Several months ago I did a post on productivity as a part of a group writing project. Vivien at Inspiration Bit has a new group writing project going on a similar topic – time management, which is something I think most of us deal with on a daily basis. I have a toddler at home and with the increasing number of opportunities that are coming my way, I am finding that it is very important to maximize my time. I have to make every minute that I have available to work count, because there are never enough of them! Here are some things I do to help with time management:
1. Don’t waste time. This seems rather obvious doesn’t it? I used to waste a lot of time watching stats, checking e-mail often, keeping things in my feed reader that might be sort of amusing, but were just time suckers. I had to ruthlessly eliminate things that were pulling me off track.
2. Carry a notebook. In my post about Moleskine notebooks I mentioned that I had started keeping a notebook with me at all times. So, for example, If I have 15 minutes to wait at the doctor’s office, I can begin to formulate a blog post or sketch some logo ideas.
3. Keep a calendar. I used to just sort of keep a running list of things that I needed to do in my head and just get them done as quickly as possible. Now, with work backing up I can no longer keep track of everything, nor can I give clients a feel for when I could begin their project unless I keep a calendar in which I plan out projects, estimating the number of hours things will take. This goes a long way towards eliminating stress as well, since I have a clear plan for getting everything accomplished on time.
4. Work anywhere and everywhere. I use online tools like GMail, Google documents, and WordPress so that I can work from any computer. If I end up an my parents’ place with time to kill, I can turn on the laptop and get some things accomplished.
5. Break all tasks into small bits. If I have even one minute, I sit down at the computer and do something. Every little thing I can do gets me closer to finishing a task.
6. Learn to say no. That is a hard one for me… really hard. I want to do everything! I want to help everyone that e-mails me and needs something designed, fixed, written, etc. but I just can’t. Saying no does get easier the more I do it.
Even with all of my efforts, I still feel as though I could do a better job managing my time. Do you have any tips for me?