Catch the Running Time: 5 Best Time Management Tips for Professionals

A bed spawned with clothes,

A half-eaten breakfast made in haste,

An oven heating the lunch for the day.

A queue of emails waiting to be replied to,

A laptop waiting to be opened.

Yes, you guessed it right. I am trying to paint a picture of a typical morning for a working professional. Well, in one word, it is a nightmare. You wake up every morning and you think, “This is it! I am going to make time for myself today. I’m going to finish that book, go out for a walk, or sleep an extra hour.” But at the end of the day, that resolution breaks more easily than a fragile glass vase. Many argue that balancing work and life is almost impossible. Honestly, it is definitely a difficult job, but not impossible. I am sharing five time management tips for professionals like you to pursue the things you love despite having a busy work schedule. 

Observe the footsteps of time 

How can you manage time without knowing how you are spending it? If you are trying to take the first step towards time management, start by monitoring your daily activities. This will help you get an idea of how you are utilizing your time. Also, make a rough estimate of how much work you can do in a day. Compare your estimates with the actual time spent on the projects. Once you become conscious of the time allocated among different chores, you will be able to identify areas for time optimization. What I mean is that you might be able to spot some redundant, time-consuming activities in your daily schedule. You can minimize the time invested in these or scratch them off your list altogether (if possible) to bag some extra time. This exercise will also help you identify activities that take you more time than usual. For example, after maintaining a time allotment schedule, I realized that creating content always took me more time than usual. So, I immediately focused on managing my planning process to optimize the time spent. The best thing about this time audit is that you can also identify your most productive time of the day and schedule the critical tasks for this time. So, time tracking is one of the best techniques to manage time effectively. 

Bonus Tip!: You can refer to this template for creating a task audit schedule to track your time division. 

Template for Task Audit

Practice Grouping  

Source: Unsplash

Have you observed that when you shift from one task to another, you take some additional time to get started with it? This is because your mind needs time to get habituated to the change from one task to another. When I shift from reading emails to doing content research for my blog posts, it takes me some time to focus initially. So, the best thing to do is to group similar tasks and get them done together. For example, you can set a day for making all the PowerPoint presentations. Allotting a specific time for checking and replying to all work emails and messages will keep you from being distracted in between work. You can also set a specific day of the week for all your client meetings. Grouping the tasks and doing them one at a time will save you a lot of time and increase your productivity. This is one of the best time management tips for professionals, especially solopreneurs and freelancers. 

Tick off the Important Tasks First

In the first suggestion, I spoke about tracking your tasks and the time spent on them. In this segment, I am going to ask you to track your tasks and rank them according to their importance.  Always make sure that you do these important tasks every day. And by important, I do not always mean work-related assignments or urgent tasks. An important task could be any chore that is essential for your well-being. 

Bonus Tip!: Here is Eisenhower’s famous trick to prioritize to-do lists. You can adapt the Eisenhower matrix to list down your tasks and commit to the important ones first. 

Eisenhower Matrix

There are several good time management tips, but this one is my personal favorite. Often, the burden of urgent tasks keeps us from the important ones.  Eisenhower’s matrix helps us differentiate between urgent and important tasks. Achieving your goals becomes easy with this decision-making tool. 

Create a To-Do list 

Yes! This is the most common time management advice you might have heard to date. Luckily, it is also one of the most important ones. You cannot manage time unless you understand what your tasks for the day are. List the tasks, arrange them according to your priority, group them according to their similarity, and allot your time. Once you have a to-do list, you can track the time you spend and optimize it. 

While preparing the to-do list, please assign time limits to each of the tasks. This will help you commit to them until they are done. 

Here is a template of a to-do list for you.

To-do list

Bonus Tip!: The best time to prepare the to-do list for each day is either early in the morning before you start the day or the night before. 

Say No to Distractions and Get Organized

So far, I have shared four of the best time management tips for professionals. These were mostly related to time optimization and task arrangement. However, this last tip is a bit different. You have a to-do list. You may have arranged the tasks according to your priorities, but all these shenanigans are powerless to the allure of distractions.  The key to time management is in your hands. Avoid any kind of distraction while you are at work.  Social media notifications, text messages, and conversations with co-workers are some common sources of distraction. Refrain from them while you are working. I understand this will take you some time. The key to success is to start by taking small steps. To add to this, staying organized will be a bonus in your time management journey. 

Bonus Tip!: Here are some popular ways to remove distractions. 

Tips to Avoid Distraction

Best Apps for Time Management in 2024

In this blog, I have shared 5 tips for improving time management. Fortunately, we have various mobile applications (apps) to help us maintain a healthy work-life balance. The list below shares the 5 best time management apps for professionals. 

List of Time Management Apps

Every day, we get busier than the last one. Our work and daily chores come in the way of enjoying the things we love. Managing our time efficiently can help us strike a balance between work and leisure. In this blog, I have shared 5 best time management tips for professionals like you. They will help you be productive at work while saving time for your family and hobbies. Time management is not hard. Remember, you are in full control of your time. Use the right strategies and be the master of your time. 

Jagyasheni Sengupta
Jagyasheni Sengupta

If you are an introvert like me, then you are no stranger to the struggles of expressing yourself in a room full of people. The urge to make myself heard got me writing. Hello everyone! I am Jagyasheni. I write stories, blogs, and articles and draw pictures for a living. Throw me some words, and I will weave them into something beautiful.

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