It’s a new year, and you’re probably trying to start new habits. One great way to make time for new pursuits and healthy habits is by simply managing your time well, so that you have the extra time to go to the gym or make a healthy dinner. We’ve got you covered with six top tips for managing time in the new year.
1. START early. Set an intention for the day and look over your schedule, keeping in mind what you need (packed lunch, gym bag), what you should wear (a suit because the CEO will be there, or your warmest winter coat), and when you should leave (traffic, carpool, etc.)
If you have kids, I recommend trying to wake up 30-60 minutes before they do so that you don't’ feel like you are already running behind when they wake up. Or start really early, and by that I mean the night before. Set out their clothes (and yours?), make lunches and help them make sure their backpacks are stocked with the books, folders and sign-up forms they need for the next day.
2. PRIORITIZE your tasks and appointments for the day. Write your top 3 to-dos, and start with the most important. If you have many tasks to do, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you really need to do them? If yes, can someone else help?
- How much time do I need for the task?
- Can I save the task for another day?
Consider setting an alarm to alert you. If you have a Time Timer, you can set each one for each task so that you don’t spend too long on something or to let you know when to take a break.
3. BLOCK your time and BLOCK out distractions to accomplish the most important tasks in the morning. On average, a person spends almost 2 hours a day on social media: YouTube (40 min), FB (35 min), Snapchat (25 min), Instagram (15 min) and Twitter (1 min). That’s time you could spend working on your tasks.
So, unless there’s an emergency situation, or you are expecting an important call or email, do not check your emails, FB and other social media posts (unless this is part of your work). This will enable you to work undisturbed on the task at hand.
P.S. Checking your email is not an emergency situation.
4. ALLOCATE time for yourself. Every day set at least 30 mins (hopefully more) to take care of yourself—learn a new craft, engage in a new hobby, exercise, spend time with friends, journal or read a book. Whatever will fill you up is what you should fill in on your agenda. And make it non-negotiable.
5. ORGANIZE everything. Create a system to organize your personal and work life.
- Get a planner (digital or hard copy) for your schedules, appointments, and tasks.
- Categorize your files by topics, bills, tax receipts, documents (birth and marriage certificates, passports, contracts, etc.) and more.
- Then, keep the categorized files in expanded folders that are properly labeled. Keep an index of your categories so you won’t forget.
- If you’re already the organized type, spend time to evaluate your systems and see how you could save more time in the organizing process.
6. SCHEDULE your sleep. Most adults need around 7 hours of sleep, some more, some less. It’s important for staying focused and managing your energy during the day. And the best rest happens when you stay on a regular rhythm of waking up and going to bed at the same time each day (or as close as you can). If you are looking ahead and managing the rest of your day, hopefully finding time to sleep will not be a problem.
But before you sleep, spend at least 15 minutes to review your day and write your next tasks and plans for tomorrow, along with any other tasks that help your morning less rushed.