This blog post was originally published October 15, 2015 by Callie Walker but was updated for added value.
How many times have you uttered the phrase, “I wish there were more hours in a day?” Yeah, you and me both. But unfortunately, 24 hours is all we get.
That being said, there are a few tips for staying on track and improving your time management skills. Take a look!
Say “No” more often
While this may come off initially as a negative mindset, let’s frame a common scenario: you’re on a tight deadline and you already have a lot to cover in a little bit of time. Someone approaches you and asks for some assistance with another initiative. If the situation isn’t dire, you can always tell that person that you can’t right now (AKA “no”), but that you’ll touch point after you cover what’s urgent. This response allows you to cover your priorities while also being a team player.
Work in small chunks of time
It’s proven that working non-stop takes a hit on your mental productivity, much like overworking your body or your social calendar. And that’s okay! It’s recommended that every 30 minutes of work, you should take a 2 minute break just to re-adjust your posture and check in with yourself. Otherwise, you’re chances of burnout are much higher. Remember, this message also applies on a larger scale to your full work day - so take that lunch break!
Figure out YOUR best schedule
On any productivity list, it’ll always mentioned that you need to create a schedule. And while that’s true, let’s get a little more specific: To channel your best productivity, you need to create a schedule that works for YOU. If you try to carbon copy one from someone else, it’s not going to quite fit. Why? You need to consider the following factors:
- When you wake up and when you go to sleep
- Any required meetings
- Your high energy (better) vs low energy (worse) times of the day
Eliminate minor distractions
Between social media sites, email notifications, and smartphones, staying focused is a task in and of itself. But luckily, there are a few sites out there that can help you eliminate some of those distractions. Ever heard of an anti-distraction app? Well, they’re online applications that let you block specific websites for up to 24 hours. (Facebook, we’re talking to you.) SelfControl is one of the most popular ones out there. Check it out here!
Use keyboard shortcuts
While 15 seconds here and there and may seem trivial, it’s little time savors like this that have the ability to add up. Not familiar with keyboard shortcuts? Try memorizing a few of these each week and you’ll be whizzing through your work in no time! Here are a few resources to help you get started:
- MAC keyboard shortcuts
- Windows keyboard shortcuts
- Gmail keyboard shortcuts
- Social media keyboard shortcuts
Plan your goals for tomorrow at the end of today
A personal favorite! To really get a jump start on your day, we recommend sitting down at the end of your work day and planning out what big initiatives you want to cover for your next work day. This outline will help you in planning out your schedule as well as defining the purpose of what you want to get done.
Limit your multitasking
While we like to think that multitasking is an important skill for increasing efficiency, the opposite may actually be true. In fact, many psychologists have actually found that trying to do several tasks at once can result in lost time and productivity. To prevent that from happening, make it a habit to focus on one task at a time, otherwise you may get lost in the traffic of your mind.
Many associations have the same story. They start off small, doing just about everything manually - sending invoices, collecting (and processing) payments, sending dues renewal reminder emails, etc.
If this sounds like you, it may be time to consider an association management system, or AMS for short. What exactly IS an AMS, you ask? Check out our free guide, What Is an AMS?, to find out more today!