15 Tips for Effectively Managing YOUR Precious Time

Last Updated on: April 3rd, 2017

15-Tips-for-Effectively-Managing-YOUR-Precious-Time
Time. It’s one of our most precious commodities.

There never seems to be enough of it, especially for bloggers and writers, and those trying to brand their business online. (Hint: Use my 12-Step Guide for Branding Your Business Online if this is something you are trying to do!)

Sometimes time seems to stand still.

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There’s a ton of information on the web that claims to provide “helpful” information, but doesn’t actually help you because once you read the tips, you end up falling back into the same old rut.

Good news. I have the solution! In fact, I have 15 of them plus one bonus tip.

They are the 15 tips for how to effectively manage your precious time, plus learning how to create a good work-life balance.

I even created a free planner for you!

15 Tips for How to Effectively Manage YOUR Precious Time

1: Relax.

Yep. You heard me. Just relax.

It’s easier than you might think!

When you’re relaxed, you’re more likely to become inspired. When you’re inspired, you will find the time to write. To create. To do the things you’ve been putting off. To work.

In short, to become productive.

2: Don’t Schedule Things; Work When You’re Inspired

One of the tips I’ve read about managing time is to create a schedule and stick to it.

Now, we all know that’s not gonna happen. Something always happens to disrupt your “perfect” plan. Family or friends demand your attention. The phone rings. Your favourite show is on TV. An emergency arises. And so on.

Basically, life happens.

If you are anything like me, you write when you’re inspired to. You don’t force it. You can’t say to yourself, “I’m going to write 1000 words in the next two hours, and they’re going to be good.”

That’s simply NOT going to happen.

But if you find yourself sitting at your computer and you become inspired, then you can easily spend two or three hours writing and creating.

Time seems to stand still during these hours, and before you know it, a lot of time has passed.

BUT you’ve been productive, because you were inspired!

3: Create A Manageable TO DO List

I’m famous for writing things down on a To Do list.

I start a new one each week (sometimes, each day!) and I cross things off my list as I complete them.

The problem with To Do lists (at least mine, anyway!) are the tasks that are on them. Often, each task is a huge, time-consuming one!

For example, this was my list from a few years ago, when I was helping my mom do some renovations to her house:

  1. Wash the walls and then paint the kitchen.
  2. Put down new flooring in the kitchen.
  3. Clean the living room walls.
  4. Lay new carpet in the living room.

As you can see, this is quite a lofty list!

First of all, item #1 actually consists of two separate things, and each task is not as easy as it seems. If you’ve ever done any painting, you’ll agree!

Now, take item #2, and really think about all that completing this task involves.

First of all, to lay down new flooring, you must have a new floor to actually lay down. This means saving money to buy tiles or linoleum, then buying the flooring, and delivering it to the house.

To lay it down, the kitchen floor must be devoid of everything. This means moving the refrigerator and the stove. It means moving everything else off the floor, too. (My mom actually has her washer and dryer in the kitchen, in addition to the fridge and stove. What can I say… her house is over 100 years old.)

This is a monstrous task!

It also brings me to my next point.

Sometimes, you cannot do certain tasks alone. You’ll need help.

4: Ask For Help or Hire Someone When You Need It

To renovate my mom’s kitchen, I actually had to do a lot of planning. I had to find guys to help me, too.

Because we didn’t have a lot of money to spend, my mom purchased linoleum that was on sale. I hired 2 guys at a total cost of $400 (10 hours x $20/hour x 2 guys).

My mom and I also did a lot of work before the day the guys were to arrive. We cleaned out all of the cupboards, and moved the contents to another room. It was a lot of work.

We then did as much cleaning as we could. We knew we’d have to get the guys to do the hard stuff, though, like climbing up and washing the insides of the top cupboards before painting them.

Without help from the guys, we wouldn’t have been able to achieve our goal.

5: Congratulate Yourself When You Finish Each Task

Remember to reward yourself when you finish each task. This can be done simply, by saying “Congratulations” to yourself. Make yourself a cup of coffee or tea. Have that donut or cookie you’ve been craving. Whatever you decide to do, it should make you feel better!

6: Learn From Your Mistakes

Clichéd, I know. But true. Don’t make the same mistake twice. Learn from what you fail at so that you can achieve success the next time!

7: Plan Your Day, In Writing

If you clearly write out what you want to accomplish, you will have more success at attaining your goals.

This is a fact. Writing helps you form accountability. It forces you to take the correct steps to get what you want and DO what you want. It gives you a clear picture of what you need to do.

If you need a planner to help you do this, use the one I created for you!

8: Take Exercise Breaks

Most of us sit while writing or blogging. We get stiff. Our butts get sore. Our fingers cramp up. And we forget to eat and drink. (Come on, admit it, you’ve probably even been so absorbed in what you’ve been doing that you even neglected to visit the lavatory!)

So take breaks. Often.

Get up and stretch. Drink a glass of water. Walk for 5 minutes (or more). Do something good for your body.

Although you can use an online timer to help remind yourself of these breaks, it’s better if you set your phone’s alarm clock, and then leave it across the room so that you will have to get up to turn it off. The physical action of moving is what you need to get your break started.

This actually coincides with most of the practices of the Pomodoro technique… which is my next piece of advice.

9: Use the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that uses a timer to break down work into intervals of 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. It is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility.

10: Track Your Time So You Can Set SMART Goals

This is not a new concept.

SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed) goals are more easily met once you have spent a week tracking your time. Tracking your time will allow you to determine where you need to make improvements.

To track your time, write down what you are doing every hour (or half-hour) each day.

How much time are you spending watching TV? (Likely, too much!)

11: Prioritize Your Manageable To Do List

Once you have created your To Do list, number the tasks. Number 1 should be considered High Priority, task that require immediate attention. Number 2 should be Medium Priority. Number 3 should be Low Priority.

Then do all of the Number 1 tasks first.

Then do the Number 2 tasks, followed by the Number 3 tasks.

12: Don’t Multi-Task

Focus on one thing at a time! You will be more productive if you do!

13: Get Organized and Stay Organized

Clean your work area. Make it neat. Do the dishes. Don’t put them off.

File your papers. (Stop groaning… this needs to be done!) Get organized. You’ll feel better, and productive.

Once you are organized, stay organized. Don’t let things pile up. Stay on top of things.

A motto told to me by one of my mentors is to handle a piece of paper only once.

What a time-saver!

14: Stop Reading Blog Posts Unless You’re Willing to Add Education Time to Your Schedule

Seriously, stop reading blog posts, especially if they are about things you already know about!

Wasting time (even if it is to show support to a fellow blogger) is something you can cut back on in order to save time and be more productive. Think about it. Be logical. Use your precious time wisely.

People who are attending college or university, or are taking an online course already know that you must schedule time to educate yourself, but what most bloggers don’t realize is that they need to schedule education time, too. I like to call this “self-improvement” time.

Each time you read a blog post, you are essentially doing several things:

  • You are supporting your blogging buddy and strengthening your relationship with him/her, especially if you comment on the post.
  • You are (possibly) entertaining yourself.
  • YOU ARE LEARNING.

Most blog posts are educational in some way. Often, they are packed with actionable tips to help you improve your blog, your business, your website, your career, etc., and carrying out each of these actions not only takes time but a great deal of patience and understanding.

For example, if you are anything like me, you subscribe to sites that will help you get better (as a blogger, entrepreneur, person, etc.). If you decide to take action and make the improvements needed, this will take time.

As an example, look at this post (if you dare!!!): A Step-by-Step Guide to Driving 10,000 Visitors a Month Through Pinterest. Now, you know just from the title that there is a lot to this post, because, after all, the title tells you that it’s a step-by-step guide.

15: Schedule Education/Self-Improvement Time

If you are anything like me, you want to be the best that you can be. To become your best self, with the best business you can have, being the best entrepreneur (or freelancer, or blogger, etc.) you can be involves improving yourself and your knowledge on a constant basis.

This takes time. Sometimes a lot of time. But the results are worth it in the end.

Wouldn’t you agree?

I know that I have spent a lot of my time organizing my time and my life so that I can be more productive.

In fact, my strategies have led me to write an increased amount of guest posts and stay on top of my client work. (NOTE: A free PDF planner is available for download from that post.)

In fact, if you take a look at the sheer number of guest posts listed here, you’ll see that I have definitely learned how to manage my time effectively!

Let’s Talk about Time Tips

What other tips do you have for effectively managing YOUR precious time?

What is your BEST time management tip?

Do you need someone to help YOU write (or edit) blog posts? If so, I’m available for hire.

And don’t forget to grab your FREE planner!

Lorraine Reguly's Face and the Wording Well logoLorraine Reguly is a freelance blogger, writer, and editor for hire. She’s also an author who can help you create an ebook to give away on your site, sell, and even turn into a print book. Her business site is Wording Well, where she gives away a FREE ebook, 20 Blog Post Must-Haves, to her newsletter subscribers.

NOTE: This post first appeared on Kikolani in 2015.

20 thoughts on “15 Tips for Effectively Managing YOUR Precious Time

  1. says

    Wow! great tips! Time is definitely precious. I think the best way to spend it well is getting organized. One should list down the tasks they want to complete for the day. It is as simple as that but still we forget it. Thanks for reminding and sharing through this beautiful post.

  2. Number 3 on your list is highly important. I have created some ridiculously long to-do lists in the past, only to find myself overwhelmed and performing worse as a result.

    Another tip is to fall in love with the things you do until they become habit. Just like brushing your teeth first thing in the morning. You’ll learn to do them and not find them to be a drag.

    Thanks for the nice read, Lorraine. Always a pleasure.

    Elvis

    • says

      Elvis, you should see some of MY To-Do lists! UGH! Some of them involve so many steps!
      For example, write a book on ____. 😉

      I’m glad you liked these tips. Thanks for stopping by, reading, and commenting! 🙂

  3. HI Lorraine,

    These are definitely some great tips and I agree with you, there’s always so much to do as a blogger. I used to multi-task and I thought I was getting so much done.

    However, now I focus on one thing at a time and I seem to be a lot more productive than I used to be. Go figure we always thought multi-tasking was how it should be.

    I’ve never heard of the Pomodoro technique, I’ll have to read more about it.

    I so agree with you that taking time for self improvement is a must for every entrepreneur or anyone in general. I focus on taking breaks from my computer so I can work on improving myself. You’re right, it’s a lot of hard work, but I know that in the end it will definitely be worth it.

    Thanks for sharing these tips with us, I know that it’s going to help a lot of people manage their time better.

    Have a great day 🙂

    Susan

    • says

      Susan, try the Pomodoro technique. Work for 25 minutes (time it!) and take a 5-minute stretching break. Then repeat.

      You will find your productivity increases because your focus will be increased!

      Working on one thing at a time instead of multi-tasking is the ONLY way to get things done. I’m glad you’ve realized this!

      Thanks for stopping by. Visit again! 🙂

  4. Hi, Lorraine, this is indeed a great list, a timely one or in fact a great alert to the people who relentlessly work on a daily basis.
    Especially it will be a good guide to the people who work online. Yes, an alert list is this! I fully agree with all your tips but I slightly differ on the tips #14: Stop Reading Blog Posts Unless You’re Willing to Add Education Time to Your Schedule” In fact, the subtitle really surprised me at once later going thru I could sense it, the idea behind the title. of course, your intention in this note is clear but, spending the time to help out a fellow blogger is never be a wasting time, in fact, if it is on a mutual understanding it will be very beneficial to each other. That will surely be a learning time too for each other. I still remember the long chat I had with you on one of my roundups and the suggestions and ideas you put forward to me was really worth notable I never count such interactions are a waste of time. LOL

    Coming to the time schedule keeping is a must thing to follow very strictly. In our roundup post Sleep and productivity, many shared their experience in regard to sleep and productivity. I think I leave that link here for a further reference. http://www.pvariel.com/sleep-and-productivity/

    A good nap in between the works will surely increase our productivity. If you are tired very much it is better to relax even if that needs an urgent deadline, if continue to work with a tired mind the outcome may not be perfect and some flaws happen here and there.

    Thanks Lorraine for this wonderful experienced tips you shared on this subject.
    Keep sharing.
    Have a great time of sharing and caring
    Best
    ~Philip

    • says

      Philip, it is never a waste of time to network!

      However, when you read a blog post, most often you will learn something. Learning takes time. If you are trying to simply help out a friend and leave a comment on his or her post, that’s something different than what I meant in Point 14.

      Often, when I am reading an informative post, I will click through to the other articles mentioned and spend time learning something new, or how to improve my already existing knowledge. Many times, I do not have the time to do this! That’s the whole point! If you’re trying to gain more time in your day, you’re not going to be able to do this if you spend time on such things.

      Not that I’m against learning… because I’m not! I just wanted to warn others that one thing can lead to another, and another, and other… and before you know it, two hours have gone by.

      As for the sleep and productivity issue, I agree there is a strong correlation between getting enough sleep and improved productivity.

      Thanks for sharing that link again here.

  5. Hi Lorraine; I have finally made it back to your blog and not a moment too soon. Love all the practical advice for time management. Your first couple agree with what my oncologist told me. He said max you are going to have good days and bad ones. So, when you feel like it work your ass off when you don’t sleep, rest, or do something fun. I agree with you on setting aside time for education, exercise, and recreation. Kids have recess why can’t adults? I also have learned that a good book doesn’t always have to have a point. Sometimes our minds need a trashy novel more than we need another self help book. Was happy to see you tell people to ask for help. You know I’m a big believer in that one. And yes we have to celebrate those victories. This comment is kind of my way of celebrating finishing the writing of my latest book. I can now read blogs and leave comments without feeling like I should be writing. Of course, I have fallen sick with that common writer’s illness. I now have more book ideas than I can get down on paper. Keep up the great work my friend. xoxo Max

    • says

      Max, thanks so much for your wonderful comment.

      I agree with you! Adults should be able to have recess too! 🙂

      And congratulations on your many book ideas. Keep writing, and I’ll keep editing for you! 😉

  6. says

    Hey Lorraine, Thanks for the helpful advice. I am an entrepreneur working on 14/7 and i used to spend most of time with technology stuffs which is related to my field. But in recent days its really pressuring me and i cant relax my self. After read this post, i found that in few ways i can relax myself. Thanks again.

  7. says

    That’s a great article Lorraine. I see most of the people working even when they are too tired and should probably relax, this fatigues the mind further and wastes valuable time,

    • says

      Prateek, even I work sometimes when I am tired! However, I have learned to listen to my body and take breaks!

      I either do some exercises or I do something fun, such as watch one of my favorite TV shows.

      It refreshes my mind and allows me to concentrate better. 🙂

      I hope you practice some of these tips to manage your time!

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