10 top time management tips to achieve your professional goals
We all have goals or intentions for our work or business (especially at the beginning of a new year) but it is easy to get caught up in our day-to-day work or feel unsure about what is needed to achieve our goals.
This can result in difficulties staying focused on your goals and feelings of overwhelm or procrastination can easily arise.
Learning to manage your time is fundamental to achieving your professional goals and having time and energy for the things that matter most to you.
Here are my 10 top time management tips to help you achieve your professional goals more easily and efficiently:
1. Use a digital to-do list
Your head is for having ideas, not for holding them.
Keeping all of your tasks and to-do’s in one space acts as your ‘second brain’.
They sync across devices and integrate with other tools so you can stay organised on the go, any time, any place, anywhere.
It is important to use your digital to-do list in conjunction with your diary
2. Develop an action plan
If your goals feel too large or out of reach, it is easy to feel overwhelmed or uncertain about getting started or what the first step should be.
An action plan helps to brainstorm all your ideas, tasks and to-dos and create a list of tasks that you can then prioritise.
Take your goal and split it into small, actionable and achievable steps that you can accomplish one by one.
This will help you create a focus for the week. Remember to add dates for each task and add them to your calendar/task manager app.
3. Create a weekly planner
We often feel overwhelmed by the amount of work on our minds.
Identifying weekly meetings, appointments and deadlines in a weekly planner will provide an overview of your week and visibility of the time you have available.
Schedule in your tasks for the week and how long each one should take to complete.
This will help you to prioritise better and avoid procrastination.
4. Identify your Power Hours
Everyone has different patterns of how productive they are throughout their day.
Finding your own pattern of productivity can help you achieve your goals more efficiently. I like to call these your ‘Power Hours’.
Your Power Hours are when your focus and productivity are at their highest.
Use these peak times of productivity for your most important tasks.
Use your less-productive hours to tackle easy, quick-to-complete tasks.
5. Work in time blocks
Time blocking is an effective method to help you identify what you are going to do, when you are going to do it and for how long.
- Divide your working hours into blocks of time of 20-90 minutes.
- Add meetings/appointments
- Assign specific tasks to each remaining block
- Schedule breaks
6. Prioritise your tasks
A well-defined list of priorities is crucial to your productivity.
A simple way to prioritise your tasks is by using the Eisenhower matrix.
This method helps you to evaluate each of your tasks and categorise them as urgent/not urgent and important/not important. This will help you to divide them into one of these categories:
- do now
- schedule for later
- delegate or
- delete the task altogether
7. Use task management and time-tracking apps
8. Eliminate distractions
We are living in an increasingly distracting world with an abundance of things pulling our attention, time and energy.
Luckily, there are ways to eliminate distractions and sharpen your focus so you can achieve more in less time.
First, identify what your distractions are, when you get distracted, what you are doing during those times and how you may be feeling. We often get distracted when we are feeling bored, anxious, overwhelmed or hungry.
Removing distractions from your environment e.g. putting your phone in a drawer or another room during your deep work time or scheduling them into your day e.g. using designated blocks of time for email or social media can be effective.
9. Take regular breaks
Breaks help to:
- Restore focus and motivation
- Consolidate memory and learning
- Boost creativity and productivity
- Reduce stress
Schedule a mixture of micro, moving, nature and social breaks into your day to boost your productivity and wellbeing.
10. Schedule a weekly review of your goals
A weekly review is an opportunity to review your progress, plan and prioritise your next steps.
- Where am I?
- What do I need to change or do next?
- What am I grateful for?
- Check-in with your wellbeing – in terms of your energy, stress, sleep, exercise, hobbies, relationships.
Becoming more intentional about time management is a good way to feel more in control of your time and workload. It will help you plan and prioritise better so you can achieve your goals and have more time for the things that matter. That’s how you can work smarter, not harder. I hope my ten top time management tips will help you do that.
Here are 5 ways I can help you improve your time management skills and achieve your professional goals:
Time management and productivity training (for groups or teams)
Helping your team or organisation work more happily, healthily and productively at your place of work, remotely or as a hybrid team.
Time management and productivity coaching (1-1 coaching)
Learn how to manage your time and workload effectively, boost your productivity and achieve your goals.
Extensive Time Management and Productivity coaching programme, designed to supercharge the way you work and boost your productivity.
Stay on track, meet deadlines and be accountable to achieve your business or professional goals.
A cute-sized desk accessory of 30 prompt cards to help you to plan your day, prioritise your tasks and boost your motivation and wellbeing.