If there’s one thing everybody can use, it’s more time. Between work, family, friends, exercise, and all of our other obligations, our schedules are busting at the seams.
So how is it that some people seem to accomplish the world, while the rest of us are just trying keep our lives afloat? We’ve all got the same 24 hours in a day, right?
Since we can’t add any more hours to our day, let’s figure out how to better manage the time we do have. Here are four ways to improve your time management:
1. Take control of your day before it controls you.
If you start your day frantically running out of the house to a meeting, chances are the rest of the day will follow suit. Instead, take the reins by giving yourself 30 extra minutes in the morning to center yourself and focus on your priorities. And, while you’re at it, give yourself extra time to get to any appointment you have throughout the day. When you choose not to rush, you lower your stress and give yourself a clearer head to be more present and productive.
2. Schedule the important stuff.
Put anything that you want to accomplish in your calendar — writing, exercising, customer calls, lunch with friends. When you write things in your calendar, you get clear on what’s most important to you and remind yourself to act on them. The lower priority tasks will fall by the wayside because your calendar is filled with your important activities.
3. Discover “Hiding Time.”
Search the cracks and crevices of your life for time that’s hiding. A half-hour commute to and from work could translate to 20 extra hours a month for that new audio book you’ve been dying to get into. Or your wait at the dentist could be used more efficiently than Facebook stalking. Just because it’s only in 10- or 15-minute intervals doesn’t make this time any less precious.
4. Learn how to set boundaries.
The vast majority of our time is used to serve others — from managing work obligations to mending friend crises. If the same friends, family, or clients are draining our hours without refilling the piggy bank, it’s time to set stronger boundaries. Saying no doesn’t mean you can’t help; it means you’ll be recharged and productive enough to help more efficiently.
Time is how we spend our days, so time management is really about how valuable we think we are. When we take back control, prioritize, and clearly communicate our worth, we design the lives we want to live.
Now that doesn’t seem like a bad way to spend your time.