In the final months of my office job, I turned into a chronic clock watcher because I was unhappy at work. Every hour seemed to stretch out.
I was amazed at how slowly each day would go.
Now that I am working from home, I seem to have the opposite problem.
Time is flying by.
An hour passes like it is ten minutes. Time seems to be slipping away from me. Each day seems to be speeding up.
Consequently, I’m not getting what I need to be done in a day, week, or month.
It’s time to get a handle on my time.
Sometimes our habits can contribute to bad time management. Six months ago you may have been highly productive, but recently you introduced a new habit into your routine that is damaging your productivity, without you realizing it.
That’s why it is always a good idea to review your time management strategy.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who could do with a reminder. Do you find yourself in a similar situation?
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Here are 7 time management tips for when it feels like time is flying by.
1. Know what time it is
I need a clock for my office. A big one I can hang on the wall.
Even though I have the time on my laptop (in small writing down the right-hand corner of my screen) for some reason, I rarely look at this time and when I do hours seem to have passed by.
A clock on the wall will help me stay focused on exactly what time it is.
More productivity and time-related content –
- How to Have More Self-Discipline
- The Importance of Hitting Headlines
- Are You All Talk and No Action and How to Turn that Around?
- 12 Thought-Provoking Time Quotes
- How to Stop Wasting Your Precious Time
2. Achieve something each hour
There are 24 hours each day. Everyone has the same amount of time.
Yet we all know people who get a lot of work done in one hour, while others struggle to produce any work at all in the same time frame.
Naturally, the type of work you do is a contributing factor.
If you can, try to achieve something significant in each working hour.
Productivity books that can help you get more done –
- Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
- Eat That Frog: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy (I totally love this book and highly recommend it!)
3. Work in blocks of time
Obviously, a lot of things cannot be completed in an hour. Sometimes we need blocks of time or blocks of days (or even weeks) to complete a large task.
In my case, I need to schedule blocks of time to get work completed from start to finish.
I’ve started time blocking with a block in the morning and one in the afternoon. Each day has a specific theme. This system of blocking important tasks is working really well.
The key is not having any distractions, which leads to my next point.
Related post – The Truth about Multi-tasking
4. Don’t get distracted
You spend 20 minutes on Facebook, and half an hour on Twitter then you check a few of your favorite blogs and online newspapers.
Before you know it, you are wondering where your morning went.
Don’t let yourself get distracted when you have work to do. Save the online newspapers and blogs for AFTER the priority work is done.
If you need help staying focused read – Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.
5. Understand how long tasks take
This is the one that messes with me the most.
I seem to underestimate how long a task is going to take.
I need to do a bit of work on this one to get a more accurate picture of how long it takes me to complete a task from start to finish.
With writing I tend to finish a piece, then put it away and come back later to review it. If you also do this with your work, you need to factor this final review into your completion time.
Be aware however that sometimes the review itself can take a significant chunk of your time.
Once I have a clearer picture of how long projects take, I can plan my day more realistically instead of planning to get mountains of work done and being disappointed when I don’t reach an unrealistic pinnacle.
Related post – Is One Project Taking Up All of your Time and Energy?
6. Challenge yourself to work faster
When I first started posting on my blog, a blog post would sometimes take me at least 3 hours to write. Sometimes, I still take a long time to write a post (though in my defense they are normally the ones with a higher word count).
Surprisingly enough the posts with lots of links take longer than expected as well. Though there is not as much writing, there is a lot of double-checking to make sure the links work and are named correctly.
To speed up the writing time for my posts, I started using a timer. It worked in the beginning, but then I put the timer away thinking my problem was solved. I need to bring out the timer again.
If you are looking for a book that can help you in this area – Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity by Charles Duhigg is a great place to start.
7. ‘Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion’
I am sure you have all heard this quote or a similar version. It is called Parkinson’s Law.
I can definitely relate to this one. While I mentioned above that I underestimate how long things take, I am quite sure I overestimate them as well. Therefore I allocate too much time to complete a task and surprise, surprise that is how long it takes.
Getting your time management back on track is important for your overall productivity as well as your general happiness. Make the most of your valuable time.
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