Time. It’s one of our most precious commodities.
There never seems to be enough of it (especially for bloggers and writers), and yet, sometimes time seems to stand still.
There’s a ton of information on the web that claims to provide “helpful” information, but doesn’t really. Once you read the tips, you end up falling back into the same old rut.
Good news. I have the solution! Well, actually, I have 15 tips for how to effectively manage your precious time.
15 Tips for How to Effectively Manage YOUR Precious Time
Yep. You heard me. Just relax.
It’s easier than you might think!
When you’re relaxed, you’re more likely to become inspired. When you’re inspired, you will find the time to write. To create. To do the things you’ve been putting off. To work.
In short, to become productive.
2: Don’t Schedule Things; Work When You’re Inspired
One of the tips I’ve read about managing time is to create a schedule and stick to it.
Now, we all know that’s not gonna happen. Something always happens to disrupt your “perfect” plan. Family or friends demand your attention. The phone rings. Your favourite show is on TV. An emergency arises. And so on.
Basically, life happens.
If you are anything like me, you write when you’re inspired to. You don’t force it. You can’t say to yourself, “I’m going to write 1000 words in the next two hours, and they’re going to be good.”
That’s simply NOT going to happen.
But if you find yourself sitting at your computer and you become inspired, then you can easily spend two or three hours writing and creating.
Time seems to stand still during these hours, and before you know it, a lot of time has passed.
BUT you’ve been productive, because you were inspired!
3: Create A Manageable TO DO List
I’m famous for writing things down on a To Do list.
I start a new one each week (sometimes, each day!) and I cross things off my list as I complete them.
The problem with To Do lists (at least mine, anyway!) are the tasks that are on them. Often, each task is a huge, time-consuming one!
For example, this was my list from a few years ago, when I was helping my mom do some renovations to her house:
- Wash the walls and then paint the kitchen.
- Put down new flooring in the kitchen.
- Clean the living room walls.
- Lay new carpet in the living room.
As you can see, this is quite a lofty list!
First of all, item #1 actually consists of two separate things, and each task is not as easy as it seems. If you’ve ever done any painting, you’ll agree!
Now, take item #2, and really think about all that completing this task involves.
First of all, to lay down new flooring, you must have a new floor to actually lay down. This means saving money to buy tiles or linoleum, then buying the flooring, and delivering it to the house.
To lay it down, the kitchen floor must be devoid of everything. This means moving the refrigerator and the stove. It means moving everything else off the floor, too. (My mom actually has her washer and dryer in the kitchen, in addition to the fridge and stove. What can I say… her house is over 100 years old.)
This is a monstrous task!
It also brings me to my next point.
Sometimes, you cannot do certain tasks alone. You’ll need help.
4: Ask For Help or Hire Someone When You Need It
To renovate my mom’s kitchen, I actually had to do a lot of planning. I had to find guys to help me, too.
Because we didn’t have a lot of money to spend, my mom purchased linoleum that was on sale. I hired 2 guys at a total cost of $400 (10 hours x $20/hour x 2 guys).
My mom and I also did a lot of work before the day the guys were to arrive. We cleaned out all of the cupboards, and moved the contents to another room. It was a lot of work.
We then did as much cleaning as we could. We knew we’d have to get the guys to do the hard stuff, though, like climbing up and washing the insides of the top cupboards before painting them.
Without help from the guys, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve our goal.
5: Congratulate Yourself When You Finish Each Task
Remember to reward yourself when you finish each task. This can be done simply, by saying “Congratulations” to yourself. Make yourself a cup of coffee or tea. Have that donut or cookie you’ve been craving. Whatever you decide to do, it should make you feel better!
6: Learn From Your Mistakes
Clichéd, I know. But true. Don’t make the same mistake twice. Learn from what you fail at so that you can achieve success the next time!
7: Plan Your Day, In Writing
If you clearly write out what you want to accomplish, you will have more success at attaining your goals.
This is a fact. Writing helps you form accountability. It forces you to take the correct steps to get what you want and DO what you want. It gives you a clear picture of what you need to do.
8: Take Exercise Breaks
Most of us sit while writing or blogging. We get stiff. Our butts get sore. Our fingers cramp up. And we forget to eat and drink. (Come on, admit it, you’ve probably even been so absorbed in what you’ve been doing that you even neglected to visit the lavatory!)
So take breaks. Often.
Get up and stretch. Drink a glass of water. Walk for 5 minutes (or more). Do something good for your body.
Although you can use an online timer to help remind yourself of these breaks, it’s better if you set your phone’s alarm clock, and then leave it across the room so that you will have to get up to turn it off. The physical action of moving is what you need to get your break started.
This actually coincides with most of the practices of the Pomodoro technique… which is my next piece of advice.
9: Use the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that uses a timer to break down work into intervals of 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. It is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility.
10: Track Your Time So You Can Set SMART Goals
This is not a new concept.
SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed) goals are more easily met once you have spent a week tracking your time. Tracking your time will allow you to determine where you need to make improvements.
To track your time, write down what you are doing every hour (or half-hour) each day.
How much time are you spending watching TV? (Likely, too much!)
11: Prioritize Your Manageable To Do List
Once you have created your To Do list, number the tasks. Number 1 should be considered High Priority, task that require immediate attention. Number 2 should be Medium Priority. Number 3 should be Low Priority.
Then do all of the Number 1 tasks first.
Then do the Number 2 tasks, followed by the Number 3 tasks.
12: Don’t Multi-Task
Focus on one thing at a time! You will be more productive if you do!
13: Get Organized and Stay Organized
Clean your work area. Make it neat. Do the dishes. Don’t put them off.
File your papers. (Stop groaning… this needs to be done!) Get organized. You’ll feel better, and productive.
Once you are organized, stay organized. Don’t let things pile up. Stay on top of things.
A motto told to me by one of my mentors is to handle a piece of paper only once.
What a time-saver!
14: Stop Reading Blog Posts Unless You’re Willing to Add Education Time to Your Schedule
Seriously, stop reading blog posts, especially if they are about things you already know about!
Wasting time (even if it is to show support to a fellow blogger) is something you can cut back on in order to save time and be more productive. Think about it. Be logical. Use your precious time wisely.
People who are attending college or university, or are taking an online course already know that you must schedule time to educate yourself, but what most bloggers don’t realize is that they need to schedule education time, too. I like to call this “self-improvement” time.
Each time you read a blog post, you are essentially doing several things:
- You are supporting your blogging buddy and strengthening your relationship with him/her, especially if you comment on the post.
- You are (possibly) entertaining yourself.
- YOU ARE LEARNING.
Most blog posts are educational in some way. Often, they are packed with actionable tips to help you improve your blog, your business, your website, your career, etc., and carrying out each of these actions not only takes time but a great deal of patience and understanding.
For example, if you are anything like me, you subscribe to sites that will help you get better (as a blogger, entrepreneur, person, etc.). If you decide to take action and make the improvements needed, this will take time.
As an example, look at this post (if you dare!!!): A Step-by-Step Guide to Driving 10,000 Visitors a Month Through Pinterest. Now, you know just from the title that there is a lot to this post, because, after all, the title tells you that it’s a step-by-step guide.
15: Schedule Education/Self-Improvement Time
If you are anything like me, you want to be the best that you can be. To become your best self, with the best business you can have, being the best entrepreneur (or freelancer, or blogger, etc.) you can be involves improving yourself and your knowledge on a constant basis.
This takes time. Sometimes a lot of time. But the results are worth it in the end.
Wouldn’t you agree?
I know that I have spent a lot of my time organizing my time and my life so that I can be more productive.
In fact, my strategies have led me to write an increased amount of guest posts and stay on top of my client work. (NOTE: A free PDF planner is available for download from that post.)
In fact, if you take a look at the sheer number of guest posts listed here, you’ll see that I have definitely learned how to manage my time effectively!
Let’s Talk about Time Tips
What other tips do you have for effectively managing YOUR precious time?
What is your BEST time management tip?
Do you need someone to help YOU write (or edit) blog posts? If so, I’m available for hire.
So is Kristi! 😉