7 Ways to Better Manage Your Day

7 Ways to Better Manage Your Day

You can’t add hours to your day, but these tactics will make you feel like you did!

If you’re like most women, you feel like there’s never enough time in the day to get everything done — but there are ways to maximize the time you do you have. Stick to these simple time management rules and you’ll be well on your way to crossing more items off your to-do list.

1. Start Your Day with the Most Critical Task
If the biggest thing you need to do winds up on the bottom of your list, it likely won’t get accomplished. Start contemplating the most important thing on tomorrow’s schedule the night before, and formulate a plan on when and how you’ll get it done. Tackling the hard stuff first is a common time management tip, and you’ll not only feel a weight lifted off your shoulders, but the rest of your tasks will seem like a breeze.

2. Minimize Emailing
How do you stay on top of that ever-filling inbox without letting emails take over your day? First, don’t check email in the first hour of the morning. The minute you read that first email, you start your day responding to another person’s need and stop being proactive about your own tasks.

Second, check email only twice per day: once in the morning and again in the afternoon. If you’re worried people will think you’re missing in action, compose an auto-response that informs senders you’ll be checking in later (and where to find you if it’s an urgent matter.)

Third, when email dialogue goes beyond two exchanges by each party, quit typing and pick up the phone. Keep the conversation to the subject at hand and you’ll come to a swift conclusion (and keep your inbox from overflowing!)

3. Don’t Get Sucked Into Social Media
Want to maintain focus? Lay off the social media until your tasks are done. But keep in mind that, sometimes, social media can be a timesaver if you need a rapid response to a problem. For instance, if getting the bathroom sink fixed is at the top of your list and you don’t know a plumber, put a request out to local pals and you should get a referral in no time.


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4. Put Yourself First
When it comes to scheduling appointments, most people tend to respond to the time they’re offered instead of suggesting the time that fits into their day. Need to book a cleaning at the dentist? Figure out how that’ll impact the other items on your schedule to determine whether a morning or afternoon appointment works best. If you call with plenty of advanced notice, you should have your pick of time slots.

5. Take a Break
Sometimes, too much on that to-do list leads to a case of temporary paralysis — you can’t generate the momentum to finish any one of your tasks. Though it might seem counterintuitive, this may be the best time to give your brain a rest. Head to the gym or out for a brisk walk, call a friend for a short chat, or grab a healthy snack. Rather than endlessly keeping your nose to the grindstone, reward yourself with a few mini-breaks, and you’ll be more productive in the long run.

6. Stop Multitasking
Counter to what some people say, it isn’t so easy to do two (or more) things at one time. In fact, experts report that each time we switch gears, it takes the brain about 15 minutes to get oriented to the new task. What’s more, extreme multitaskers are at risk for short-term memory loss, increased inattentiveness and an inability to concentrate. All that adds up to inefficiency, mistakes and more time required to get the job done right. Focus on one thing at a time or group similar tasks together, like paying bills and answering correspondence — and do them in bulk.

7. Avoid Interruptions
Your brain may try to trick you into thinking if you just take a quick second to respond to a text or tweeze your eyebrows you’ll still get through the task at hand. But these interruptions break your concentration and take you off the road to completing your chore. When you’ve got a task to tame, separate yourself from your cell phone, pop in a video for the kids, put a sign on your office door or do whatever you must to put a barrier between you and distraction. Also, if you’re more productive at certain times of the day, or there are fewer interruptions at certain hours, capitalize on those moments and get busy.

Effective time management takes practice. Tackle one or two tips at a time. Once you master these time management skills, you’ll eventually be able to whittle through your daily to-do lists in no time — freeing you up to enjoy more downtime.

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