I don't have enough time to reach my goals. How can I get better at managing my time?
The world moves faster than ever and sometimes it seems like we have more work than can realistically be accomplished in a 8-hour (or even 10-hour) day. Before you throw in the towel and assume your job is too hard, learning how to manage your time more efficiently is a skill that you can take with you forever.
There are dozens of reasons we can end up poorly managing our time. Rather than make any assumptions around what is causing you to miss your goals, first consider how you are spending your time. We recommend starting with a time tracking.
Either review your calendar (if you live by your calendar) or journal your actions throughout a day for one week.
Your goal is to answer these questions:
Where is your time going? What are you doing throughout the day.
Is what you are spending your time serving the goals you want to achieve?
When are you most efficient?
When do you find it easiest to concentrate and enter a flow state?
When do you find it more difficult to concentrate?
Where can you delegate and re-prioritize?
Are you being interrupted, or finding it difficult to concentrate because of distractions?
Consider what you can do reduce and eliminate interruptions and distractions. For example, can you wear noise-canceling headphones? Perhaps you can find a quiet environment to work. Maybe you can turn off notifications on your phone and computer. Can you time-block (block off time to focus on one thing)?
Consider changes to your routine. If you are most productive in the mornings or are more productive in the evening, how can your work time align better with these productivity zones? Similarly, if you find it difficult to concentrate right after lunch, maybe you should schedule easier tasks in that time frame (or adjust your diet).
Eat the frog! Many people find that it's easiest to tackle your most important, most difficult tasks first. From here, you can dive into the more exciting tasks knowing that you've checked off your hardest to-do item.
Plan your chunks of time. It can be helpful to plan your 60 or 90 minute chunks of work. Write down exactly what you want to accomplish, consider what might block you from being productive, and then set a timer. Take a 10 minute break at the end of each chunk of time to reset your brain, grab a coffee, or just close your eyes.