Effective time management is a primary means to a less stressful and more fulfilling life. I’m often asked how I manage my time, so thought I’d share a few tips and tricks that can help you reduce your stress and reclaim your personal life. Here are my top seven tips to reduce stress and improve productivity…
Image by Laura Chouette
Until last year I worked full-time as a Design Manager for a Fashion company in London and wrote my blog in my spare time. Being a blogger and working full-time can throw up endless problems, to name a few: not being able to go to events, finding time to visit places, photograph things, edit your photographs, write and post blogs regularly. Time management is a careful balance for everyone of us, no matter what your career, job or lifestyle, if you’re a blogger or not.
Plan, plan, plan each day: Write a to-do list, putting the most important tasks at the top. Planning your day can help you accomplish more and feel more in control of your life. Keep a schedule of your daily activities to avoid last-minute rushes. I keep a notepad by my bed, when my brains on overdrive I jot down all the ideas and empty my brain of the things I need to do! syphoning off all your ideas and tasks on to paper, helps you wind down and always makes for a better nights sleep.
Prioritise tasks:It’s easy to let days drift by with time-consuming, relatively unimportant tasks taking up a lot of your day. Prioritising tasks will ensure that you spend your time and energy on those that are truly important to you.
Learn to say no: Sounds harsh? I’m still in the process of mastering this one! If you’re a creative or have a skill or talent of any variety, you’ll find you’re often asked by friends, family, co-workers for favours. I’m not saying don’t do favours, just that, it’s key to consider your goals and schedule before agreeing to take on additional work, which sometimes means standing your ground and saying no.
Break down large, time-consuming tasks: If you have a large project don’t focus on the enormity of the job. Break down the project into small chunks and work on the smaller chunks a little at a time. For example: I’ve been working on a website redesign for The Fabulous Times which has been an on going project since Christmas! Each week I have a chunk of ‘back office’ work to do to improve the site, slowly but surely the project is taking shape, some days it may feel like you’re not getting anywhere but it’s important to persist with each little task, eventually you’ll find things start to come together and take shape!
Split your time into hourly chunks: Some days when i’m juggling freelance design work, emails, blogging and other creative projects i’ll split my day into hourly chunks so I can cover each project. This prevents me from letting tasks over run and take too long, makes me conscious of the time i’m spending on each project and motivates me to work quickly.
Keep mind, body & soul together: Stay active, get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. I know how easy it is when you get busy to say use the ‘i’ve not had time to go to the gym’ the truth is, it’s vital to make time. A healthy lifestyle can improve your focus and concentration, which will help improve your efficiency so that you can complete your work in less time.
Reward yourself: This is the best bit! when you’ve been working on a task and you’ve completed it, reward yourself. Grab a milkshake or coffee, take a break, arrange to have a special lunch with a friend. Having a reward to look forward to will spur you on in the hard times.
‘Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it’ -M. Scott Peck