Time management is a skill that will pay dividends forever. If you don’t manage your time well it will seriously cost you in both your personal and professional life.
The reason why time management is so important is because time is the one variable that we all have in common. There will always be discrepancies in social status, wealth, and even physical attributes. Regardless of any of those we all have the same number of hours every single day. It’s not how much time you have it’s how you spend it.
Here’s some time management advice that will help you get ahead in both business and life.
Set Targets and Milestones
When it comes to setting goals there’s no real right or wrong way to approach this. However, if you don’t set goals at all you will lack focus and may miss your targets all together.
Regardless of what it is you want to accomplish you need to set a specific target for achievement. For example if you want to earn more money this year you should always shoot for a specific number. Once you set that number create milestones along the way that will help you stay on track. Using this method you’ll train yourself to focus your time on activities that are aligned with your target and milestones along the way.
Follow the Pareto Principle
The Pareto Principle also known as the 80-20 rule suggests that 80% of results come from 20% of the effort put in. This is commonly used in sales as 80% of sales typically come from 20% of the customers.
When it comes to how you should manage your time this principle can also be applied. 80% of your results comes from 20% of your actions. So where do you start?
I suggest taking a look at your schedule or to-do-list every day. For the sake of simplicity try to get down five tasks you need to accomplish. Using the principle you can probably eliminate the majority of the items on your list. It may feel unnatural at first but overtime this will condition you to scale up effort on the most important tasks.
Schedule Breaks and Stick to Them
There’s a lot to be said about the power of rest throughout the workday. If you power through the day without taking the time to decompress you’ll do yourself more harm than good.
The best way to take breaks is to schedule them throughout your day. That way you can truly control the flow of work.
Eliminate Time Wasters
Save time by eliminating time wasters? While it sounds obvious very few individuals are actually able to identify where they’re wasting their time. The one’s that can identify them often don’t make the necessary changes.
One of the biggest time wasters is media. Whether it’s Netflix or Facebook these channels take up hours of our time throughout the day. The worst part is, we consume them almost subconsciously. If you’re like most people it’s too difficult to simply “not do it”.
I suggest keeping your phone on silent and more than an arms length away throughout the entire workday. Only use your phone is you need to make a work related call. If applicable you can also leave your personal phone in your bag or even at home if you have a work phone to use during the day.
If you want to become better at time management you need to take baby steps. If you try to fix every problem at once you’ll end up just making it worse. That said practice some of the suggestions above and do your best to get more out of each and every day!
Renzo Costarella is an entrepreneur, avid learner, and startup enthusiast currently living in Silicon Valley. He consults for several startups in the Bay Area and is pursuing a few ideas of his own.