How to Manage Time – The Basics

Time Management Studies Provide Direction

How to manage time and be more productive? Are you too busy to get all your work done on time? Work with a small business advisor, set up a time management planner or journal, and then conduct time management studies to focus on where you are spending the most resources.

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Learning how to manage time will help you do more, in a shorter period of time.

how to manage time, improve work life balance

In fact, not only can it increase the quantity of the work you do, it can also increase the quality because it eliminates a lot of the rushing that leads to sloppy work and cutting corners.

Let's take a look at some practical methods you can apply to your life to better manage your time.

Time Management Planner: Write It All Down

The single biggest habit that will help you organize your life, and thus your time, is writing down what you need to do. Time management studies have confirmed again and again that written goals are achieved consistently more often than unwritten ones.

Creating a "To Do" list needs to be your first priority (and while we're talking about priorities, make sure you rank your daily "to do" list by order of importance). If you have a lot to do, trying to remember everything off the top of your head is guaranteed to lead to a lower efficiency level.

Ideally, you need multiple lists or plans: one with your overall, longer term goals, and other lists for shorter term goals and daily tasks.

How to Manage Time:
Start By Identifying What You Do

There are a certain number of repetitive tasks that you need to do daily, weekly, and monthly. With only 24 hours in the day, you have limited control over a certain amount of that time (you need to eat and sleep).

You need to be realistic about how much of your time you actually control – in other words, how many hours each week do you get to choose what you’re doing?

how to manage time, identify tasks

Don't forget to count the basic tasks you need to do like answering the phone and emails and talking to customers to get a clearer picture of where you're spending your time.

Once you’re in the habit of writing down the tasks you must complete each day, the next step is to arrange them in order of importance. This helps you avoid wasting time on unimportant tasks, only to find yourself rushing to meet important deadlines at the last minute.

Time Management Studies and the Art of "Small Chunking"

Part of the reason we procrastinate on big tasks is purely because we think of them as "BIG". On the whole they seem way too hard, so we avoid them altogether.

But any big task consists of many small parts. Time management studies demonstrate that the idea of small chunking comes in handy: break down any big project into small chunks, then complete them one at a time.

Think of it in terms of running a 20 mile race. If you think, "I have to run 20 miles", it seems like a huge task. If you think, "I have to run one mile. I'll deal with the next mile after that", and then repeat that until you've run 20 miles, you make the same task seem easier simply by re-framing it. This eliminates your mental excuses to avoid starting a project.

Using a Time Management Planner

Learning how to manage time is based on careful planning, measuring, improving and doing! Use a time management planner to stay on top of your time use.

how to manage time, time management studies

An effective planner will allow you to plot out important tasks over days, weeks, and the months of the year.

Managing your time effectively is a basic management skill; most small business advisors focus on management of resources as one of the first steps to improving an individual's, or organization's, effectiveness. Focus your attention on effective resources management and you will find you have more time, and a more efficient operation.

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