How To Better Manage Your Time

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“Time is precious.”

“Don’t be busy. Be productive.”

“Nobody is too busy, it’s just a matter of priorities.”

All of these sayings are true. Time is the biggest challenge for the majority of us. Time is most often our friend but can easily be our enemy. Personally, managing time is the hardest thing for me. I want to do so much in such a short period of time and sometimes when I have the time, I have no energy to do the things I need to do. So who am I to speak about this topic? Over the years, I’ve succeeded in juggling my demanding jobs and still able to pursue my creative outlet (this blog), build relationships within my professional industry, and still spend time with my partner, family, and friends. In some case, I’ve sacrificed a lot of sleep to pursue this but that’s obviously not the best choice. Over time, I’ve found ways to manage my time effectively and because of that, I want to share it to each one of you. 

Use Your Calendar, Preferably Colour-Coded

Most of you that I’ve met in person have heard me say “I can’t live without my calendar” and it’s so true. I have three calendars on my phone – one for work, one for blogging and one for personal activities such as birthdays, date nights, and travel. Yes! It’s color-coded too!

“I can’t live without my calendar” and it’s so true!

Here are some ways to use your calendar effectively:

  • Stick to your schedule and don’t procrastinate. If your exhausted or need to do a rain-check, make sure to re-schedule it.
  • Set your phone and email notifications. 
  • Whenever you can, include the people you are meeting with on the calendar invite. This holds you accountable.
  • Link it to the cloud (Dropbox or Drive) so even if you are using your desktop, it reminds you what is on your calendar.

Complete Your Most Important Tasks First

By nature, we tend to do the easiest tasks first but it’s not the most important. However, if you leave the most important task last you tend to run out of time finishing it or don’t have the best energy to do it. In the end, the amount of time you will be spending on that difficult task will be longer than it should be. Unless, of course, you are comfortable with a half-done task. Emotionally, this is not ideal as well since you tend to stress more about it. 

Understand what is your priority and start with that first.

The lesson here is to understand what is your priority and start with that first. Sometimes, the main problem is not knowing what your priority is before you do things. 

Learn to say “No”

The beauty of having limited time and understanding of what your priorities are being able to say no even if you really want to. When I moved to Grand Cayman, I was faced to fulfill a role of three people rather than just be a Marketing Manager, and although I want to execute all of the campaigns I had in mind or what the companies want, I realized that there are things I simply can’t do. I had to learn to say “no” even if I know how to do the task or when I want to do things better. I learned to let go and accept that some things are okay just the way it is. This is simply by understanding that I have a limited time. 

I learned to let go and accept that some things are okay just the way it is.

I had a better grasp of what is important based on budget, time and resources. The same rationale applies to my personal life. Whenever I’m in Toronto for a visit, I pick and choose what I want to do based on my priority. Lately, since I’ve  been away, my priority is to be with people I love and care about so I spend less time going shopping or maybe watch movies.

…it was counterproductive. 

In the past, I find it very difficult to say “no” and instead I say “yes” to everything that is asked of me — work wise and personal life. I tend to go on with my daily activities with 2-3 hours of sleep just so I can fulfill my commitment to work and my personal life. I’m not sure if this is because of my principle or simply just not strong enough to say “no.” Eventually, this took a toll on me. I’ve suffered multiple health issues and then because of that, it was counterproductive. 

Lesson learned: I’ve managed to stop immediately saying “yes” and evaluate holistically my calendars and my life before committing to something.

Working lady

And more ways…

As I mentioned earlier, this is also a continuing process in my life as I learn much more ways to manage my time better.

This year, it is my personal agenda to start a routine and practice life-work balance. It’s easier said than done. Without further explanation, below are few more tips on how to manage your time better (and it’s pretty straightforward). 

  • Devote your entire focus to the task at hand
  • Get an early start
  • Sleep at least 7-8 hours
  • Don’t let unimportant details bring you down
  • Get a habit of doing to-do lists
  • Constantly disconnect

There is one thing I have to emphasize is that try your very best to disconnect or put away your phone. This has helped me be more effective with my task. For example, right at this moment, I have my internet turned off to avoid notification or distraction and have my mobile phone two floors away from my sight. As a result, my focus is better and I’ve completed this blog faster than I normally would.

These are the things I find that work well for me and for others. But what I’d like to know is how you manage your time better. 

Be sure to share in the comments below on how you better manage your time!


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