We all have struggled to manage our time better at one point or another. So if you’re currently feeling scattered, know you’re not alone. The good news is, time management techniques can be learned, as long as you understand why you’re doing something and then practice until the good idea becomes habit.
To find out what approaches are worth pursuing, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council to share the time management techniques they use to make the most of their 24 hours. Which do you see yourself using?
1. Compartmentalize projects.
Switching between types of tasks is mentally draining. Instead, bundle related projects together and tackle them all at once. For instance, start your day addressing customer service challenges. Then, move onto marketing campaigns. Afterwards, review new product opportunities. This will make it easier to finalize tasks when you don’t have to mentally toggle back and forth dozens of times each day.
—Firas Kittaneh, Amerisleep
2. Track your time.
Tracking time is like a budget for money. It makes me see what I was doing mindlessly in terms of not using time in the best way, and where I can make immediate improvements. I use a time tracker app, which helps me determine what I do every minute of the workday.
—Serenity Gibbons, NAACP
3. Develop a code for when you’re busy.
We have all been in a situation where we want to get back to work but we can’t quite end conversations with our managers. So we internally developed a code that means, “Please don’t get offended, but I really need to tackle this task.” This tactic has changed the way I manage my time because it means I can work on large projects without interruptions.
—Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
4. Eat that frog.
The phrase “eat that frog” was made popular by author Brian Tracy. It’s basically a time management technique that says you should tackle the most difficult and most important task on your to-do list first thing in the morning. Crossing off the hardest and highest priority thing before doing anything else has made me more productive throughout the day.
—John Turner, SeedProd LLC
5. Schedule for distractions.
People in general can be distracting. If someone says they want two minutes of your time, it’s almost never two minutes! If I don’t have time to meet with someone for 10-15 minutes right on the spot, I usually have them schedule a time with me. It’s best to manage your day with enough wiggle room so that you can accomplish at least one to two things that you set out to do.
—Jennifer A Barnes, Optima Office, LLC
6. Focus on one thing.
My time management changed when I began focusing on “one thing.” At the start of the day, I focus on the most important task at hand. I do not let other issues creep into my schedule until that task is complete. Once it is, I move on to the next most important task, and so forth. This eliminates the desire to multitask and, in turn, spread yourself too thin.
—Colbey Pfund, LFNT Distribution
7. Answer email twice a day.