Work smarter, not harder: it’s a tagline we hear all the time, but how can we actually be more productive without chaining ourselves to the desk?
We all have the same number of hours in a day as Beyoncé, or so goes the internet saying. But Beyoncé doesn’t have to worry about hanging out the washing or deep soaking that burnt saucepan. She has people to do the boring stuff for her so she can spend the majority of her waking hours being creative and brilliant. The rest of us, unfortunately, have to keep all of the basics going while also juggling our creativity and brilliance. To help with that juggle, here is a list of top tips for time management, so you can have time to create your own version of Single Ladies.
Assess where your time is spent
You can’t properly allocate your time unless you know how you’re spending it. Spend a week or two keeping track of your days and what you dedicate time to. Not just your working day, but every waking hour. It is also worth downloading an app that tracks how much time you spend on your phone. From there, you can decide what is worth your time and what is a waste.
Create to-do lists
To-do lists are no longer resigned to a piece of paper ripped out of a notebook or on the back of an envelope. There are lots of apps that help you to categorise your to-do tasks. Committing to one will help you to decide what jobs to prioritise. With a reliable list, you’ll also find yourself remembering all important tasks, instead of forgetting them or panic-remembering at the last minute.
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Time limit each task
Now that you have your to-do list and you know exactly what you have to get done, look at your tasks and figure out how long each task will take. Be realistic here; you’ll just make yourself feel bad if you set yourself unachievable goals. If some tasks seem mammoth, try to divide them up into smaller goals, or dedicate a set amount of time to them each day.
Learn to say no
If you overstretch yourself, then you will overpromise and underdeliver. You need to learn how to say no so that you can really dedicate yourself to the things you do say yes to. It’s also important to delegate. A good manager trusts their team and knows when to delegate. A bad manager takes everything on themselves and inevitably fails.
By all means, gather as much information about a decision or task as possible but know that is impossible to know everything. You do not have a crystal ball. You have to make decisions based on the information available to you at a time. You could waste all of your time on the minutiae details. Do not fall into that trap.
Featured image: Beyoncé’s Formation via YouTube
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