In my first few month as a full-time blogger, I learned quite a lot. One of the most important lessons I learned is, that time management is everything and without it, nothing works long term. To get everything under one hat was very hard for me in the first month and often I found myself sitting at my desk, totally frustrated and without any idea where to start first. Family, boyfriend, friends, job and household, everything within a day of only 24 hours? This seemed to be impossible for me and even if I hated the thought, I knew that at least one part of my life had to suffer. But after a few month, with many ups and downs, I found my own rhythm and even if there are phases when I get into time-trouble and wish I could spend more time with my family, it now works a thousand times better than in the beginning. For me, there is nothing worse than time pressure, especially in a job, that is full of deadlines.
Time management is not a talent. It’s a habit that you can learn and practice creates masters. Today I have 10 tips for you for a better time management in your everyday life. I hope, they will help you to keep your stress level low and to make the most out of your time. Enjoy!
1. Plan and organize your day
Take the first 30 minutes of your working day to create a plan and structure of your day. The most important time of the day is the one where you schedule your tasks. List all your to do’s for the particular day by priority. So you can start your working day stress-free. This makes your day tremendously more relaxed since you have a general overview of all the things you have to get done and which tasks you should work on first (find more to-do-list-tips here).
2. Don’t get distracted
Especially if you are working in the online business, it isn’t easy not to check Facebook or Instagram from time to time. Until lately, I always used the excuse that, after all, it’s a part of my job to be up to date on my social media channels. Although Social Media is definitely a big issue in my job, it’s not necessary to be online 24/7 and to scroll through the feeds every 30 minutes. It’s super unproductive and costs a lot of time. In no time, you have lost your focus and can’t concentrate on what you were actually working on. What personally helps me is, to put my smartphone far away from my working space when I’m on a task, which needs a lot of concentration and focus. I also turn off all sounds and close all the tabs on my laptop, so they can’t distract me neither.
3. Declutter your day
We spend so much time during the day with things that are actually totally unnecessary. Try to find exactly these things and delete them from your day-to-day life. Get yourself a small diary and write down everything you did and how much time you spend on it for a period of two weeks. Efficiency is the keyword!
4. Do the most important and unpleasant things first
We all know that heavy feeling in the stomach while thinking about that one task you are hiding from (like tax, invoices, document stage etc.). Our subconscious is highly stressed by things like that and it has an impact on all the other tasks. Therefore, you should start with the most important and unpleasant things first in the morning. You will definitely feel so much better after this and often these things are half as bad as we think they are.
5. Track your time
Often we don’t know how much time we spend on our tasks. It happens to me quite a lot, that I look up at my watch and realize, the time flew and I spend way too many time on that one particular task than I had planned for it. To know how long you need on different tasks is essential if you want to manage your time properly. It will help you to avoid time pressure since you can easily organize your time schedule. To track your time, I can recommend using the website Toggl. Here you can register for free, enter your tasks and track the time you need. I was totally surprised how much/how little time I spend with the various jobs and have totally misjudged almost all of them. The website gives you a good overview which will help you to improve your future time schedule.
6. Use time management apps
There are a lot of helpful apps out there, with which you can improve your own time management. However, my favorite definitely is the Pomodoro App. Never heard of it? The Pomodoro system is super easy and very efficient: before you start your next task, you write it in the box in the app. Then you press the start button. Now the Pomodoro App will set a 25-minute timer which you can also see in your sidebar. In these 25 minutes, you concentrate solely on this one job that you have entered. When the 25 minutes are over, the app is rising and tells you to take a five-minute break. Now the process starts again until you have completed your task. The 25-minute interval is called Pomodori. After 4 Pomodori you can take a longer break between 15-30 minutes. The advantage of this method is, that it helps you to work focused and gives you a great overview of the time you spend that day. Due to the little breaks, your time is used more efficient.
7. Stick to the 80/20 rule
The 80/20 rule, or Pareto Principle, basically says that you complete 80 percent of the work in 20 percent of the time. The other remaining 20 percent of the specific work, usually takes 80 percent of the time. It’s all about improving your time/performance relation and to set priorities. For example: when you prepare a presentation, you first focus on the content which is obviously the most important thing. When you’re done with the content, you can go into the details like formatting, animations, pictures etc. Without the 80/20 rules we would add something here and there, reformat, worrying about the animations and don’t completely focus on the content. Therefore, it is very important to divide your tasks and prioritize them for example in a main part and a details-part.
8. Watch out for yourself
Eat healthy, work out, let fresh air in and try to keep your stress level low. Even the best of all time-management tips won’t help you if you’re physically or mentally not doing well. Always remember to squeeze in a little me-time! (Find my favorite healthy snack ideas here)
9. Divide your tasks into different working blocks
By this I mean, that you should bundle all your tasks together and put them into several tasks-blocks. For example 9-10am emails, 10.20-11am invoices, instead of: 1. reply to mail A, 2. write invoice Y, 3. reply to mail C etc.. It’s so much easier to work with this system since you don’t always have to refocus again.
10. Productivity is the key
Productivity and time management go hand in hand. One doesn’t work without the other. In one of my other lifestyle articles, I listed you 10 tips to be more productive. I told you about your productivity windows, which simply are the time periods where you can work best. This is obviously very important for your time management since you can save a lot of time if you schedule important tasks in your productivity windows.