3 Tricks for Top Time Management

Warren James
6 Min Read

After communication, effective time management is one of the most valuable skills a person can have. Especially as the economy moves toward more reliance on remote work — and a larger portion of the workforce functioning as freelancers, contractors and other types of gig workers — managing your time effectively could mean the difference between earning a living wage and struggling to make ends meet.

Fortunately, time management is a skill that you can master with proper practice. Here are three tricks to help you get started on your journey to effective time management.

Tidy Up

A messy space is a waste of time. When your work area is cluttered and disorganized, you will devote undue time and energy toward searching for the items you want. Perhaps worse, a mess weighs heavily on your mental state, impeding your ability to focus and thereby causing excessive stress. To ensure that your space positively contributes to your efforts at proper time management, you need to devote some time to tidying up.

Decluttering might be your first step if you are struggling to rid your workspace of your belongings. There are a few different methodologies for getting rid of things you no longer need; for example, the KonMari method advocates for tossing items that do not bring you joy, whereas the quarantining method allows you to hold onto certain items until you realize that you do not actually need them.

Everything that remains in your home, i.e. everything that you do not give or throw away, should have a place it belongs, so it does not linger on your desk or in your walkways where it will cause you frustration. You might invest in an organization system for your garage or closets to ensure that you and those in your household know where different belongings should be.

Schedule Every Day

Once your physical space is tidy, you need to organize your time in the day. A strict daily schedule will help you work through your to-do list in a timely manner, allowing you to take full advantage of your physical and mental energy as it ebbs and flows throughout the day. As with decluttering, different people have different scheduling strategies, so you might need to experiment to find the system that works for you. Here are some tips that others have found useful in their schedule management:

Make your schedule a day in advance. Before you go to sleep every night, plan your next day. You might make a schedule just for your working hours, between 8AM and 5PM, or you might schedule your off-work hours as well, to ensure you are on top of chores and social events.

Start your day with the most difficult task. Your energy levels will be fullest at the beginning of your day, so that is when you should tackle your biggest and hardest tasks. Once your major to-do is done for the day, you can be a bit looser with your time and perform maintenance tasks for the rest of your day, knowing that you did something important and productive at the start.

Break your day into segments. Your brain can only focus on the same task for a set amount of time. To ensure you have sufficient breaks for mental recovery, you can organize your day into 15- or 30-minute segments, so you can jump back and forth between tasks that require different types of effort.

Invest in a Watch

It seems tautological to state that you need to manage your time to achieve time management, but it is nonetheless true. To be certain that you are adhering to your schedule appropriately, you need a method of tracking your time — one besides your smartphone. Your phone conveniently displays the time, but it also contains myriad distractions, from email and social media to games and pictures. Any time you use your phone to look at the time, you could get sucked into some inconsequential activity.

Thus, for the sake of time management, you need to invest in a watch. A traditional watch tells the time; some high-end watches might also tell you the date or the phase of the moon, but none will demand your attention the same way your phone does. Because you will want to wear your watch for most of the day, you should invest in one made of high-quality materials with reliable movement. You should search among authentic watches from the world’s top designers for your most used time management tool. Then, while you are being productive, you can put your smartphone away, so you won’t be tempted to use it.

Time management is a muscle you can build with practice. With the right environment, the right schedule and the right tools, you will see time management success.

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Warren James is the lead editor for Diving Daily. Warren has written for many publications including the New York Daily News, Vanity Fair and Yahoo. Warren is based in New York city and covers issues affecting local communities. In addition to following the day-to-day life of the Big Apple, Warren also has a passion for martial arts.