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5 Tips To Improve Your Time Management Skills

We’ve all been there; procrastinating on a project that only takes a small amount of time once we start because we’re dreading it and would rather do anything else. This comes down to your time management skills – or lack thereof. As many people like to point out, everyone gets the same 24 hours, and it’s how you use those hours that count! We all want to think that we’re at our peak productivity with excellent time management skills, but if you take a step back, are you? Have you optimized your schedule, or are you leaving time and, therefore, opportunities for growth on the table? Working towards improving your time management skills can be challenging. However, it’s essential to get everything done and still have time for other activities like doing something for yourself, hanging out with friends and family, or just relaxing in general. So, today let’s look at 5 tips to improve your time management skills so that you may fire your old self to create your new, best self and ultimately love the life you live.

1. create a prioritized schedule

When you wake up in the morning, it’s critical to know what you want to accomplish within the day. That’s why creating a prioritized schedule is the first and foremost activity you should engage in if you’re looking to improve your time management skills. Personally, when I write something down on my to-do list, I am way more likely to complete the task than if I leave it rattling around in my brain. That’s because it’s significantly easier to procrastinate or forget it altogether if you don’t put it down to remind yourself throughout the day. However, it’s not just about writing the tasks down but also prioritizing them as urgent, medium, or low priority. By prioritizing tasks in this way, it becomes crystal clear what you need to work on first and what can wait. Otherwise, you may end up trying to do all the low-priority tasks at once while ignoring something urgent. Ultimately, creating a prioritized schedule helps keep yourself focused and is an important activity to improve your time management skills as you begin to mold yourself into the best version of yourself and live your best life.

2. set deadlines and delegate

Beyond creating a prioritized list, you may find that you need to set some solid deadlines for productivity’s sake. Setting deadlines will help with planning your schedule and figuring out if you need to delegate some of the work you have on your plate. I know from personal experience that as a freelancer, deadlines are critical so that you can plan out your day/week/month and determine if your workload is too much, not enough, or just right. Also, by setting deadlines and distributing what needs to be delegated, you don’t have to wonder if you’re on track; you can look at your prioritized schedule and deadlines to see where you’re at. So then, instead of spending time during your day stressing about everything you have on the go, you can just cross off your list as you work through it, knowing that you’ve already properly assigned everything. A good rule of thumb for those not sure if they should delegate something is to determine how many hours per week you’re willing to spend on a particular activity. Next, minus some time for correspondences or potential obstacles you might face, and then if there’s more work to complete than time available, you should delegate some to someone else or ask for some support. Sometimes having exceptional time management skills is realizing you need additional help and asking for it – even if we like to think we can do it all ourselves. If you can set deadlines and delegate where needed, you can improve your time management skills to become your best self and love the life you live.

3. overcome procrastination

Procrastination is something we all struggle with occasionally – it’s just so easy to do something fun or distracting while you’re supposed to be doing something productive. One way to overcome procrastination is starting out early. Personally, I have noticed that by waking up earlier, I have time to do things for myself before I get to the rest of my day. Taking some time in the morning for some meditation, journaling, or to enjoy your coffee can get you in the proper mindset for a productive and procrastination-free day because you’ve already given yourself some enjoyment time before work. We often procrastinate because we are bored or overwhelmed, so another tactic to overcome procrastination is scheduling smaller, fun activities throughout the day to break up the more difficult tasks. For me, this means I work for a few hours in the morning after my initial routine, and then I take my dogs for a walk before having lunch and returning to work for the afternoon. So, not only am I getting something productive done during this break (walking my dogs AND moving my body), but it’s also something I look forward to and helps me break up my day so that I’m more productive when I’m working. Ultimately, beginning to overcome procrastination is one of the best ways to improve your time management skills so that you can fire your old self to create your new, best self.

4. eliminate multitasking

On the other end of the spectrum from procrastinating, there is multitasking. Many people like to argue that they are amazing at multitasking, and it helps them get so many more things done in the same amount of time. However, studies have repeatedly shown that there is really no such thing as multitasking and that we are almost always less productive when we try to accomplish multiple tasks at once. Your brain can only truly focus on one thing at a time, and when you try to do several things at once, stuff gets missed or not completed to its fullest potential. This goes back to why creating a prioritized schedule and making deadlines is so important, so that you don’t feel the need to try to do multiple things at a time. Not only does multitasking make us less productive, but it also increases the chance of burnout since it’s more difficult and stressful than focusing on one thing at a time. So, one tactic for eliminating multitasking is to stick to your prioritized schedule and cross things off as you go so you don’t feel the need to try to do multiple things at once. In the end, eliminating multitasking is a step in the right direction to improve your time management skills so that you can begin to mold yourself into the best version of yourself and live your best life.

5. take regular breaks

Each of the previous sections has been suggestions about how to increase your productivity and your time management skills as you work, but something that often gets overlooked is taking regular breaks throughout the day. Taking regular breaks splits up the tasks you must do and allows your brain to have moments where it’s not just in overdrive all day. People often underestimate the importance of taking breaks; however, we must remember that our bodies are not machines. Rather, we are organisms that require love, attention, rest, and nourishment – I like to say we are just complicated houseplants with emotions. If you’re not taking time throughout the day to de-stress, eat, and relax, you will soon find yourself burnt out mentally, physically, and emotionally. One tactic to avoid getting burnt out is scheduling breaks around the work. Try to reward yourself after a particularly challenging task with a break – just like how I walk my dogs to split up the afternoon. Remind yourself that needing to take breaks throughout the day is normal, and even more than that, it’s critical for your health! So, set a timer, and once you’ve completed a productive stretch, be sure to take a break so that you don’t get burnt out and can live your best life.

final thoughts

As humans, we are always looking for ways to improve ourselves and be better. Although many of us like to think we have our time management skills honed in, there is always work to be done. Start by formulating a prioritized schedule so you know what needs to be completed immediately and what can wait. Next, create deadlines for the work and delegate tasks that are overflowing your workload. In other words, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Another thing many people struggle with is procrastination, but if you can lean into these tips and overcome procrastination, you will find that your day goes much smoother and is more productive overall. On the flipside, multitasking is just as detrimental as procrastination, so try and only focus on one task at a time to give it your full brainpower. And lastly, don’t hesitate to take regular breaks throughout your day as your body needs them to function properly. Ultimately, integrating these 5 tips to improve your time management skills is critical so that you may fire your old self to create your new, best self while remembering Life’s Short, Love the Life You Live!

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Dani VanDusen

Dani VanDusen is a freelance writer and editor located in St. Albert, Alberta, Canada. She holds a BA in English from the University of Alberta where she graduated with distinction, and has been freelancing since the middle of the pandemic. An avid mental health enthusiast, rollerblade extraordinaire, dog mama, and pizza lover, she is a self-proclaimed ‘weirdo’ and says that this helps her be relatable and open in her writing. Dani has been a writer for the Fire Yourself movement since August 2021 and is an integral part of our content team.
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