Over the 25 years that I’ve worked in corporate environments and coached entrepreneurs, people have always looked to improve their time management skills.
As a coach, people often come to me because they feel they don’t have enough time to achieve everything they want to each day. They are busy, but not working on the things that give them great joy or make a real impact in their business and life.
Being in constant action all day long is the norm. They are stuck in an endless cycle of busyness and filling up time with tasks.
One of the things I’ve noticed about busy work is that it doesn’t make people more productive or creative. In fact, it creates more complication and complexity.
Dealing with emails, going to numerous meetings, multi-tasking and working on low value activities is often not the best use of your time.
What if there was a different way to think about how you manage your time? Do you wish you could manage your time more effectively and finish each day being satisfied with what you’ve achieved?
There are a few simple time-management strategies that busy people can use to become more effective, productive and get more of the most important things done.
Below are 8 time management strategies that busy people can implement right now to simplify their lives and change how they think about managing their time.
1. Take a Time Audit
If you want to take control of your time, the first step is to understand how you are spending your time right now.
You can’t make a change until you have clarity on where you are and what’s working and what’s not working?
This audit gives you a big picture view of the value you are creating and the results you are delivering V the time you are investing in each project or task. It will help you simplify everything so you can understand very quickly whether you are using your time productively or not.
When my coaching clients conduct a time audit they usually do this for seven days straight and I would recommend the same for you.
How to Conduct a Time Audit
- Get a blank piece of paper
- Put a date at the top
- Draw three lines down the page
- Title the First Column ‘High Value Work’
- Title the Second Column ‘Good Work’
- Title the Third column ‘Low Value Work”
High Value Work is work that you love to do, that you’re great at. It is work that delivers the biggest results.
Good Work is work that you enjoy. It delivers good results but is work that is often repetitive and someone else could do equally well or better
Low Value Work doesn’t excite you and probably frustrates you. It doesn’t deliver great results, lowers your energy levels and could be stopped or given to someone else.
For each project or task that you undertake assign it to one of the three columns with the name of the work and the amount of time spent.
At the end of the 7 days, total up the amount of time spent in each column and on each project.
This can be an eye opening exercise. At the end of the audit, look for ways to improve how you spend your time. Ask yourself how can you spend more time doing High Value Work that creates the biggest impact, brings more joy and deliver the results you want.
2. Set Time Management Goals
Without a clear vision or goals, it can become easy to drift, lose focus and become distracted.
By creating clarity on where you are now and where you want to get to, it becomes much easier to focus your time on the high value activities that will help you achieve your goals.
Through setting specific, measurable goals, you can clearly identify what your ideal future looks like, and create a plan and path to get there.
With this clarity, you can simplify everything. You are clear on your destination and know the best way to manage your time, resources and people to get there,
By understanding what you do best and what can create the biggest impact, you gain greater clarity on how best to use your time as well as who else can help you achieve your goals.
Mastering your time is partly about what changes you can make. It is also about who can help you become even more effective.
Setting goals can give you the willpower and motivation to move forward in the right direction, saving you time and reducing busyness and procrastination.
Set goals for every 90 day period and then review your performance at the end of that cycle. Review what worked and what breakthroughs you achieved. Then set up your next 90-day goals.
Learn more about setting goals to get things done in this article: 17 Smart Tips on Setting Goals to Get More Done