"Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion“ Parkinson’s Law
Many of us women, and moms in particular, often wish we had extra hours in our day. But let’s face it – if you did have more hours, would you just waste them in “time-leaking” activities?
Truth be told, most successful people know that it’s not the number of hours you have, but what you do with them that counts. By learning and practicing efficient time management techniques, you can get unstuck, be more productive, and get more done. You’ll also have extra time to rest and relax!
Here are 8 simple steps you can start taking today to stop wasting time and become more productive:
Prioritize. Trim everything on your to-do list to just 3 to 5 manageable tasks. Arrange each item in order from the most important (top priority) to least important (lower priority). This allows you to focus on your vital and important tasks. Do this, and you’ll remove nonessential, time-leaking activities.
Set Time Boxes. Create a “box” of time for each task on your to-do list by setting a start and end time. For instance, 45 minutes each day on a current writing project or 20 minutes a day on Instagram. Doing this helps keep you on track and prevents you from spending more time than necessary on any one item.
Take Rests. Working for too long on a particular task can cause you to lose focus and develop burn out. Try splitting up your tasks with short break periods so you can reinvigorate and free your mind of work-related issues. By the time you get back to your tasks it will be with a refreshed mind and revitalized energy. You’ll find that you can use your time more efficiently.
Halt Distractions. If you let yourself get distracted, your tasks might take much longer than necessary. Log out of social media, turn off all notifications. Let people know you’re working and not to be disturbed. Any important things can be attended to when you’re done.
Vet Your Time. Keep a daily log of how you invest your time. Use a timer and write down the results. Over the course of several days, a picture will emerge showing how you actually spend your time. You may be surprised at where you’re wasting it!
Find Optimal Times. We each have an optimal time of day when we are the most efficient at a particular task. For example, you may be most social after lunch and more creative in the late evening. Take note of these times and assign your daily tasks more efficiently.
Plan to Play. Make a habit of scheduling time for amusement, leisure, mindless distraction, and simple fun. Allow yourself to indulge in these activities during breaks from vital or important tasks, which often require brain power. Or simply use them as gifts to yourself for checking items off your list.
Focus on Your Goals. For everything on your to-do list, take a moment to check whether it’s directly helping you reach a specific goal or not. If it’s not, consider removing it from your list, relegating it to a later time, or delegating it to somebody else.
Here's an affirmation for good measure:
"Time is a gift to me. I invest my time wisely."