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  • Writer's pictureGO2 Team

Improving Your Time Management Skills

Updated: May 10


Working from home can be great for flexibility and work-life balance, but many people find it difficult to manage their time well. At home, we don't have all the traditional office routines, a lot of extra distractions, and it's easy to fall behind in productivity. But with some new strategies and a little time improving your organization skills, you could increase your productivity and find more success as a remote worker.

 

Make a Schedule


It might seem basic, but the most important strategy for improving your time management skills is to make a well-planned schedule. A schedule can help you organize your tasks, prioritize your responsibilities, and allocate your time more effectively. Schedules are also an important part of building a routine, to help you stick to your plans.

 

There are a few key steps to creating an effective schedule, by following these steps, you can create a schedule that helps you to stay on track and be more productive:


  • Identify the tasks that you need to complete each day or week. This can be work projects and personal tasks.  

  • Estimate how long each task will take you to complete. This can help you to allocate your time more effectively.  

  • Decide on the best times of day to work on each task. Some people are more productive in the morning, while others work better later in the day.  

  • Plan blocks of time for each task on your calendar. Plan some flexible blocks each day to finish tasks that have taken longer than you expected, and to deal with new ones.  

  • Plan your breaks, exercise, and self-care time. These activities can help you to stay mentally and physically healthy, energized, and focused throughout the day.  

  • Review and change your schedule as needed. It's important to be flexible and adapt to changes as they arise. If tasks are longer than you expect plan more time for them.


Set Realistic Goals


Setting specific and achievable goals is an important part of managing your time well. Setting goals keeps you on target and achievable goals keep you motivated and progressing. Here are some tips for setting specific and achievable goals:


  • Identify a specific goal - "My goal is to make progress on Report-A"  

  • Make your goal measurable - "I can measure the number of tables and pages of description I complete."  

  • Make your goal achievable and realistic - “I want to complete everything in Report-A from section 1 to 4."  

  • Set a timeline for achieving your goal - "I can complete the first 4 sections of Report-A in a week."  

  • Split your main goal into small steps - "To complete section 1 there are 4 tables and 2 pages of description, I will do 2 tables and 1 page of description this morning." (More on this later!)  

  • Fail positively! – "That took longer than I thought, I will plan more time for section 2, and think again about the time I will need for sections 3 and 4."


Use a Planner or To-Do List


Writing your tasks down in a planner or to-do list can be a surprisingly effective way of improving your time management skills. You can keep track of what you need to do overall, so you never forget anything, and keep it up-to-date with the smaller steps you have achieved on the way. Here are some tips for using a planner or to-do list:


  • Keep daily planners or to-do lists to keep track of your tasks.  

  • Prioritize your tasks. Mark the most important, or time-sensitive, tasks with a star or highlight them in a different color.  

  • Review your planner or to-do list regularly. Set aside time each day or week to review your list and adjust it as needed.

  • As you complete tasks, cross them off your list or give them a satisfying tick✔️.

  • Try different styles of planner or to-do list and find what works best for you. It could be something detailed, stylish, simple, or cute as long as it keeps you on track and makes you feel rewarded to check things off your list.

 

Many people have found Bullet Journaling an excellent way of improving their time management and reducing their feelings of overwhelm. Could this be something helpful for you too?

 

Break Down Your Tasks


It's easy to get overwhelmed when thinking about how you need to achieve a large task. By breaking the task down into smaller, more achievable steps, you can complete it in small manageable sections. Here are some tips to help you:

 

  • Identify the overall goal or objective of the task. What do you want to achieve?  

  • Write a list of all the things you need to do in the order they need to be done, so you can reach your overall goal. These are your achievable steps!  

  • Estimate the time you will need to complete each step.  

  • Schedule blocks of time to work on your steps. Put them into groups of about 45 minutes to 1 hour before you take a break. This will help you stay focused.  

  • Set deadlines for completing each step to keep you on target for completing the overall goal on time.  

  • Celebrate your progress as you complete each step. How? Well, that's up to you.


Avoid Multitasking


It's easy to see multitasking as a great skill, and it is outside of work. The trouble is that when we multitask at work we usually do 2 jobs 'kind of OK', rather than 1 job well. It also takes longer to do two things at once than it usually does if you do them separately. That's why we recommend not multitasking. Here are some tips for avoiding multitasking and improving your time management skills:


  • Focus on one task at a time. Put your phone out of reach, close your email, and put household work out of sight.  

  • Many apps and programs can help you block distracting websites or apps while you work. A quick Google search will give you plenty of options to choose from.  

  • Take breaks between tasks. Instead of trying to do several things at once, schedule breaks between tasks to give your mind a rest.  

  • Give yourself some 'everything else' time each day for all the little office tasks that come up during the day. This is also a good way of breaking up the day as these less difficult tasks will give your brain a break.


Remove Distractions


It's easy for most of us to get distracted anywhere, but it's even easier at home. There are so many things we could be doing, eating, watching, cleaning, etc. This makes it difficult to concentrate on our work and make progress on our daily tasks. You can get more done in less time by finding ways to minimize these distractions. So, here are some tips for keeping those distractions away:


  • Turn off notification sounds on your phone and computer. Staying connected is important, but constant notifications can distracting and stressful. Plan times to check your notifications.  

  • Find a quiet place to work. If you're easily distracted by noise or activity, try working in a quiet room or a library where you can focus on your tasks.  

  • If you can't find a quiet place to work, noise-canceling headphones can block out distractions and help you focus.  

  • Set boundaries with coworkers or family members. Let people know that you're busy and need to focus.


Take Breaks!


It's important to take breaks to rest and refresh our minds so we can keep being productive. Working too long without enough breaks will make you more likely to miss important tasks, make mistakes, and eventually burn out. Burnout isn't a nice time, and it can take a long break for you to recover, so it's always best to be careful with your health and prevent burnout instead. Here are some tips to help you schedule breaks throughout the day to give your mind a rest, and come back with a fresh perspective:


  • Schedule regular breaks throughout the day. Set aside specific times to take breaks, whether it's every hour or every 90 minutes.  

  • Take breaks that are long enough to be restful. While short breaks can be helpful, longer breaks will allow you to recharge more effectively.  

  • Step away from your work during your breaks, and try to do something completely different from your work. Go for a walk, listen to music, or chat with a friend.  

  • It's tempting to check your phone or social media during breaks, but these activities can actually be more draining than restful. Instead, try to do something more relaxing.  

  • Use breaks as an opportunity to refresh physically. Take time to stretch, meditate, or do something that helps you relax and recharge.  


Wrap Up

Time management is an important skill that can help you make the most of your time and be more productive. By creating a schedule, setting achievable goals, using a planner or to-do list, breaking tasks down, avoiding multitasking, minimizing distractions, and taking breaks you can get more done in less time.

 

Remember that it's important to be flexible and change your routine as needed. Everyone has different needs and preferences when it comes to managing their time. With practice and patience, you can develop stronger time management skills that could help you in every area of your life.

 

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