My clients often ask me, “how do I get started on managing my time better?” My response is often “take baby steps”. Starting small, and working your way up from there is all you need to do. How does that look in practice though?
What do you want to achieve?
Whilst working with a client on time management, over several sessions we would discuss what things they’d like to be able to achieve, what’s on their ‘To-Do List’ (in their head or otherwise), what they’d really like to be able to do each day and so on. I coach them through how to prioritise this (often long) list. In follow up sessions, we talk about which tasks aren’t being met and break things down further to get momentum on the ‘stuck’ tasks.
Time Management Steps
What if you want to be organised and get more done but you do not have someone to step through this process? Well, you can try the following yourself:
1. Set time aside to jot down your top three tasks that need to happen this week
5-15 minutes is all you should need to do this step. Write down the top three tasks you need to do this week and list in order of importance.
2. Write down next to each of your three tasks how long you think it will take to finish that task
How much you can do this week depends on how much spare time you have and how long each task will take. It is important to be realistic on this step and, once you can see how much time each task will take, it is easier to add them into your week.
3. Get out your diary, calendar, or app – whatever it is you use to keep yourself on track
Let’s imagine that day one is a Monday. Before putting time in your diary for Task 1, consider what else you have to do that day. Do you need to work? Exercise? Pick up the kids? Eat, Sleep…. Then look for where do you have a pocket of time? How much time do you think you have?
If Task 1 requires one hour to complete it, and you only have five minutes on Monday to spare, you can do one of two things.
- You can choose one of your other tasks on the list that only requires five minutes (if it exists). This can only really happen if Task 1 can wait. Realistically, if Task 1 can’t wait, and you don’t have enough time to complete it, the task may become advising those affected by it that you can’t reach the deadline. Usually, things aren’t that dire though so you may be able to choose another task. Or alternatively,
- You can break Task 1 down into smaller chunks. Think about what you can do in five minutes to start the task?
Write that five minute task into your ‘spare time’ on Monday.
Repeat the above for each day of the week.
Depending on your availability that week, and how big your tasks are, you might do one task or all three. If you find that you have the capacity to do more than your three, and if there’s something else you must get done, go back to Step 1. If not, book in some ‘me time’. God knows a lot of us neglect this.
If you’re feeling like addressing your To-Do List is all too much, you might be a little overwhelmed and need someone to step you through this. In that case, feel free to make a booking for a face-to-face consultation or a remote session with me. I’d be happy to help.
Different ways ‘to skin a cat’ & ways to make it interesting
Just remember, we all have different ways to manage our time, and different things that appeal to us. This way is just one possible way for getting started on managing your time. Find what works for you.
To make time management a bit more fun, feel free to dress it up a bit with coloured pens and a gorgeous diary! Just remember, though, why you’re there and don’t get distracted by the pretties.
Share your ideas for getting started on managing your time on the WellSorted Facebook Page where we have a great community. I love seeing you all help each other out.