If you have ever felt like you have been strapped for time, that you’re not getting enough done, or that you’re falling behind in a particular task, beginning to manage your time effectively can have a massive positive effect.
In previous posts, we have discussed how valuable your time is, and we have touched on the benefits of planning out your day. If you want to fit everything important into your week, follow these steps:
1. Plan Your Week
Grab your copy of the FREE Weekly Planner and schedule in everything you have already committed to. This might include planned hours at work, transport, exercise and sport, any events with family or friends, etc.
If you don’t want the Weekly Planner, sketch yourself out the days and hours of the next week by hand — this tends to get messy, though.
I recommend using a different colour for each type of activity. This helps you to visualise where you time is going (much like how a budget allows you to see where you money is going).
You will likely be able to plan out the next day or two in more detail than later days.
You should be left with many slots of time that are yet to be filled. These are the slots of time that you have more of a choice as to what you spend it on.
2. Sort out Your To-Do List
The next thing to do is figure out what to do during these times.
I used to have multiple lists on apps, papers, whiteboards, sticky-notes, bookmarks, emails, and in my head. It might be a worthwhile exercise grouping all the notes in your lists into a single place, but for now just pull out the top three or five tasks from each.
I have often gotten to the end of the week and been frustrated that I didn’t get the more important things done because I was preoccupied with less important, less urgent, or downright time-wasting tasks. In fact, I will be finishing this post three hours later than the deadline I set myself because I was preoccupied with other things :/
Prioritise your list of to-do’s with a combination of urgency (what needs to be finished earliest) and importance (what matters to you most based on your goals).
Slot these tasks or activities into the blank blocks of time in your weekly planner in order of priority. That way, if a task takes longer to complete than you thought it would, or something unexpected comes up, you can push everything forward in time without many consequences and you will get to the end of the week satisfied that you got the most important things done.