“Proactive time management? That’s crazy talk Lori, I can barely keep up let alone be proactive about things!” But wait, let me help with the 5 helpful tips below!
There’s no denying the fact that we live in a ‘pressure cooker’ world with a never-ending barrage of commitments, deadlines, catastrophes and other events that demand our attention and time.
Now more than ever before, people are feeling the stress of not having enough time to do anything. They always feel like they’re behind the 8-ball and playing catch-up.
The truth of the matter is that no one can manage time. It will pass you by anyway. What you need to do is manage is your life and where your attention goes… and this is how you do it…
1. Shut out the noise
In order to find some semblance of peace and order, you’ll need to eliminate the pointless distractions in your life. That may mean getting off social media for a few months. It may mean turning off the news on TV (which never fails to rile you up). By eliminating these energy-draining ‘parasites’, you’ll have more time for what matters.
Always do what matters when it matters. For example, focusing on the tasks which have the highest return in your life. If you’re a writer, that will mean focusing on your writing first thing in the day.
Too often, we keep what’s crucial for later – because the work is ‘unappetizing’ and the procrastination helps to delay the unpleasantness of the task. However, this just delays the inevitable and makes the process worse than it has to be.
Instead, by getting the hardest tasks out of the way FIRST, you’ll not only feel more accomplished, but will have more time to breeze through the easier tasks because now you feel ‘lighter’ from having done what you were avoiding.
3. Follow a daily routine
While many people will frown at the idea of routine and structure in their life because ‘being controlled’ is anathema to them – the truth is that with structure comes freedom.
After all, you’ll be deciding on your own daily routine. This is not a military regimen where you need to follow orders from a barking sergeant. No no… this is your routine.
You can tailor it to suit your life. The key point to note is to do the needful in an efficient manner so that your commitments and work are met in an orderly manner. Some of the most important aspects of proactive time management.
Routine will eliminate a lot of decision fatigue in your life. You’ll know exactly what to do every single day and can coast through it in ‘flow state’ while you accomplish more with less effort. Doesn’t that sound fantastic?
Of course, it does!
4. Be more organized
This simple tip will save you hours of frustration and stress in the long run, not to mention the time savings too. Declutter your home so that it’s neater and requires less cleaning. Check out these five ways that decluttering can actually maximize your personal resources.
The same applies to your desk/workspace. The more orderly and neat things are, the less time you’ll need to spend searching for the items you need – and you won’t end up wasting time and energy.
5. Set deadlines
Remember the drill sergeant from earlier? Well, deadlines are like invisible bosses that keep prodding you to stay focused and complete the tasks on time. Always have deadlines for any job you do, and give yourself slightly less time than you think you’ll need.
Parkinson’s law states that the amount of work expands to fill the time available for its completion. So, the less time you give yourself, the faster you’ll get the work done. Of course, be reasonable with your deadlines.
They should motivate you to work faster, but not be so unreasonable that they annihilate you. Just remember the differences between busy and productive.
Apply these 5 time management tips in your life and you’ll be amazed at how much more productive you become, and you’ll not only free up your time, but your stress levels will drop considerably. Start implementing them in your life today!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is proactive time management?
Being proactive with your time management means being “in front” of it” instead of constantly feeling reactive to situations. You intentionally make plans and follow through with those plans. And yes, sometimes things crop up or the unexpected happens. But when you have a plan in place, you can take care of the “surprises” and then easily get back to your plan.
How can you be proactive in managing your time?
In addition to the five specific tips above, the general rule is to make some sort of plan and stick with it. Even if you don’t block specific times for specific tasks (i.e., I will vacuum at 10:00 AM), knowing that you will empty the dishwasher and vacuum all the bedrooms sometime before the kids get home from school then you have a plan with a deadline.
How does time management improve productivity?
When you manage your time effectively, you don’t spend your time wondering what to do next. When you spend precious time trying to figure out your next task, you end up losing out on your productivity.
Is productivity the same as time management?
They are not the same thing however they are close partners and usually walk hand-in-hand. And typically if you improve your skill at one, your skill at the other will follow suit!