time management app

How to Manage Your Time Better With or Without an App

Drive-thru:

  • When choosing a time management app, take the time to study their features and ask others what apps they use.
  • Manage your time better by managing priorities.
  • Use efficient practices to help you focus so you get things right the first time.

If you lived around 3,500 B.C., you’d likely manage your time based on the sun’s journey across the sky. Today though, the clock ticks away, issuing a 24/7 reminder that time is passing. So, before your time runs out, harness these ideas to manage your time better.

Get an App For That, Or Not

You can find many apps to help manage your time better, but you have to choose wisely. Otherwise, you’ll end up wasting your time on a “solution” that’s actually a problem.

First, study the options carefully and read the reviews. Then, ask others what time management apps they use. Narrow your options by eliminating those that don’t meet your primary needs in a straightforward way, or those cluttered with options to meet the needs you don’t have. Try the remaining contenders. The right app for you is the one that matches your needs without demanding more time than you’re willing to invest.

Just remember, an app won’t improve your time management unless you use it and use it correctly.

Just remember, an app won’t improve your time management unless you use it and use it correctly. Make it a priority to learn the app. Take time to do the setup. Start right to get the most benefit from it.

Whether or not you use an app, here is a formula to help you manage your time better.

Get Your Priorities Right

Time management today is no longer about setting a deadline and trying to finish the task before time runs out. Instead, it’s all about priorities based on how important the task is. It is impossible to do everything you want or even need to do. That’s why time management is essential.

You can make the best use of your time when you focus on the priority at hand. Having a clear vision of what you’re trying to accomplish is a big help. It is also useful if you sort the tasks in front of you from the most pressing to the least pressing.

When you are in the 'zone', you are doing the things well that you want to do. Click To Tweet

For instance, consider the time management challenges a masonry foreman faces. While overseeing bricklayers on scaffolds, they must respond to safety concerns first. If they focus on speeding the mortar delivery to urge on the bricklayers instead, they’ll likely end up with even bigger safety concerns. The faster mortar delivery adds new safety risks.

Do you see the difference there? Safety concerns are urgent, while mortar delivery is important. You can combine ‘urgent’ and ‘important’ in multiple ways to set priorities. When something is:

  • Urgent AND important, it needs your attention immediately.
  • Important BUT NOT urgent, these tasks need your attention to take care of the bigger picture. For the masonry foreman, the task of streamlining the mortar delivery will pay off in the long run.
  • Urgent BUT NOT important, this is a task you should delegate. If you can’t delegate it, do something to eliminate it. Other people own these tasks, and they tend to be interruptions or distractions.
  • Not Urgent AND Not Important, this includes all the tasks or activities you do that don’t contribute to your goals. Distractions are a big part of this category, like checking your Facebook page every 10 minutes and cruising Amazon for a gadget or app that’ll help you avoid procrastinating.

Do Right

With your priorities set, you will do the right thing when it’s time. But that’s just half the battle. You also need to get it right the first time, which requires staying focused. When you do the right things right, you are in the ‘zone.’ That’s the place where you are doing the things well that you want to do. This zone feeds your need to self-actualize. It’s where you consistently and constantly move toward your goals.

You can reach this well through efficient practices. Rather than trying to multitask (which some say decreases productivity), focus on just one thing at a time. Don’t answer the phone while reading your email. Don’t try to solve a resource constraint on your project schedule as you reorder tasks to adjust for a change order. Don’t try to balance your checkbook while talking on the phone about the project budget.

Set time limits on tasks to improve creativity and force yourself to stay focused. When you’ve got a backlog, close off the tasks so you don’t add anything to them. That way, they stay the same or get smaller. Reduce the factors in your day that interrupt or distract you. Find ways to reward yourself when you meet the goals you’ve set.

There’ll never be enough time for everything. But, if you manage your time better, you’ll have enough time for what’s important.

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