The strangest things have happened to my time this year. For one, I no longer have those 2 random hours I spend laying down and pressing my phone just after I wake up. Or the time I spend after my evening shower, scrolling through Tiktok. As an adult who is beginning to properly adult, I am learning the true value of time as a commodity. See, I’m not even trying to motivate in that conventional way, just sharing my truth, which is that of all the things I have struggled with the recent past, time management has somehow climbed up the list.
I haven’t totally hacked it yet, but here are my top principles I am trying to adopt to manage the mere 24 hours I get and live a balanced life.
Track the heck out of your day
My planners are my best friends. They are not elaborate; they are just small notepads where I try to plan every minute of my life. I plan hours, days and sometimes weeks ahead and although it does not always work out the way I think it would, it does help me make sense of time and track tasks as little as possible. Using a digital planner or planning tool that you can carry everywhere is also great and you can also set up little reminders on them.
Sometimes you find you have a lot to do and so many different deadlines to deal with. This is where organising and prioritising comes into play. I try to figure out which tasks are important, and which are urgent, and they are not the same. You can also use the 80/20 rule to figure out which 20% of your work produces 80% of results. That way you work on the bulk of the work first.
I might be the biggest hypocrite for adding this point, because I physically cannot do without my phone. But because I know it is a major distraction, I try to put it away, turn it off or put it on Do Not Disturb. Take away whatever it is that isn’t necessary for a task and dedicate time for your distractions. I find playing music also helps me to focus on tasks and entertain less distractions. Putting on some headphones or playing via a speaker is best.
Do one thing at a time
I know people like to talk about multitasking, but in my opinion, batch working is a bigger superpower. Working on and finishing tasks one at a time is an efficient way to go through your tasks. Sometimes we try to do too many things at the same time and end up doing nothing at all. Being busy is not equal to being productive.
Keep realistic schedules
At the beginning of the week, it always feels like I can do everything that week. I can fill out my calendar with tons of work in time slots. Then by Tuesday, I realize I am getting burned out and did not space things out well. It is wise to keep a realistic schedule and work things out little by little. You are not Superman, you are a girl with a notebook, which is close.
Learn to say no
Sis! Look, you have to be selfish with your time. Learn to say no, if not, you will find that you are spreading yourself too thin, doing too many things at once and not being efficient or even good at any of them.
As a bonus, don’t forget to take breaks. Do things you like and schedule enjoyment to improve productivity when you get back to work.