Time Management Tips To Help Me Juggle My Overwhelming Workload
“I won’t have enough time to do all this!” is a common expression uttered by people when faced with a looming tower of tasks to do or seemingly overwhelming workload. Unfortunately, doing these tasks are oftentimes inevitable because your workplace or university places them on you, which results in you becoming increasingly stressed as you attempt to finish all of those tasks before the deadline. However, handling your workload is not impossible if you know how to allocate your time judiciously. Here are a few of my personal time management tips to help you boost your productivity and work more efficiently.
Since you have an abundance of different things on your to-do list, the first thing you should ask yourself is: how important is this task compared to the others and how quickly can I get this task done? By answering the above question, you should be able to prioritise your tasks accordingly. If a certain task has to be completed before you can work on other ones, remember to rank it first.
When faced with a situation where you cannot decide which task to prioritise first, take into account the time needed to complete the tasks. Prioritise tasks which take a shorter amount of time first as completing them can help you build momentum to work through the rest. Some tools that you can use to help you order your tasks are planners and checklists. You can also try using applications such as Taskade or Trello.
2. Break down a task into smaller ones and set deadlines
It is quite common to feel stressed when you have an important and life-changing deadline for a task looming over you. However, once you’ve broken down a big task into smaller ones, you should set a specific time and date to have each task completed by. Of course, if it is a big project, it does not necessarily have to be all on the same day. But, setting deadlines for when you plan to complete the tasks is still beneficial.
These time limits should be specific, and you should try your best to stick to them. Not only do these mini-goals help you to move forward, but they also allow you to feel the satisfaction of checking something off of your to-do list! You may also choose to reward yourself once a task has been completed, but you should make sure not to over-indulge and that the reward is proportionate to the amount of effort you have put in. This method is effective because it is easier to motivate yourself to complete smaller tasks instead of worrying about a big one.
3. Try to complete tasks as soon as possible
This tip ties in nicely to the previous point about setting deadlines on tasks: do not procrastinate and try to complete a task as soon as possible! Oftentimes, people tend to give in to the dreaded habit of procrastination and eventually realise, a little too late, that they aren’t able to complete something by the time it is due. Therefore, you should avoid this bad habit by aiming to complete tasks as soon as you can.
If you find this challenging, all you have to do is to constantly remind yourself about the benefits you will reap when your overall goal is accomplished. If it is still difficult to motivate yourself intrinsically, try extrinsic methods such as using apps like Forest to spur yourself on to complete a task. By finishing a task before it is due, this prevents yourself from having to do a lot of panicked, last-minute work, but it also provides you with more opportunities to do more of other things with your time!
4. Set a certain time of the day for downtime
Although working every hour of the day may sound productive, it actually is not. It is important to give yourself rest in between the hard work to keep your mind and body healthy and able to do effective work. By putting aside distractions such as social media or games until a specific time of the day, you can ensure that your tasks are completed when you need them to be, while also being able to reward yourself during your breaks for the well-deserved effort you put in. By scheduling leisure time with friends, family, and some time to lay back and do whatever you want, it keeps you inspired and gives you something to look forward to when you need to be productive.
There are features on your phones or laptops that could help you to avert distractions and focus n the task at hand. On an iPhone, using the ‘Downtime’ feature helps to ‘freeze’ your applications so that you are able to limit their use. On other devices, temporarily deactivating notifications could also be a great help as according to research, the most common reason people pick up their phones is due to push notifications. Of course, you should make sure that your rest time does not take up the majority of your day, or take up more time than your productive hours, or else it would be pointless. Find a healthy balance which ensures that you are able to be at your best. Work hard, play hard!
5. Know when it’s best for you to work
A long list of successful people have one habit in common: they are early risers. Logically, this makes sense – if you wake up early, you have more time to carry out tasks, rather than leaving it to the last minute and burning the midnight oil. Although the prospect of waking up before 7 am every day sounds daunting and impossible to a lot of people, research has proven that the brain functions at its best between 4 am to 6 am. Hence, for those whose goals involve a lot of mind-numbing activities such as studying and writing, doing work in the morning could be perfect for you. It might be difficult in the beginning but once you begin waking up at the same time daily, your body clock will eventually get used to it and it will get easier for you. If you do plan on waking up early, ensure that you have had enough sleep from the night before as it is essential for optimal brain function.
Alternatively, you may observe that your productivity for creative activities increases later in the day and schedule your tasks and work around that. The important thing is to be able to find out when you’re at your most productive and adapt your schedule accordingly.
In a nutshell, proper time management is a substantial element in order for you to be able to successfully achieve your goals and handle your workload. If you’re really passionate about something, surely you will be able to motivate yourself to do what is best for you. You may suffer a little in the present, but hopefully, your future will be fruitful thanks to your hard work. Spend your time wisely now so that you won’t regret it later!