations, and put up a “do not disturb” sign if you are completing an urgent task which requires your full attention.
4. Practise the Four Ds
The four Ds is a method of dealing effectively with emails, but can be applied to most tasks both in the office and at home.
- Delete – Many emails can be deleted, so keep your inbox organised by doing this straight away. Likewise with your to-do list, if something is no longer important, delete it. This will keep your schedule clear and make you feel calmer and more relaxed.
- Do – If something is urgent, don't put it off. Resolving important tasks as quickly as possible allows you to focus on other tasks without distraction.
- Delegate – If somebody else is able to complete a task, lighten your workload by passing it on.
- Defer – If an important task cannot be completed immediately, schedule in a specific time to deal with it later in the day.
5. Take a Break
Taking time to relax and refocus is an important way to stay alert throughout the day. Take regular breaks to move around and stretch, and try to go outside for some fresh air during your lunch break. It might be tempting to eat at your desk over a few emails but this can lead to tiredness, stress and loss of productivity