Time Management Hacks That Get Hours Back in Your Day

Time management is a lot like magic. When you see someone make the most of their time and make forward progress on any number of projects – both personal and professional – you are left in awe, wondering how they created so much time for getting stuff done. But a peek behind the curtains with those magicians of management can make even the most alluring illusion seem simple, easy, and grounded in science.

Manage Your Time

Like sand in an hourglass, time can slip easily through the smallest of openings and be gone before you even realize it. So, the most crucial way to excel in time management is to actually manage it. Plan your day the night before, so when you wake up, you know precisely what you need to do and when. Utilize your calendar, whether it be in the form of an app or physical document, and set up reminders on your phone so even if you get lost in thought, you’ll easily be able to get back on track.

Share your schedule with coworkers and family, so they know where you’ll be, when you’ll be there, and what you’ll be doing. This can help cut down on those side tasks that tend to pop up during the day. Even further, schedule appointment time or a block of an hour or so when you will be available to discuss any ongoing projects with them. Then they won’t be as inclined to bother you when you’re plugged in and head down.

Learn to Say “No”

One of the most challenging things to learn is the importance of saying “No.” You have to be reasonable with your time, and as much as you want to help or not be seen as some negative force, there’s nothing more valuable you can give to someone than your time. This means that you will have to decline to answer a question or provide guidance until you’re able to do so.

Pushing back on these requests may ruffle some feathers, especially if you’ve previously been someone who’s been inclined to say “Yes” to every opportunity. However, there are ways to land the message softly, without hurt feelings or frustrated coworkers:

  • Be honest and tell them you have too much to do at the moment
  • Reflect any questions or requests for guidance back on them using the phrase “What does your gut say here?”
  • Suggest they reach out to someone who may be able to offer similar, if not superior, help or guidance.

Managing your time isn’t always easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Keeping a calendar, dedicating time for questions or interruptions, and learning to say “No” can help any aspiring time management magician.

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