Being able to manage your time is one of the most important skills today – the world is moving faster and faster, and being able to keep yourself organized and ready means you can keep up with the pace as well as improve your productivity. Here are 4 essential time management techniques to make sure you’re working to the best of your ability.

Create a Daily List
Before you properly begin your day, you need to know exactly what needs to do in order to plan effectively how you’re going to do them. In the morning or even the evening before, make a list of all the things you need to do during that day, and when they need to be done by. Try to separate these into different commitments – we recommend a category for work, family, and personal things. Once you’ve written out everything you can possibly think of, start to work down the list and prioritize what needs doing first. Perhaps you have a small bit of paperwork to finish up before your 9 am meeting – that certainly needs to be done before you can go out for a walk, for example. 

Once you know what you need to do and when you need to do them, take the list with you while you’re out. This means you can work through the list throughout your day, and always know what the next step is rather than spend ages pondering what you should do. It can also help you feel less overwhelmed, particularly if you have a lot to do, as you can compartmentalize each thing and feel satisfaction when you tick them off. We recommend keeping this list on your phone, as it’ll be with you everywhere for a quick check.

Install a Website Blocker
It’s easy to get distracted when we’re trying to stay focused on something, and before you know it, you could be scrolling through random news articles when you should be finishing up your work. Install a website blocker to prevent this from happening – one that allows you to manage your time effectively. Some even offer schedules to allow you to block websites while you’re working but enjoy them in your downtime. One website blocker, BlockSite, offers many useful tips on time management techniques which are well worth checking out. Having a way to prevent you from getting distracted means you’re more likely to get work done better and faster, and can work your way down that list quickly and efficiently.

Give Yourself Time for Breaks
Time management may seem to be all about getting things done as quickly as possible, but in fact it’s about getting things done as effectively as possible. Trying to do everything as quickly as possible is going to end up draining your resources and leaving you burnt out, meaning the work you produce will also be much worse quality. It’ll also make work seem like a chore and like a big thing that you don’t want to do, meaning it’s easy to procrastinate and put it off until the last minute. 

Adding breaks into your work time is the way to fix all of this. Not only will it give you time to breathe and refresh your mind, but it’ll give you the opportunity to step away and come back ready to get stuck into work again, meaning you’ll be able to work for much longer and, although it may seem contradictory, get work done faster. It also means that even if you don’t enjoy the work you’re doing, you can get yourself to finish it by pushing towards a break time. The Pomodoro technique is a popular method, whereby you spend 25 minutes working and take a 5-minute break on repeat. Breaking work into small chunks mean it’s much easier to manage and so is easier to get started and keep going.

Have Goals in Mind
Although you may have a lot of work you want to do, do you know why you want to do it? What is your end goal? It’s important to have a few goals that you’re working towards in order to motivate yourself to get stuck into work and be able to get things done so you have time for other things. For example, you may motivate yourself to keep going with a piece of work because it means once you’re done, you have more time or spend with your partner or family. Even smaller goals, such as “Once I’ve finished this, I can have that piece of cake” are great ways to keep yourself working and make sure you don’t spend longer on something than you need to. 

No one ever said managing your time properly was easy, but with these 4 simple steps, you’ll be able to grab hold of the reins and take control of your time, and give yourself a more organized, calmer, and happier life.