Many people feel overwhelmed by work, chores and other responsibilities. That’s often due to ineffective time management. Not handling tasks systematically and efficiently can cause you to waste time on things that aren’t important, struggle to get important tasks done on time and not have enough time to spend on things you enjoy. Here are some strategies to help you make better use of your time.
Set the Right Goals
You probably have a long list of things that you have to do, things that you want to do and things that other people want you to do. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to do all of them or that you should even try to.
Decide which tasks are most important. Then, break them down into categories and figure out which have to be done today, which are essential but don’t necessarily have to be done today and can be delayed or delegated to someone else.
Create a Plan
Make a list of three to five essential things that you have to do today and figure out how to tackle them. You may realize that it’s best to handle those tasks in a specific order because of what they entail or the amount of time they will require.
If you have to complete a project that will require multiple steps, separate it into stages and assign yourself a series of deadlines. Breaking an enormous task down into smaller pieces can make it seem less overwhelming. Also, giving yourself a deadline for each component can help you monitor your progress and stay on track.
If you find that a task will take longer than anticipated, you may need to finish it another day, but something else on the back burner or ask someone to help you. The sooner you realize that you won’t be able to meet your goal, the sooner you will figure out how to handle the problem, so you won’t find yourself feeling stressed or overwhelmed later.
When you’re working on something important, minimize distractions. Don’t check your email or social media accounts or read articles online to procrastinate or combat boredom. Doing those things will only make it harder to accomplish what you need to get done and reduce the amount of time you will have to devote to activities you enjoy.
Tackle challenging tasks during the hours when you’re generally most productive. Take care of other things that require less energy and focus when you tend to be less effective.
It’s essential to take breaks at regular intervals, especially when working on large or complex projects. Stepping away from your work and focusing your attention on something else can help you recharge and return to essential tasks with renewed energy and concentration.