8 tips to make the most out of your time
Saying “I don’t have time” is the most common excuse of our generation. But you do have time, more than you think and I’m going to show you why.
We live in a world where most things are less time-consuming than they were before. We can now skip grocery shopping and have food delivered straight to our doorsteps, reheat a prepared dish instead of cooking and do pretty much everything online from following a class to managing a bank account, meeting people or ordering a cab.
Furthermore, the flexibility we have today in the work environment is bewildering. You can work part-time and have another activity on the side, launch your own startup and manage your business from home or work as a blogger and travel around the world while doing so.
However, people still have a hard time organising themselves! So, let me give you 8 useful tips on how to manage your time better!
1. MAKE A GREAT TO-DO LIST
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry once said “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” And that is why you need a to-do-list, you need a game plan.
The amount of tasks you have to complete will probably seem daunting at first but it doesn’t have to be.
Start by making lists by categories, one for home, for work, and for personal goals (exhibits you want to go to, new decoration you want to buy, etc.)
To do so, you can use Trello. This app enables you to organize your projects and lists into boards. Pretty easy to use, you can create both collaborative and private boards. The customised board you create gives you a global vision of what you have to do, what is on-going and what you have already accomplished.
Be sure that every dot on your list is a very precise goal. Rather than writing “exercise more” write “do 15 lunges and squats every morning”. Instead of “write the thesis”, try to break it down into many different steps so that you will be able to cross something off your list at the end of the day. It will not only boost your confidence, but it will also make every task seem smaller and therefore easier.
If you want to spend less time setting up appointments, use Clara, an app to coordinate your meetings and interviews through your emails. Having an AI assistant handling your calendar will save you a lot of time.
2. BEGIN WITH THE HARDEST TASKS
Once you have a to-do list, it is time to start working towards ticking those boxes.
Start by defining which are the most pressing matters. An efficient time management trick is to complete your hardest tasks in the morning when you are most productive. You will have a weight lifted off your shoulders having accomplished these asks early in the day.
In order to plan your days and what to do first, you can use Evernote, this app is designed for note-taking and organizing. You can customize your notes with all sorts of fonts and colors. It also has a wide variety of templates and you can very easily add pictures, links, voice memos and even digitalize handwritten sheets and drawings to your notes.
3. STOP POSTPONING FIVE-MINUTE TASKS
These are all the things you always say you'll do: unsubscribe from an annoying newsletter, write to an old friend with whom you want to reconnect, print some pictures from your last trip, send a paper to your insurance company. We all have dozens of five-minute tasks that we plan on doing someday when we have time, but we can spare these 5 minutes. So stop postponing and start doing.
4. RUN A TIME AUDIT
If you are reading this article, you are probably trying to manage your time better and the most interesting experiment you can do is to see how you spend your time.
You can download an app called RescueTime which tracks the time you spend on applications and websites and then gives you an overview of your daily activity. You might feel like you only spend one hour on your emails and another one on social media when it turns out you actually spend almost two hours and a half on each. This app runs in the background of your device and sends you detailed reports.
5. SET A TIMER
You can set a time limit for your task if you have a report to write, challenge yourself: put a timer and start working. You will feel the need to have something to show for these two hours and will automatically be more efficient and it will restrain you from procrastinating or answering your phone every five minutes.
6. COMMIT 100% IN EACH ACTIVITY
The French philosopher, Montaigne, used to say “When I dance, I dance; when I sleep, I sleep”.
And that is exactly what you need to do. When you engage in an activity, commit 100%. In order not to lose time and energy switching gears all the time, try to group similar work. Schedule time for each activity and stick to it. When you do two things at once, you do neither one correctly.
The same concept applies to your break when you take a break really take it. Go to the coffee machine, talk to your colleagues, go outside for a few minutes, walk, don’t just stay at your computer watching videos. Time will fly and you won’t feel the tiniest bit rebooted.
7. TAKE AN HOUR FOR YOU AND FOR YOU ONLY
Start by putting down on paper what you consider to be the most important things in your life, what really makes you happy and what you would be sad to lose. These are the activities and the people you have to make time for. Add it to your calendar to be sure it appears on your list of priorities.
If you feel like you have no time for yourself, try to slightly readjust your schedule. Get up an hour earlier than you actually need to and take this time for yourself. Ideally, don’t switch on your phone and computer. That way you won’t be interrupted, won’t lose an hour scrolling on social media but will really make something out of this hour. Prepare a healthy lunchbox, do yoga, read the paper, take a bath, etc.
8. DO NOT WASTE TIME COMPLAINING THAT YOU HAVE NO TIME
This one is pretty much self-explanatory.
In the end, it is all about how we manage our time. I will leave you with the words of the British philosopher Bertrand Russel: “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time”.
You can use the following apps to help you make your workday more organized and increase productivity!
ToDoist is a task organization tool. It allows you to organize your day in projects, and to create and customize these projects according to what you need.
Wunderlist is a collaborative task list application that helps you coordinate your tasks with groups of friends, co-workers, and anyone else you want.
Timely is a beautiful and innovative time-management application that not only manages the duration of your projects and tasks but also helps you organize your workweek in a timely, efficient and simple manner.
Calm is a simple meditation tool, available in your browser and IOS. It allows you to start meditating quickly and easily. Thanks to multiple meditation options, it allows anyone to meditate, starting with short periods of time and gradually beginning to meditate for longer periods.