4 Foolproof Ways to Improve Your Time-Management

What would you do if you had more time in your workday? Would you be more productive? Would you be able to complete all of the items on your plate?

Unfortunately, adding more time to a workday doesn’t necessarily mean we will be more productive. Even if we were granted more time, it still wouldn’t be enough. So how can we best utilize the time we are given?

Goal setting.

For procrastinators and workaholics alike, setting weekly goals for yourself will ensure that the short time you have is used to its full potential. By staying focused and purposeful, you can accomplish more in a shorter amount of time. Remaining dedicated to improving the quality of the hours you put in will decrease the number of hours you put in. This will open your schedule to do more things you enjoy outside of work. Here are 4 tips for goal setting that will enhance your time-management and increase your productivity.

1. Set Specific Goals

As you plan out the things you want to accomplish each week, be as specific as possible. What exactly do you want to do? What will it look like?

For years I was trying to shed about ten pounds. I knew my constant snacking and inability to refuse second helpings is what was preventing it from happening. I can’t count the number of times I would say “I’m going to start eating healthier.” Sure, this sounds like a great goal! But could it be any more vague?

If I really wanted to shed those pounds, I needed to be specific about what healthier eating looked like. “This week I’m going to cut out breads, sodas, and second helpings.” This is a specific goal. To go further, I could plan out each meal in order to set myself up for success.

In our jobs, our goals need to be just as specific. Simply saying that you need to call that client, or finish that paperwork, isn’t enough. Write specifically what you need to accomplish and what it’s going to look like. “Thursday at 9:00am, I’m going to call Mr. Smith to go over this month’s budget.” The more specific your goals are, the more likely you are to stick to them.

2. Schedule Appointments With Your Goals

Have your goals be the first things you write in your planner for the week. Don’t try and squeeze them in around everything else you have to do. Schedule these first so that they are a priority in your workweek.

As you come up with the specifics of your goals, treat them like they are an appointment you cannot break. Let’s say you wrote the following goal in your planner:

On Tuesday, from 1:00pm-2:00pm, I will create this month’s expense report.

Once this is written down, treat it the same way you would treat a meeting with a client or your boss. Keep this appointment sacred. Let your coworkers know that you are unavailable during this time. Turn off your email and avoid looking at your phone if possible. It’s easy for things to come up that will distract you from doing these small tasks. However, if you are purposeful in sticking to your appointment, these mundane chores won’t pile up on you.

3. Be Consistent

Make goal setting a weekly routine. Begin each new week with purpose by writing down what you are going to accomplish.

Every Monday morning I arrive to work about 10-15 minutes early so that I can think through my week and set my goals. I prefer to start each week by scheduling my priorities. This gives me fresh eyes on the week ahead and how I’m going to attack the things that easily fall through the cracks. A colleague of mine sets his goals the Friday before. He prefers to have his plan set before he leaves for the weekend. What matters most is that you are consistently writing them down.

4. Find an Accountability Partner

You are much for likely to be successful if you have someone that can hold you accountable. This can be a friend, coworker, or someone in a different profession entirely. Just make sure whoever you choose is someone that will call you out if you’re slacking on your goals! A good accountability partner will encourage you to push yourself while smacking you if you’re not following through with what you intended.

I have a friend that serves as my accountability partner. Every Monday, we check in with each other to see how productive our week was. If one of us didn’t follow through with a goal, the other will ask why and brainstorm ways to improve for the following week. When we’re successful, we both celebrate! Then we send each other our goals for the upcoming week. On days that I’m feeling unmotivated, knowing that I’m going to have to confess it to him later can be the kick I need to follow through!

There are many different ways to set goals and increase your productivity. The important thing is that you’re doing something to prioritize your schedule. Take control so you’re not ending your weeks saying, “If only I had more time.” Find a way to use the time you are given to its full potential.

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