Time management is one of the most important skills you can have. It’s also one of the most difficult to master. The good news is that time management isn’t as mysterious as it seems. With the right digital tools, you can improve your time management skills in less than a week—maybe even less than a day, depending on how frequently you struggle with it. However, it takes grit and self-discipline to put in the effort and stay disciplined over long periods of time. If you need help staying on track or overcoming challenging habits, here are 10 ways digital tools can help you improve your time management skills:
Set daily goals
One of the fastest ways to improve time management is to set daily goals. When you have a specific end date in mind for each day, you have a clear yardstick by which to measure your time. By making daily time management goals, you give yourself a quantified way to measure your progress. This gives you the data you need to identify problems and breakdowns, and to make adjustments where necessary. Best of all, setting daily goals is a great way to build your confidence and increase your motivation.
Plan your day the night before
It’s not easy to be deliberate when you’re feeling groggy from sleep inertia—but it’s possible to plan out your day the night before. This goes a long way toward helping you be more intentional about how you spend your time. You don’t have to rely on your poor, half-awake brain to make decisions. By planning the events and activities of your day the night before, you give yourself the opportunity to be more mindful and deliberate. Just like with a to-do list, you can use a planner to keep track of your commitments and make sure you don’t miss anything important.
Use a timer for mindless tasks
When you’re in the middle of writing a report for work or cleaning your apartment, it’s easy to feel too focused on your immediate tasks to take a step back and consider how you’re spending your time. This can cause you to spend too much time on certain activities and not enough on others. A way to prevent this is to use a timer. A timer is a tool that loudly reminds you to step away from your current task. It also acts as a prompt to remind you of the bigger picture—that you need to spend time on other important projects and activities, too.
Define and track your to-do list
Who designed the task list and why? Did they think about how frequently you’d check them off? That’s a question worth asking. The thing is, while you can blame and shame yourself for off-task behavior, you can’t do either of those things when you’re off-task. A better approach is to take responsibility for your actions and learn from them. You can do this by defining your tasks and writing them down. By tracking your tasks, you can find out where you’re spending your time and assess where you need to spend more.
Set up automated routines for habits you want to form
The best way to start a new habit is to identify a regular, consistent time for doing so. Then, set up a routine for making that time happen. This includes establishing a regular time for doing so and scheduling your habit for that time. By making a habit of doing something at a consistent time, you’re giving yourself an opportunity to be more intentional about your time.
Build a digital ecosystem for Time Tasking skills development
If you have a smartphone or laptop, you’ve got the tools you need to start Time Tasking skills development. But, while having the right digital tools is important, there’s more to successful Time Tasking than just having a toolbox. There’s also the matter of putting the tools to good use. By studying the habits of successful Time Taskers, you can identify what it is they’re doing that makes the experience successful. What successful Time Taskers aren’t doing is simply reading blog articles about how to use tools to improve time management skills. What they’re doing is using their tools to build new habits, which is where the real learning and growth happen.
Don’t rely on tools alone – learn how to be more aware of your surroundings
Just because you have all the tools necessary to improve your time management skills doesn’t mean you should use them all the time. If you’re primarily using tools to track your time and measure how you’re spending it, then you’re focusing on the wrong thing—your time. You should be using your tools as a crutch, not as your crutch. Instead of checking your phone to see if it’s time to check off a task, look at your phone as something that helps you get through the next few minutes before you have to do something else.
The truth is, time management is a lot like dating. It takes time and effort, but the rewards are worth it. The sooner you start, the sooner you can reap the rewards of a life with less stress, more confidence, and less stress over work. Turn to digital tools to help you make progress, but remember that progress isn’t made in isolation. Success is built by working with others, by learning from others, and by taking advantage of opportunities to grow and develop