12 ways to be more efficient with your time

Are you struggling with time management during the pandemic? Here are some tips on how you can be more efficient with your time and take back control.

Are you struggling with time management during the COVID-19 pandemic? Maybe you’re trying to work or find a new job with the kids home all day. Maybe you’re staring at a future in which your job doesn’t even exist, so you’re trying to reinvent your whole career. Maybe you’re working to make ends meet while in school. So, you’re always scrambling for time and feeling unable to accomplish what you need to accomplish.

Whatever the reason, there’s no real end in sight to the way things are currently going, meaning that many of us are going to have to examine our time management and rethink the way we do some things. Particularly for those who don’t want to send their children back to school in September if they’re not comfortable with the plans that are in place.

I gathered some tried and true ideas for helping you be more efficient, manage your time, and find more hours in a day.

1. Do a time audit. Figure out where you’re wasting the most time so you can make better use of your 24 hours in a day. There are apps that will help you do this. Once you know how you’re misspending your days, you will have the tools to become more efficient.

2. Cut out TV. After talking to a lot pf people about where their time goes, I’m convinced this is the #1 time waster. Stop binge watching for 12 hours then complaining that you don’t have any time. If you do this, it’s disingenuous and you’re bring unfair to yourself. Turn off the Netflix (or whatever) and leave it off.

3. Log out of your social media. We all stare at our phones way too much, scrolling through social media for no real reason. Sign out of your accounts and don’t allow yourself to sign back in until a certain time of day, then sign back out when you’re done. Set aside, say, two times in a day when you’re allowed to look at social media and, the rest of the time, stay away from it.

4. Make lists the night before. If you make lists of all the things that need doing before you go to bed, you’re less likely to lie awake fretting about all the things you have to do tomorrow and worrying about forgetting something. That means you’ll sleep better, wake up earlier and more refreshed, and have more energy and the clarity to get everything done.

5. Prioritize. If you have 50 things to do, you’re not going to get to all of them. Rather than swinging back and forth over which tasks to tackle – which can result in paralysis because it’s so overwhelming – list your top five and tackle those, in order of priority. Then take on the next five.

6. Touch it once. According to CNBC, “touch it once,” is a rule that says, as soon as you touch something, you act on it immediately. So, whether it’s a piece of mail, a report, or a dirty dish, if you touch it, you do something about it. It could be fully completing the task at once or determining what your next step will be to move it along – but it’s taking an action. This helps declutter your mental space and keeps you moving forward.

7. Don’t do anything halfway. Once you do decide to complete something, see it through to the very end (whenever possible). Don’t leave a few dishes in the sink, a pile of grass clippings to be raked later, or the last 10 items to be added to the spreadsheet. These little loose ends pile up and take up both mental space and real time that you have to go back and invest. So, while it might seem like more work to do it right the first time, it will save you time and energy.

8. Set time limits for tasks. Parkinson’s law states that work will expand to fill the time allotted to it. So, if you give yourself one hour to complete a task (assuming that is actually possible), it will take one hour and if you give yourself 10 hours for the same task it will take 10 hours. Give yourself time limits for each task and do them within that allotted time.

9. Outsource. You can pay someone else to clean your home, mow your lawn, buy your groceries, and do your taxes. You can hire a virtual assistant to take care of all your menial tasks if that makes financial sense. Not everyone can afford to outsource tasks, but if you can afford it, you might consider it.

10.Delegate. This can be difficult to do for personality types who think that, if they want something done right, they have to do it themselves – the type that works so hard they find themselves overwhelmed and exhausted. Let go and distribute the burden. Share household responsibilities, particularly if you’re home schooling and find yourself taking on the majority of the burden. The same concept applies to work tasks and coworkers. If you’re in a position to delegate, then delegate.

11. Optimize wait time. If you’re on hold or in line, use the time to accomplish something. Don’t just sit there waiting for Bell or Rogers to answer your call.

12. Let some things go. Ultimately, you might not be able to keep up with everything and you might have to let some things go. What those things are is up to you. You might be able to live with a messier home or fewer social events. Maybe you can eat simpler meals and spend less time cooking. When you decide what you can live without – besides binge watching TV and endless social media scrolling – you’ll have more time to spend on the things you need.

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