Making the Most of Your Time When You Have So Little of It
No matter who you are, no matter where you live, there are only 24 hours in your day. If you lead a busy life, you’ll find it hard to accomplish everything you want to do in just 24 hours. This is especially true if you’re trying to balance your work commitments with a family life. There is very little time for relaxation and leisure, not to mention free time to handle personal needs. So what can you do to make the most of your limited time?
Here are a few tips to help you plan your daily routine.
Get a good night’s sleep. Even though you’ll instinctively want to sleep less in order to accomplish more, your productivity will wane if you lead a chronically sleep deprived life. The benefits of getting enough sleep are quite clear. Sufficient sleep is vital if we want to stay physically healthy and it’s as important to our wellbeing as physical exercise and good nutrition. Making the most of your day starts with getting the most of your night, so make sure you sleep enough.
Plan ahead. Plan what you want to accomplish in your day. Take the time at the end of your work day to prepare a plan for the next one. Set your goals, list your assignments, identify your responsibilities, and prepare to tackle your projects one by one. Take on the most difficult challenges first thing in the morning when you are fully rested and mentally alert.
Prioritize your tasks. After listing everything that you need to accomplish, decide what is most important, demanding your immediate attention. Handle these top priority tasks first. Then work down your list, checking off the tasks one by one as you complete them. Your list will become shorter as the day goes by.
Create a routine. Once you’ve listed your tasks and prioritized them, create a schedule for your day. Many tasks will become routine, letting you handle them at the same time, or in the same manner, every day. Stick to the schedule and you’ll accomplish quite a bit. Certain things can be on the same day every week. For example, you can buy lottery tickets every Monday for the US Powerball draw on Wednesday; or you can set your TiVo on Thursday to record your favourite television show on Friday.
Don’t multi-task. It sounds counter-productive, but you should only focus on one task at a time. While everyone strives to multi-task, in reality multitasking just doesn’t work. Sure, you can run and listen to music at the same time, but that’s because these are physical activities that don’t put your brain into gear. It is much harder, if not impossible, to accomplish two tasks simultaneously if they both require your full concentration and attention.
Shut down distractions. You’ll find you get more done if there is nothing to distract you. One of the biggest distractions these days is our constant need to stay connected with family and friends. Social media is a time killer. If you’re chatting, posting, commenting, and tagging, you’re certainly not working and properly handling the tasks you planned to do. Shut down your internet connection until everything else is handled.
Breathe. Sleep. Repeat. Even if you’re moving ahead at a good pace and are set to accomplish everything you’ve planned, you still need to take a short break from time to time. Recharging your brain will help your creativity and prepare you for the next set of tasks and goals. Accept the fact that it’s impossible to do everything. Plan and prioritize your schedule for tomorrow and get a good night’s sleep so that you’ll be ready for your next 24 hours.