Easy time-management tips
Whether it’s in your job or your lifestyle as a whole, learning how to manage your time effectively will help you feel more relaxed, focused and in control.
"The aim of good time management is to achieve the lifestyle balance you want," says Emma Donaldson-Feilder, a chartered occupational psychologist.
Here are Emma's top tips for better time management:
Work out your goals
"Work out who you want to be, your priorities in life, and what you want to achieve in your career or personal life," says Emma. "That is then the guiding principle for how you spend your time and how you manage it."
"Knowing your goals will help you plan better and focus on the things that will help you achieve those goals," says Emma.
Make a list
To-do lists are a good way to stay organized. "Keeping a list will help you work out your priorities and timings. It can help you put off the non-urgent tasks."
Make sure you keep your list somewhere accessible. If you always have your phone, for example, keep it on your phone.
Focus on results
Good time management at work means doing high-quality work, not high quantity. Emma advises concentrating not on how busy you are, but on results.
"Spending more time on something doesn’t necessarily achieve more," she says. "Staying an extra hour at work at the end of the day may not be the most effective way to manage your time."
Have a lunch break
Lots of people work through their lunch break, but Emma says that can be counter-productive. "As a general rule, taking at least 30 minutes away from your desk will help you to be more effective in the afternoon," she says.
"Go for a walk outdoors or, better still, do some exercise," says Emma. "You’ll come back to your desk re-energized, with a new set of eyes and renewed focus."
Planning your day with a midday break will also help you to break up your work into more manageable chunks.
Priorities important tasks
Tasks can be grouped into four categories:
• urgent and important
• not urgent but important
• urgent but not important
• neither urgent nor important
People with good time management concentrate on "not urgent but important" activities. That way they lower the chances of activities ever becoming "urgent and important".
Practice the 'four Ds'
Emma advises practicing the "four Ds":
• Delete: you can probably delete half the emails you get immediately.
• Do: if the email is urgent or can be completed quickly.
• Delegate: if the email can be better dealt with by someone else.
• Defer: set aside time later to spend on emails that require longer action.