It’s the one thing we all have the same amount of—24 hours in a day. For many of us, it seems like we don’t have enough of it, while others seem to have plenty.
So, what’s the secret to managing your time? Short of some Harry Potter-esque wizardry, there isn’t one “secret” that will magically make you more time-efficient and work better. You may think it’s a matter of “willpower,” or some other buzzword, but it really isn’t. However, there are some hacks you can use to not just manage but optimize your time on a daily basis.
What most people think of as “time management” is actually more about optimizing their time and eliminating wasted time. Taking control of your time and using it wisely goes a long way in helping you become more efficient, and maybe just a little happier, too. Whether it’s setting up your coffee at night before bed, packing your lunch and your messenger bag for a faster way out the door, managing your time for optimal use and less wasted time can help you have better days every day.
You may believe you’re being productive and efficient. Chances are that you’re not as efficient as you think. A distraction from what you’re working on can mean as long as 25 minutes before you return to what you were doing.
Examine your day and find out exactly where you’re spending your time, and how it differs from your calendar and your to-do list. While nobody can sit and work 8 hours straight, you’ll need to recognize when the 15-minute break becomes 30 or 45 minutes.
Another point to consider: what can you do today that will free up time later? Once you’ve audited your time to discover your lapses, try to work ahead. Look at your task list for tomorrow or the next week and knock out some of them that free up some time tomorrow or later.
Maybe you already have a to-do list, or one has been handed to you. You may be wondering what you need to do most.
One of the simplest options available is called the Eisenhower Box (or Eisenhower Matrix, also promulgated by Steven Covey.) This simple graph can be used for large-scale planning as well as daily to-do list planning. The box is separated into four smaller boxes, where you decide:
Once you begin using it, you’ll have a better idea of what you need to do versus what you don’t necessarily need to deal with.
Think about it—you already have a few, like eating breakfast and brushing your teeth. Developing more routines for the things that you need to do helps you develop habits that you want. For instance, if you’re still trying to “find time for exercise,” you’ll need to develop the habit of exercising daily. Whether that means getting up earlier, skipping the evening news, or climbing on an exercise machine while you watch the news, once you get started and it becomes a habit, exercising becomes easier.
Maybe you get your best work done early, before the world wakes up, loading up emails and ringing the phone. You may prefer to have meetings one day a week or schedule them after lunch. Whatever routine works for you—and your energy level—is how you should schedule your day and work accordingly.
But developing new habits and routines can be difficult. They’re automatic behaviors that can be difficult to change. Discovering your current habits and where your time is going gives you the information you need to change them.
We’ve all done it—sneak a quick look at our emails, social media, or the news that you know can turn into a 90-minute time vacuum. That’s 90 minutes that you could have been using to be productive and getting work done.
But staying focused with a wide range of distractions—especially when working remotely—is difficult to sustain. The answer—block yourself off from them.
Apps like Freedom and browser plugins like WasteNoTime for Safari and Chrome will literally prevent you from going to any websites or apps you need to stay away from. RescueTime is a complete-time tracking and management system that not only blocks off distracting apps but keeps track of everything you do so you can see where your time is actually going. You may discover that the trip to social media was “just a few minutes” when it was actually 30 minutes.
Have you ever left work and thought to yourself, “what did I actually do today?” Wouldn’t you like to get up in the morning and not feel like you’re herding cats when you get to the office? To go home from work and not think about work tomorrow, or today’s unfinished work? Analyzing what you do all day can help you:
Whatever you do, time will continue. It always does. You can keep letting it get past you, or you can have the time you need.
Actually, it’s a lot like exercise. The best time management hack is the one you’ll use regularly. Whether you start tomorrow’s to-do list at 4:00 pm, using the Pomodoro technique or just getting up earlier, developing new habits goes a long way to contributing to your productivity and letting you enjoy what you like when you’ve finished for the day.
What should you always have time for? Yourself. There’s no better way to invest in yourself than SAP training that will take you to a new career in IT.
Now is a great time to start or further your SAP career. Michael Management has helped more than 300,000 people change their careers by training and becoming SAP certified. Our YouTube channel has 75 videos on tutorials, intros, and instructions on SAP so you can see more before jumping in. Contact us to find out how you can learn SAP for a new, competitive career.