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15 Tips for Effectively Managing YOUR Precious Time

15 Tips for Effectively Managing YOUR Precious Time

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

1: Relax.

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:

  1. Wash the walls and then paint the kitchen.
  2. Put down new flooring in the kitchen.
  3. Clean the living room walls.
  4. 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! 😉

 

By Lorraine Reguly

Lorraine Reguly is a freelance blogger, writer, and editor for hire. She's also an author who can help you create an ebook to give away on your site, sell, and even turn into a print book. Find her at Wording Well, where she gives away a FREE ebook, 20 Blog Post Must-Haves, to her newsletter subscribers.

50 replies on “15 Tips for Effectively Managing YOUR Precious Time”

Happy New Year, everyone!

I will be responding to ALL comments during the next few days.

Enjoy your celebratory evening… and talk to you soon!

(A special THANKS to Kristi for having me as her guest yet again!)

Happy New Year to you too Lorraine and all Kikolani readers. Also congrats on your first guest post here which I found pretty useful. I will sure use many of these tips to be more productive 😉

Hello Lorraine,
Honestly this is one of the good read fro me specially the second one “Don’t Schedule Things; Work When You’re Inspired”

This is what am going to try now, I have a notice board, writing down the task on my diary but nothing seems to be followed one or another reason they are always left as it is.

I think to manage time the first thing we should learn is to do meditation so that the concentration/focus increases towards our job.

Back to you!! 🙂

Ashok, focus is definitely key. I like the idea of meditating and sometimes do it myself after reciting my affirmations. Perhaps I should have included that in this list!

It is great that you have a message board. Now all you have to do is use it properly!

I really need to manage my time. I’ll start the day with the best intentions, and then before I know it the whole day is gone and I haven’t gotten much done. Story of my life. I really like the idea of self improvement time.

This isn’t really a time management tip, but I like to make everyone (kids & husband) help cleanup for one 15 minute block a day. I set a timer and when the 15 minutes are up, we are done. This makes a HUGE difference in how clean the house is, and the kids don’t complain much because it’s only 15 minutes.

I can really feel you wouldn’t inspired people to work like they never worked before, Time, it is important, I didn’t get it at all when I was young, as I grown up, I begin to understand about time is precious, but I gotta say that we still have to force and work all in and rest all out. And when I’m trying to listen to feeling doing things, I can’t really accomplish nothing. Thank you, great post.

Since I have started outsourcing the work I am getting more time to plan my business. It is helping a lot. One more thing I am doing is to start my day early. These two thing working out best for me.

Learning from the mistakes is one thing I try to do every time. According to me, Right decisions come from experience but experience comes from wrong decisions. So improvisation is really a good thing. Also to hire someone for your work is a good option. it will give you some spare time that will help you focus on other tasks.

Hello Lorraine,

About multi-tasking, i totally agree with you that its better to focus on one task at a time. Sometimes we try to save time for ourselves by multi-tasking, but many atimes it proves to be penny wise pound foolish.

Instead of doing too much at once, i’ll prioritize my various tasks and start with the most ranked of them all.

Thanks for sharing this post, i’m glad i read it.

Raphael, it is MUCH better to get one task done AND THEN move on to the next… and then the next…

I am glad you are going to take the necessary steps to become more productive!

Go get ’em!

HI LORRAINE

I just loved reading your articles. 😀

The best thing which I really like about your articles is, you covers each and every thing in your articles which makes your article more helpful.

I have seen people love to read those articles more which are easy to understand and can help a lot. And you always write such kind of articles.

Either way, Thanks for this wonderful article. 😀

Hey Lorraine,
I found that one of the best time saving tip is to create routines. If you have a long term plan, these little habbits can make sense and save time. Also to-do-list work very well. Every morning I read 5 blogs + discover one more. What’s interesting in this habbit is that you can find something new every day. For example in your post I found about Pomodoro Technique, wich is totaly new. So thank you for sharing your great content. Cheers!

To Do List is always an effective way to manage the time effectively, but yet we struggle with it. I personally find it hard to stick with the To Do List plan. It really requires regularity and consistency in creating and fulfilling the To Do list activities.

Thanks Lorraine for providing the other useful tips.

Bilal, it can be difficult to follow a regularly scheduled plan (such as a To Do list), but with practice, it becomes easier.

Whst are the methods you currently use to manage your time effectively?

Lorraine, frankly speaking there is no method I use. I just do whatever comes in my mind and attracts my attention. May be that is why I am far behind from others who are managing their time effectively.

Bilal, perhaps you should take some of the suggestions outlined in this post to heart!

Feel free to print out the checklist and keep it near your computer. Read it every day.

Sooner or later, a few of the suggestions are bound to help you! 😉

Hi Lorraine,
Its another amazing post and i enjoyed it as always. And i am thinking of trying Pomodoro technique. I think it will work better. Getting short breaks in work helps doing better and quality works.
And also thanks for sharing the post.

Loved this article!

Unlike most people, I have a lot of free time on my hands and I’m learning how to properly manage it for maximum productivity. It’s a little bit difficult but once I create a steady schedule everything will fall into place. Thanks for these tips, I’ll remember them!

Regards,
Tim.

P.S. I followed you on Twitter, looking forward to networking more!

Timothy, I appreciate the follow. Thanks! However, I have been offline for most of January. If you take a look at the CommentLuv link associated with this reply, you’ll know why.

I look forward to hearing from you again, too!

Of course., you can always follow Wording Well. *hint hint* 😉

Thanks Lorraine ! For suggestion for effectively using and managing ones precious time. . Liked idea of Exercising and Writing .
I normally engage into Blogging and Writings a lot . Being associated and offering web services focuses more on technologies and my professional and personal experiences with others . Which can be shared at my website Blogs.

Anyhow will share your suggestions and article via my inbound.org and facebook account so that more and more people can read it

Dear Lorraine,

I don’t know how to thank you for this great article. I do sometimes struggle with time management and I am sure your tips will help me manage my time much better. I really appreciate your article and I am going to follow, if not all at least some, of your tips.

Thanks once again.

8: Take Exercise Breaks – This is a must for me.
I find 9: Use the Pomodoro Technique – very distracting and I lose my train of thought.
12: Don’t Multi-Task – I agree with this and find as I get older that multi-tasking does not always bring great results.

I really enjoyed reading his post.

Hey Lorraine,

I want to thank you for writing this article. Effectively managing my time is a challenge for me.

Your tip about working when you are inspired is very good. I do like just a little pressure for myself, but I also can’t write like I have a gun pointing to my head. I prefer it when I enter a “flow” state when I write because it feels good and light, not hard work.

Like you, I also use a to-do list. I like to make a distinction between things I have to do on the same day and longer tasks. I like the feeling of getting things off my list. If you have big tasks like yours, i’d break them down into smaller tasks.

When I finish a task I naturally get a good feeling, but I also like treating myself to a cup of joe 😉

Yep, I have to start writing down some of my goals on pen and paper. I believe in the power of it, I just need to start implementing. Computers are convenient, sure. But they’re not always the best tool for the job!

Honestly, exterminating the multi-tasking monster in me is hard. I try to do it as little as possible because I KNOW it messes up my productivity.

I already schedule self-improvement time or reading time. I like to take at least one hour a day to learn new things.

Very impressive portfolio Lorraine, that’s inspirational. You bet I’ll check out your other articles because I know there’s plenty to learn from you 😉

Thank you so much for sharing these tips and have a great week ahead!

– Jasper

Jasper, thanks so much for sharing some of your problematic areas. Knowing where your issues lie is half the battle! (The other half, obviously, is fixing them!)

To Do lists are useful, as are having goals, especially if you take the time to write them out by hand. Science proves that you are more likely to do your tasks and complete your goals if you write them out; there is a connection made in your brain that will hold you more accountable. I personally enjoy writing with a pen for the sake of writing, but will purposely re-write my goals out every so often just for the added reinforcement.

My lists are re-written quite often, too (usually daily).

I agree that computers/technology is fantastic MOST of the time, but you’re right — it’s often better to use other tools. A great example of this is a big calendar that you can write on (either paper or a whiteboard one).

Jasper, I have to say that you are one step ahead of most people because you already know AND schedule reading/learning/self-improvement time each day. I am so proud of you for this, and you should be proud of yourself, too! Way to go!

Thanks for the compliment(s). They are appreciated. 🙂

Feel free to join my email list for Wording Well — and get a free blogging e=book! If you can’t find the link, let me know and I will send it your way!

Talk soon,
Lorraine

Hi Lorraine,
Thanks for writing this informative post. For us freelancers, time is money and every minute saved is a penny earned.

I use the pomo doro technique to keep my sane. A to-do list is also a must-have if we wanted to get organised. I use normal pen and paper for my to-do list.

Have a great weekend. 🙂

Swadhin, thanks for contributing to this discussion! Yes, time is money!

It’s great to hear that you already use some of these tip. Way to go!

Now, because you are a freelancer and one of my specialties is editing, I want to point out that one of your sentences needs correcting. I hope you don’t mind. (I don’t think you will, since English is your second language.)

I use the pomo doro technique to keep my sane.
SHOULD BE
I use the Pomodoro technique to keep my sanity.
OR
I use the Pomodoro technique to keep sane.

By the way, I’d be lost without MY to-do lists!!!

Have a great weekend, too. 🙂

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