By: Katarina Kovacevic

We talk a lot about productivity and efficiency in work or entrepreneurship. But, the truth is, time management is incredibly personal. Some people thrive off of a strict schedule, others can get more done without all of the structure. No matter what your work style is, we’ve found that there are at least a few time management tips that are effective across the board. Here’s what we’ve come up with.

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First, Change Your Mindset

If you’re constantly feeling like time is limited, then you’ll live in a state of perpetual panic. Instead of feeling that high-anxiety while watching the hours tick by, consider shifting your mindset. Tell yourself, “Time is mine to give away.” It’s all about that subtle but effective reminder that you are in charge of your time and how you spend it. Your life is not a deadline; don’t live like it is.

Find A Time Management System That Works For You

Some people really love a written to-do list. Others prefer a more intricate project management system. And then there are those who fill up their entire Google Calendar with time-blocked tasks. We’re not here to tell you what to do because, the truth of the matter is, what works for us may not work for someone else. What we can recommend is that you find a system of managing your tasks, goals and milestones that makes you feel organized, empowered and, yes, even calm. Your work life is already busy, so, don’t add to the pressure!

Tackle The Most Important Tasks In The Morning

Typically, we have more energy in the a.m. (after some caffeine, of course!), so it’s a good idea to knockout those heftier to-do’s before lunchtime. Tasks that require the most brainpower will be easier completed before the afternoon lull. And, you can go into the second half of your day feeling incredibly accomplished.

Turn Off Distractions And Build In Buffers

Every time you reach for that cell phone and open up Instagram, you’re risking wasting valuable minutes on productive work. Let’s be honest, how many times have you dove into the rabbit hole of social media and realized you’ve spent 45 minutes just scrolling and scrolling?! It happens to the best of us, but the more you can minimize mindless scrolling, the better off you’ll be. Also, it’s a good idea to be very realistic – maybe even conservative – when it comes to planning how long a task or project will take. Build buffers into your calendar and to-do list, and allow for natural pauses for rest, breaks and refreshment.

For The Love Of All That Is Holy, Learn To Delegate

Raise your hand if you’re a Type A control freak (do you see mine waving in the air?). Look, I’ll be straight with you: Delegating and divvying out tasks to colleagues or contractors can be nerve wracking because, ultimately, you’re delegating out some of the control, too. But, the reward is far greater. Even if it’s a task that only takes 15 minutes every morning, consider this: Those 15 minutes add up to more than an hour each week, and at least five hours each month. What can you do with that extra time? A LOT.

Before we close this one out, here are some words of wisdom from Thrive Member Peggy Barber, ADHD coach and owner of Good Thinking! LLC.

  1. Start your day strong by making your to-do list the night before. Have a timeframe for each item and learn to manage your energy throughout the day. Take breaks. Fuel your body with what works for you. I like this piece of advice from Dr. Ron Friedman: “Match tasks to your energy level. Use high energy for analysis and planning, and low energy for creativity and connections.”
  2. Make all of your reminders physical. Using a timer keeps you from the distraction of watching the clock. If you put something in the car to take somewhere, use a Post-It note on the dash to remember it. You can change your watch to the other wrist as a reminder, or move your ring. When sitting at the computer or reading or watching something, have a colored Post-It note and pen handy for those things that pop into your head. Don’t count on your memory – write it down!
  3. What gets rewarded gets done! The more tedious the task, the bigger the need for a reward. Will you need a hit before, during or after? Will you need all three? The size of the reward doesn’t matter and nothing is too small to celebrate. For example, “When I’m finished with this, I’ll go watch one of my favorite shows and relax.”

Share your favorite time management tips with the Thrive community by posting them in the comments below!

Katarina Kovacevic is the owner of Redefined Communications, a company offering blogging and ghostwriting services for women in leadership, and female-focused and purpose-driven businesses. She’s also the founder and editor of RUBY Media, a digital media company that promotes female camaraderie, supports sisterhood and inspires women to make a difference in the world. You can connect with Katarina on Instagram or LinkedIn, or with RUBY on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.