If you are a disorganized person, then you probably have difficulties with time management. If so, there is no reason to feel ashamed. In most cases, difficulties with concentrating are beyond our control. Maybe you have never been taught any time management skills before, or perhaps you are disorganized naturally.
Even if you live in real chaos, there are efficient ways to change that. Problems connected with a lack of concentration are apparent: you forget about important things or miss the deadlines at work regularly. This brings you stress and damages your relations with a boss. This is especially true for those who prefer working as a freelancer.
Bloggers and copywriters that work from home must observe themselves. It is fantastic to have a flexible schedule, but it is still a schedule, not a helter-skelter.
In this post, we are going to discuss some practical tips to help you take control over your time, so read on carefully.
1. Time organization and planning
To organize your time, you have to start planning. Whether you prefer a piece of paper or a computer program, any backup will help. A calendar application on your mobile device is one of the options you could use for weekly notifications and reminders. You can create a schedule to remember all the important events and tasks to do.
For most disorganized people, something that is not scheduled will never happen. Your planner should include the deadlines, appointments, events, and exercises. Make sure to add only the most important of them. Avoid scheduling too many activities every hour of a day – this will make you feel confused. Also, don’t forget that you need bonus time for breaks and unexpected circumstances.
2. Time evaluation
If your day seems to be short for all of your activities, you have no free hours to enjoy and the deadlines dwindle too fast; then you have to evaluate how exactly you treat your time. Of course, sometimes you have too much work to do and unable to chat with your friend during lunch. However, why cannot you meet the project deadline or just read a book for an hour? Why the others have time for everything, and you don’t? The most plausible reason is a lifestyle that prevents you from organizing your time.
For instance, if you work 14 hours every day, you need to understand why. Maybe, the amount of responsibilities you take is too significant for you, and it is about time to share your tasks with other people or refuse from doing them.
Maybe you spend too much time working because of distractions such as your Facebook page or cellphone. Experiment, and try to turn your phone off and block your social network accounts during your work. It is a guarantee that you will accomplish more.
3. Planning, prioritizing, following through
Creating a routine is a perfect method to start planning, prioritizing, and following through your tasks efficiently. Start with scheduling the most important tasks like finishing projects, writing emails, and even doing laundry. After that, evaluate the time blocks you need to deal with these tasks (I suggest that you already know how to assess your time from the previous point). This will help you see how much time you can set aside for every task. Make sure to keep the blocks the same every week.
For large tasks, such as work projects, break them into small parts. First, this will make them manageable. Second, you will have a notion about the amount of time you need for every part and your chances to meet the deadline will grow.
Also, there is a good strategy known as “Rule of Three.” According to this, having only three tasks per day will increase your concentration even during the busiest days.
4. Keep your things in order
If you misplace your keys and other things all the time, you unavoidably waste your precious minutes to search for them every single day. It doesn’t seem to be important when you think about this. However, if you add these small minutes, you will get a couple of days a year in a larger picture. We believe that this time could get spent in a better way. So here is a trick: keep your things in order.
For instance, keep your keys on a hook near the door. Get yourself a folder for your bills and other financial documents. Keep your login information in one place.
Throwing away things you don’t need anymore is a great practice, too. Free space in your house is much better than piles of useless stuff that distract you when you need to find essential items. Also, to make your search faster, you can purchase clear boxes and bookcases.
5. Track and manage the external factors that waste your time
Sometimes, your activity will be interrupted by the external factors that will take away your precious time. This may be an unexpected meeting or a visit. If you believe that such factors are out of your control, we are glad to inform you that there are two ways to manage them at least partly. First, you should set a specific time to answer the calls and messages. You can turn your notifications off during the work and use only voice messages. Second, set the time blocks of free time to meet your colleagues and friends. And remember – it is okay to keep your door closed when you are busy and ask people to come back when you have time.
When you plan the meetings, make sure that they are necessary. The agenda must get established beforehand, and you are responsible for tracking the time you spend there. When the time ends, you can finish the meeting and leave.
6. Kick the bad habits
If you frequently take more tasks than you can cope with, then it’s no wonder that you have problems with time management. You have to drop such bad habits especially when you are a freelancer or starting your own business and do everything on your own. In most cases, when you take too much work and responsibility on your shoulders, nothing gets done. Therefore, you have to know your limits and refuse from taking more than you can handle. It is better to promise less and deliver more than vice versa.
The next bad habit you need to struggle is relying on your memory. Even if you think that your memory is incredible, it can (and will) fail you. A notebook or an organizer can be very helpful, and you should use them to write down everything essential, starting from the ideas and ending with meetings time. You can check your notes any time you need.
There are disputes around multitasking; however, we believe that it is a harmful habit for those who have problems with time management. If your concentration skills require improvement, doing various tasks simultaneously will only do everything worse. In your case, multitasking will cause a waste of time instead of doing more at once, because your brain will be switching from one to another. We recommend you to focus on completing one task at a time and then move to the next.
As you can see, your disorganization is not a tragedy. Mastering a time managing strategy is achievable, you only need to find the one that suits you best. Try to combine them and make sure that a chosen method fits you. Remember, there is no “one-size-fits-all” here, and you will have to experiment and try different ideas until you find the one that works for you.