5 top time management tips

Written by
Lauryn Mwale
Last Updated
July 11, 2021 23:02

Time management is a vital skill. It allows you to create balance. Whether that may be creating time to exercise or study, see friends or build a healthier routine, you need to be able to understand how you spend your time and how you can optimise that. Here are a few tips that may help you manage your time better. 

  1. Know your deadlines 

It always seems like we don’t have enough time because we are constantly racing to submit stuff in time. Probably because you’re doing the assignment or task that is  due on Tuesday on Monday night. Get clarity on your deadlines. You could have them up on a wall calendar or in a digital calendar and set yourself internal deadlines. Put a reminder to tell you when it’s a couple of weeks to a major deadline and again three days before so that you’re prompted to get started sooner.

  1. Focus on one thing 

Multitasking is bad for you! I know it may make you feel like you are achieving many things at once but the reality is that each individual task is better served, and quicker to finish, if you give it your full attention. This includes a quick glance at your email or responding to a not-so-urgent text. Your brain is not designed to switch between tasks and it can take as long as 25 minutes to regain concentration after an interruption. 

  1. Create a daily plan 

Some people do this the night before, others the morning of but knowing what needs to get done by the end of a specific day is an important first step in managing your plan. Personally, I use a three tier to do list (Thanks Grace Beverly for the tip). Each night, I think of all my tasks for the next day and classify them as quick ticks (easy tasks that will take less than 5 minutes to complete like clean out my inbox or make an appointment), tasks (activities which may require an hour or more to do such as completing an assignment or writing a blog post) and projects (longer activities which I will spread over a few days or those that have many subtasks within them such as content planning or big uni assignments). Some people prefer time blocking,  others prefer one long to do list; do whatever works for you but have a plan.

  1. Have time limits for tasks 

It’s really easy to start working on something and let it take over your entire day. This allows you to feel productive when in reality, the longer you concentrate on something, the less productive and effective you get. Set yourself limits. Say you give yourself half an hour to solve one question. Set a timer on your phone. When the timer goes, consider what you’ve achieved. If you are almost done, complete the task. If you have a long way to go, stop and continue later in the day or on another day completely. In order to understand how long it takes you to do certain tasks, monitor yourself for a week. Keep a record of how long it takes you to do different kinds of activities and then you can make informed future plans. 

  1. Prioritize 

Decide on your non-negotiables and give them permanent space in your schedule. Do you want to workout four times a week? Put it in. Do you want to spend more time with your loved ones? Do you want to learn a new skill or meet all your deadlines early or create a routine? All of these things are possible if you decide to prioritise them. Prioritising something is more than deciding to prioritise it. You need to decide when you can do it, give it space in your schedule and stick to it. 

We hope these tips help. Don’t forget that these are just suggestions. Everyone has their unique preferences and needs so take on what works and let us know in the comments if you have any more suggestions or how these tips and tricks help you.

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Lauryn is the founder of Project Ignite Her.

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