How to Improve Time Management in One Day

Most of us wish we had more time to work with, but few of us are willing to put in the effort to practice better time management skills. Ironically, it takes time to get better at time management; with effective habit building and consistent efforts, almost anyone can become a better time manager over the course of several months.

But what if you’re working with a shorter timeframe? Or what if you’re a bit impatient? Are there ways to improve your time management skills in a single day?

The answer is yes – if you’re willing to work for it.

Get a Calendar

One of your best options is to invest in a calendar. There are hundreds of apps and platforms that exist to help you coordinate your schedule, manage tasks, and keep track of projects and appointments. But there’s something special about a physical calendar that these digital tools don’t have: immediate visibility.

Keeping a large calendar at your workspace and recording all your highest priorities there will help you determine, at a glance, what you should be working on and when you should be working on it.

If you use your calendar consistently, you’ll get better at mastering this tool. But even on day one, you should notice a distinct difference in your performance and your focus.

Uninstall Distracting Apps

Here’s something you can do right now: uninstall all the apps most responsible for distracting you. Almost all of us are guilty of succumbing to distraction in one form or another, whether we habitually check social media or start up a mobile game.

Entertaining though they might be, these apps are encroaching on your productivity; you’re better off totally uninstalling them. Alternatively, if you can’t bear to uninstall them, hide them in a folder so they’re much less accessible – and are therefore much less tempting.

Install a Browser Extension (or Two)

Next, consider installing a browser extension meant to help you with time management.

These are some of the best categories of extensions available:

  • Time tracking. Several browser extensions are capable of both automatic and manual time tracking, so you can get more insights into how you’re spending your time throughout the day.
  • Task management and notes. Project and task management extensions help you stay focused and can even provide you with organizational tools for notes.
  • Website control. You may also want a browser extension that prohibits you from visiting certain websites or limits the amount of time you spend on certain distracting websites.

Purchase an Egg Timer

One of the most popular time management “life hacks” is the Pomodoro Technique. With this method, you’ll work for a fixed, specific amount of time, then you’ll take a break for a similarly fixed, specific amount of time. Obviously, any method of timekeeping will work for this. But if you have a physical egg timer at your desk, you may be more inclined to use it consistently.

As for the specific time intervals, you have significant flexibility. What’s important in this method isn’t the exact amount of time you spend on work or the exact amount of time you spend breaking. What’s important is that you’re consistent. For some people, the ideal balance is 25 minutes of work followed by 5 minutes of break, but others do better with 50 minutes of work followed by 10 minutes of break. Start experimenting to see what works best for you; you may not find the perfect balance in one day, but you’ll be better off than you were before.

Create a System for Overflow

What happens when you have so many tasks and projects in front of you that you’re at a complete loss for how to manage your time? In one day, you can devise a system to handle this overflow.

  • Prioritization. Everything starts with prioritization. Inevitably, some of your tasks are going to be more important than others. It’s important that you figure out which tasks belong to which category so that you can spend your time wisely. For example, with the Eisenhower matrix, you can segment your responsibilities based on both urgency and importance, focusing on urgent, important tasks before anything else.
  • Delegation. Next, you need some outlet for delegation. Do you have employees or coworkers who can take on some of your excess work? Can you hire a contractor or a remote, virtual assistant?
  • “Heads down” focus. Finally, with the priorities that remain, you need to find a way to focus, heads down, on that important work. Can you create a system that allows you to work uninterrupted by clients or coworkers?

No one has the power to fundamentally change their productivity or time management skills overnight. But in the course of one day, you have the power to change your mentality and start seeing measurable benefits from more refined time management. Remember that this is only the beginning; if you want to make a true difference in your working life, you need to commit to ongoing changes and continue experimenting to find which tactics and life hacks work best for you.

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