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How To Manage Time Better

Updated on December 9, 2014

We live in an increasingly busy culture and now more than ever, being able to manage time properly is essential for success, health and happiness.

With simple techniques such as prioritizing and planning, you will have less stress and more productivity and free time.

Make the most of your time
Make the most of your time | Source

Don't Take On Too Much

We all like to be needed in one way or another. It helps us feel a part of our social and work community and gives us a sense of significance. But taking on too many responsibilities will stretch you too thin and waste time.

Learn to say 'No' sometimes and you will not only have less stress and more time, you will be able to give your best to the challenges you say 'Yes!' to.

But I can't say no, I have responsibilities.

True, responsibilities are a part of life, but we all do things that aren't necessary and don't have a direct impact on the finished result. Sometimes 'busywork' is an excuse for procrastination. Be brutally honest and come to compromises with others if needs be.

Prioritize With A To-Do List

Pareto's Principle or the 80-20 Rule, states that in whatever you are doing 80% of your results are achieved with just 20% of the work you do.

This is because most of our days are filled with being busy, not productive. By making a 'to-do' list and ordering it by importance you can make progress faster and eliminate anything that is actually unnecessary.

Also ask yourself if everything needs to be done by you. If there are others capable and available, delegate tasks to them.

Don't waste time on things that don't matter
Don't waste time on things that don't matter | Source

Stop Procrastinating

Distractions are a part of life and it's important to make allowances for them. But there comes a point when they can take over and become excuses. Many people use distractions as a form of procrastination, putting off something they either don't want, are afraid or not motivated to do.

Ask yourself why you are allowing yourself to get distracted. Are you working on something that needs to be done, but bores you? Are you afraid of failure or success?

It could be you are working in the wrong environment. If there are many noises, people and so on, think about changing your location so you can concentrate better. You can try working in a different room, at a local library, a friends house or even in the park. If this is not doable, consider listening to non-distracting music on your MP3 player using headphones.

Take Time Out

Yes taking time out to relax can save you time and help productivity! Our bodies are designed to work at their best when rested.

The more stressed and tired you get, the less your body and mind function properly. By taking regular breaks, even if it's 10 minutes for some water and an apple, you are giving yourself a chance to order your thoughts, take stock and refresh.

When you go back to your task, you will have fresh eyes to see solutions previously missed. You will also be able to see how much you have achieved so far.


Use Forward Planning

Have everything you need in advance for your task. Be organised and prepare all of the tools and information you will need for all eventualities.

Finding you are missing something you need to complete your work is a distraction, can waste valuable time and make you look unprofessional.

Consider all aspects of planning ahead as well. If it is for an important meeting do you have your pen, paper, documents, notes, figures and answers to possible questions easy to hand? Do you know how to get to the venue and the possible traffic delays?

Planning ahead not only saves you time but keeps you focused and relaxed~ the perfect conditions for high quality productivity!

When Do You Work At Your Best?

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Find Your Best Time To Work

Listen to your personal body clock and work when you feel at your best during the day or night.

As we have already established, trying to achieve anything when you are tired and stressed is a waste of time. If like me you work best in the afternoon and evening, then do that. If it's at dawn that you feel your best, go with it. We all have different systems and working out how yours responds, will put you in the best frame of mind to make progress.

Keep times when others are dependent on you being there to a minimum and find alternatives where possible. Is there any reason why your meeting couldn't be done online? Do you need a meeting at all? We live in the digital age, make the use of it!


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    • KarenCreftor profile image

      Karen Creftor 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      Thanks all for your lovely comments!

      Janis, very good point on taking time out, thanks :D I've often found that not trying so hard yields the best results...go with the flow and as you say 'just be'.

      ~Kaz x

    • yougotme profile image

      Renz Kristofer Cheng 5 years ago from Manila

      I'm actually reading "Next Generation Leaders" by A. Stanley. And yes, it's essential for success to have a better control of our time. He also mentioned about the 20-80 rule, thanks for expounding more on it.

    • northlandws profile image

      northlandws 5 years ago from Fargo, North Dakota

      I do relax after a tedious day. It energizes me and keeps me going til the next day.

    • Dee aka Nonna profile image

      Dee aka Nonna 5 years ago

      We have but 24-hours and we must spend it wisely. I love the "take breaks and learn how to relax"...when we learn to do this we are much more effective and efficient with the other times in the day. Voted up and useful.

    • Janis Goad profile image

      Janis Goad 5 years ago

      Part of learning how to relax means giving yourself a day sometimes without a list. Just be, live in the moment and listen for life's clues about what you need to be doing. Sometimes that's when the best ideas and productivity come, in a direction you had not exactly planned.

      I enjoyed reading this hub. Thanks for posting!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I too am a list maker and would be lost without them. Taking time out for yourself to relax is so important.

      Excellent hub!

    • chrissieklinger profile image

      chrissieklinger 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I have learned over the years how important saying the word "no" is. I am a list queen, but it makes everythingin my life go better and I rarely feel stressed even though I have a lot on my plate and wear a lot of hats. Great hub!