Everyone looking for success in their professional and personal lives sets goals regularly — even if they’re not writing them down as they think of them. Though you may achieve some of those goals as you get tasks done on your list of things to-do, you’ll find that a good chunk of those goals aren’t that easy to achieve — only because you aren’t dedicating the right amount of time to them.
You may run an organized business or find success in the work that you do, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re using your time as efficiently as you could be. If you’re ready to achieve the goals that have been unattainable for as long as you can remember, check out this list of time management tips curated specifically to help you achieve your goals.
1. Audit your time for 7 days.
How do you spend your time at work? At home? For a whole week, keep track of what you did every hour in a journal or on your phone. Then, before bed, spend some time highlighting the least productive things you did that day. The next day, avoid the habits that you thought were unproductive, and at the end of the week, check and see where you spent the most time. This will make it easier for you to determine where you need to put in additional effort, and where you need to cut back.
2. Get your most important tasks done in the mornings.
Once you’ve rubbed the sleep out of your eyes, you’ll find that you’re fresh, energetic, and ready to take on the day that lies ahead of you. Mornings are usually quiet, so you can focus on your thoughts — that’s when you should define your three most important tasks of the day (MITs). Use your morning to get those three tasks done, and once they’re complete, you’ll be motivated to continue being productive throughout the rest of the day.
3. Schedule specific times in the day to respond to emails.
Is having your email notifications on completely necessary? In most cases, you’ll find that it’s not. Constantly getting notifications for your email is an obvious distraction, especially when you keep taking breaks from work to reply to them. Schedule three or four times in the day to check your email, and stick to your plan. Make a similar plan for answering messages so you can avoid unnecessary distractions — just be sure that your colleagues, clients, and family know to give you a call in case of an emergency.
4. Declutter your workspace.
Researchers at the Princeton University Neuroscience Institute have published a study that concludes, “When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus.” Spend some time cleaning off your desk — what do you need on the surface, and what can be put away? If you find that papers and other items accumulate on your desk every day, take some time each evening before your leave work to clean up your work station. Coming back to to a clean space the next morning will act as another motivational tool to help you complete those MITs you’ve set.
5. Find inspiration and stay positive.
Whether it’s listening to a motivational podcast while driving to work, or reading an inspiring quote before your day has begun, find a way to look forward to accomplishing your goals — it’ll even boost your creativity. Plus, always stay positive, even if you aren’t able to achieve everything you wanted to one day. After thinking about what you could’ve done better, pat yourself on the back for trying, and make sure to tell yourself that you’ll do better tomorrow. That way, you’ll hold yourself accountable while practicing self-love.
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