How I Got My Life (And Time Management Skills) Back On Track

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woman checking watch

Most of us try to be good at time management, but frequently it seems too difficult to set up systems that work, so we give it up before we even give it a chance, or after not trying any new approach long enough for it to become a habit.

When I think I have life figured out, life has a way of throwing a curve.

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If you’ve recently felt the pressure of squandering time and jumbled tasks, here are some simple tips I’ve used to get my time management back on track.

1. Track your time.

When it comes to time management, this is among the most crucial factors. By accurately tracking my time, I can see how I spend each day and make adjustments to my working habits.

Before I begin fixing something, I must first identify what needs to be fixed. Keeping track of my working hours, commute time, computer, car and public transportation use, rest, socializing, and exercise, among other things.

To improve my time management skills, I made sure to especially reduce my time spent on the phone by using a classic Swiss watch. I recommend this since it will help you reduce distractions and do all the things that you have to do during the day.

2. Tie it to your current behavior.

Habits won’t all fall into the same time slot, but they should all have a trigger that serves as a reminder for me to perform them.

A desire to floss? Each day following tooth brushing. Every time in the same procedure, same order.

Wishing I was happier? Told myself one thing I’m grateful for each time I came to a stop at a red light. The reminder is the red light. The same trigger and sequence are used each time.

The bottom line is that while telling myself I’m going to change, by actually doing it I will give myself a reason to believe it, as well as a prompt to get back on track whenever I falter.

Soon is not a time, and some is not a number. What time and location are you planning on doing this at? You might forget once, but what mechanism do you have in place to automatically remind you the following time?

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3. Avoid distractions.

The fast pace and abundance of distractions in our daily lives frequently prevent us from enhancing our time management abilities.

According to recent studies, interruptions from things like phone calls, texts, emails, and unannounced drop-ins are so disruptive that it takes longer to get back on task than it actually does to complete it.

What I did about this is that I usually turned my phone off or switched it to airplane mode. Instead of being constantly connected and distracted, I set a timer for every 30 minutes to check my email or messages.

4. Avoid multitasking.

I once read a 2011 study from the University of California saying that multitasking can impair your working memory and ability to concentrate on crucial tasks. Naturally, this is not a good way to manage your time.

Being overwhelmed comes from thinking you have to multitask and solve everything at once. I start by making a list of the things I need to control first. Next, focus on one. This way I won’t have to worry about forgetting because I’ll know the other items are waiting on my list.

When life appears to be out of my hands, I take this as a sign that I need to slow down and reassess where I am in life. Often, when everything starts to fall apart at once, it means that I have lost the equilibrium that keeps my life in balance.

Gaining balance is a lifelong lesson that evolves with significant life events over time. The next time everything seems to be happening at once, remember that there is still time to rebuild and resume your course.

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Unwritten is a website for millennials written and run by millennials. We’re committed to giving Generation-Y the discussion they need, whether it be a source of news, a much needed laugh, a comforting shoulder to cry on, or a place to have their own stories heard.

This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.