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Time Management: 5 Ways To Combat The "I Have No Time" Excuse

We often put off important tasks by telling ourselves that we've got no time for them. But, simple things can improve our productivity. Keep a time log to track how long your tasks take and when you're the most productive. Make a to-do list every morning and prioritize tasks. Beat procrastination by avoiding distractions and dividing large tasks into smaller ones. Avoid multitasking as it lowers focus. Delegate tasks to free up your time.

The hustle of everyday life can leave us feeling like we’ve got no time for anything else. This could lead us to skip important things like workouts, taking up something new, and keeping up with your study schedules.

So, if you tend to catch yourself saying “I have no time” more often than not, it’s important to try and identify ways to get stuff done. Here are 5 tips that help you do just that.

1. Keep A Time Log

Knowing how and where you spend most of your time is an important first step to managing your time. Start this process off by recording what you’re doing for 15-minute intervals for a week or two.

Once you’ve got the results, analyze if you did everything that was needed. Additionally, determine the tasks that require the most amount of your time, the time of the day you’re most productive in, and the nature of the task you devote most of your time to (such as your job, family, personal interests, and recreation).

Identify the amount of time it takes for routine tasks and ask yourself if the most time-consuming task is worth it. This will help you be more realistic in the planning and estimation of the amount of time you’d need for other activities.1

2. Make A “To Do” List Every Day

The word “prioritize” is thrown around a lot when it comes to time management. But, setting long-term priorities leave room for procrastination.

Instead, every morning, write down all the things that you want to do on that day. This includes homework, studying a certain number of chapters for a test, making it to a pilates class, getting groceries, or taking personal calls. Be sure to schedule your most important tasks during the time of the day that you’re the most productive in.

This list will serve as a reminder and help you decide how much time you’d like to spend on each task. Re-write this list every morning and try and stick to your deadlines as much as you can without stressing over it. This will help you finish your tasks on time in the long run.2

3. Avoid Procrastination

This tip might be easier stated than done, but if you tend to procrastinate a lot, it’s important to employ techniques to beat the problem. For starters, avoid distractions like the television, your smartphone, and friends. Find a spot that’s free from all distractions to do your most important tasks.

Additionally, do your most difficult or distasteful task first. This will help you avoid leaving it until too late and save you the anxiety of not meeting deadlines.

Reward yourself when you do finish a task to establish a positive connection with getting tasks done and have a preparatory set of tasks like arranging papers or organizing your notes if you have trouble getting started.3

Besides this, divide up your large projects into subprojects. This makes them less intimidating, reduces procrastination, and gives you a sense of accomplishment even before the project is complete. Doing these few things can reduce procrastination.4

4. Avoid Multitasking

While it might seem like getting things done simultaneously can help you get productive, studies say otherwise. In fact, multitasking increases the amount of time you spent on a task.

This could be because when you switch from one task to another, you lose time, hence losing productivity. Additionally, routine multitasking lowers concentration and focus, making it doubly hard for you to finish work on time. So, be sure to focus on one task at a time.5

5. Delegate Tasks

For the things that you can’t possibly do on your own, but need to get done regardless, get help. This could be anything from getting a cook to paying someone to mow the lawn.

In order to get the best results out of delegation be sure to identify the tasks that you can afford to delegate. Once you’ve done that, find someone who’s best suited to doing that particular task.

When you’re talking to the person you’ve delegated the task to, be specific in defining the task and what your expectations are. And, while you could occasionally check up on the person to make sure the task is progressing well, be sure not to take over the task.

Give feedback once the task is done and if the job is well done, you could ask the person to continue helping you out. This will free up your time for other tasks on your to-do list.6

In addition to incorporating the above tips into your life, be sure to ask yourself if you’ve got enough time for your personal well being. If you feel like you’re overworking at any point, reevaluate your goals and work around them to make time for yourself.

References   [ + ]

1. Time Management: 10 Strategies for Better Time Management. The University of Georgia.
2. How to Manage Time and Set Priorities. Webster University.
3, 5, 6. Time Management: 10 Strategies for Better Time Management. The University of Georgia.
4. Effective Time Management. Wright State University.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.