If you could master only one thing in life, I would argue it should be time management. It’s the one skill that allows you to do everything – and do it well. Until there’s a cure for procrastination, we’ll just have to try our best. Even then, I’m not sure it’s possible to be human and not procrastinate. The two seem mutually exclusive. But it’s worth learning how to maximize our time for greater, long-term gains.
I’m currently juggling multiple projects: two part-time jobs, two writing gigs, a career development blog and a YouTube channel. People always ask me how I manage to get these done and quite frankly, I’m still figuring it out. Like everyone else, I procrastinate way more than I’d like to.
Recently though, I decided to make some adjustments. I took a hard look at the way I spend my days and realized a few techniques that have allowed me to be more productive.
Reduce time spent socializing
It’s easy to think one can just make time for things they care about, but with a finite amount of hours per day, a more effective strategy would be to change the way one already spends their time.
I used to go to at least three networking events per week and go to brunch every weekend. I quickly realized I was doing myself a disservice by doing things that weren’t directly helping me reach my goals. Instead, they were costing me valuable time and money.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t set time to meet new people. There’s nothing wrong with having a schedule for that though. Don’t just go with the flow when you have things to do. Be more intentional with your time. It’s tempting to go to every dinner party or free networking event. But realize that the more you entertain these distractions, the more you’re delaying your projects. By structuring social time, you save on precious hours and money (#winning).
Limit content consumption
The Internet has a way of hijacking our mind without our own input. When you watch a video on Facebook or YouTube, the next one automatically plays and you often find yourself checking it out. Netflix releases all episodes of a series at once – which leads to binge watching. It’s never been more important to be aware of the trap of mindless consumption.
I used to delay launching my blog by reading a bunch of motivational articles on Medium. I convinced myself it was worth it when in reality, I was just looking for an excuse not to start. Don’t make the same mistake. Figure out why you spend time doing something. Don’t confuse being busy with being unproductive. Don’t mindlessly consume web content and distance yourself from what needs to be done. Take control and be more selective.
You’ve heard that one before so I won’t spend too much time on it. I just felt the need to reiterate how crucial it is. Listing out your priorities helps you spend your time more efficiently as it keeps distractions away. What works for me is setting calendar reminders of what needs to get done. I treat my personal projects like I approach my tasks at work. I write them down, create an action plan and execute them one by one. Having a fixed deadline to complete them and people to hold me accountable definitely helps. Try setting these standards in your personal life.
Check out: How to Manage Time with 10 Tips That Work
What are some time management tips that have worked for you? Please share them in the comments.