10 tips for better time management

Do you get to the end of the day and wonder why you’ve been working so hard yet still haven’t been as productive as you’d like?

Do you sometimes find yourself getting distracted from the job you’re trying to complete?

Do your tasks spill over regular hours and start creeping into your personal time?

If this sounds like you, it’s time to take control of your time management and whip your day into shape!  As someone who provides virtual assistant help to others, this is something I know better than anyone, so here are my top tips for getting the most out of your day: 

  1. Use time blocking
  2. Make a prioritised list
  3. Do the worst jobs first
  4. Stop trying to multi-task
  5. Set working hours which you stick to
  6. Don’t scrimp on your resources
  7. Control your inbox
  8. Learn the power of ‘no’
  9. Make time for your distractions
  10. Make self-care a priority

Use time blocking

Time blocking is a great way to stay productive. By scheduling your time tactically, you can focus on the task at hand without being tempted away by other things that are going on around you. I find this a really helpful tool when providing virtual assistant help to my clients.

Make a prioritised list

An endless to-do list can be overwhelming, so prioritise your task list placing deadlines on various projects and setting the most urgent jobs at the top; paired with time blocking, this is a powerful combination that will make a huge improvement to your time management.

Do the worst jobs first

These are the tasks that you don’t like – the ones you avoid and tend to roll over from one day to the next. Get them over with first and stop letting them take up brain space!

Stop trying to multi-task

The more attention you give to one job, the better the result will be; when your brain needs time to focus on an assignment, constantly switching between different tasks can be a huge hindrance. None of my clients would get the best of my virtual assistant help if I constantly jumped from one task to another!

Set working hours which you stick to

Decide how many hours you can realistically and sustainably work each day, and when it makes sense to schedule them. Don’t work your life away! Be clear with yourself, your clients and your suppliers about your availability and when they can expect responses from you.

Don’t scrimp on your resources

A workman is only as good as the tools they use, so make sure you’re using the best tools available, whether that’s for your accounts, your CRM or your project management software: using free versions might seem like a cost-saver, but it can be a false economy if the features are restricted and it ends up taking you longer to complete your tasks.

Control your inbox

Don’t leave your inbox open all the time, allowing it to interrupt you and distract you; instead, schedule time to check your emails regularly throughout the day. 

Learn the power of ‘no’

Saying ‘no’ allows you to establish boundaries with yourself as much as those around you.  When a new task comes your way that can wait until later or that you cannot take on, be comfortable saying “no”, and giving yourself the time and space to focus on your own priorities.

Make time for your distractions

It’s so easy to allow yourself to get side-tracked when you should be focusing on a task. You’ll find that you manage your time better if you build in moments to take breaks which you can then use to schedule your distraction time.

Make self-care a priority.

Failing to look after yourself inevitably results in being less productive and ultimately leads to burn out. Make sure you get enough sleep, exercise, eat well and practice whatever relaxation techniques work best for you.  Try to set aside personal time, including relaxing with family and friends.

When to know when to call in reinforcements

Of course, sometimes it doesn’t matter how organised you are and how brilliantly you manage your time: if you’re trying to deal with too much, then all the time management tricks in the world aren’t going to improve matters – it’s time to call in some virtual assistant help!

If you’d like to find out how I can free up your time to be more productive and get your work/life balance back where it should be, get in touch at martha@mnvirtualassistant.co.uk.  I’d love to help.