According to Famemass.com, people spend an average of 2 hours and 23 minutes per day on social media alone.
Now that’s a lot of time.
Time management can be a challenge, especially when working from home, but it is not only an issue of self-discipline.
Although self-discipline plays a vital role in managing time better, putting the right time management strategies in place makes time management both easier and more sustainable in the long run.
You can build your self-discipline by putting specific systems and strategies in place.
In this post, I will share one of my best time management strategies for working more efficiently.
Ready? Let’s dive right in!
The #1 Time Management Strategy for Working at Home
You may be wondering what in the world this “unique” strategy is.
And no doubt it is.
Managing your time better is very important for better work results. You know how it feels to have gotten nothing done for many days in a row.
It doesn’t feel good.
One strategy that has proven to be effective in time management is daily scheduling.
Daily scheduling is basically planning every second of your day.
It’s pretty simple, but the main problem I found is in sticking to it and making it a habit.
Daily scheduling or daily planning is a useful tool for keeping you focused throughout the day.
Sure, planning every single minute of the day sounds like a crazy idea. But it works.
Next, I’ll share some perks of daily scheduling with you based on my experience and some research.
Benefits of Daily Scheduling
Daily scheduling may sound fancy and nice but if it doesn’t produce any positive results then it would be of no use to you.
That said, you’re next question may be “So, what are the benefits of daily scheduling to me?”
Let’s talk a bit about that.
Some of the perks of daily scheduling are:
1. It reduces procrastination:
I found that when I blocked out different times of my day for specific activities, there were fewer opportunities for me to procrastinate.
It’s a lot more tempting to procrastinate when there are no clearly specified time frames for the activities that you need to achieve.
For example, I found that on days where I only outlined the tasks I needed to complete without assigning any time frames to them, I was more likely to procrastinate than not.
This is why planning every single minute of your day is more effective than making a to-do list.
With a to-do list, you are more likely to finish the easier tasks first and procrastinate more demanding ones, which leads to the next benefit of daily scheduling.
2. It helps you maintain a balance:
Finding a balance between easier and more challenging tasks is essential if you aim to remain efficient during work.
To-do lists don’t do much help in this aspect.
While research shows that productivity is increased by completing difficult tasks first, with to-do lists, there is a tendency to complete easier tasks first, and possibly procrastinate those that are more challenging.
As humans tend to enjoy experiences that get better over time, starting with simpler tasks and working your way up to the more difficult tasks creates negative psychological feedback, which results in a feeling of demotivation.
This is unhelpful with productivity.
Keeping a daily schedule helps you balance both the difficult and easy tasks equally. By setting realistic time frames, you can keep your motivation up and get your work done.
3. It helps you maintain high focus levels and manages distractions:
Have you ever wondered why people get more focused or motivated when deadlines approach?
Because there is a tighter time frame and the work has to be done.
Daily scheduling also puts you in that mindset. Just knowing that you have a specific time range to complete a task keeps your focus on completing it.
Your focus is retained because you know that once you miss the time frame set for the task, you’ll be eating into another task’s time frame or, worse still, your break time. You don’t want that to happen.
4. Improves motivation:
The feeling you get when you successfully complete a task on time is priceless. You know what I mean.
You feel motivated to make it happen more times. This is how the habit-building aspect of daily scheduling time management skills kicks in.
Having a set time limit to get things done keeps you motivated because the more you complete tasks, the more you want to.
The more you repeat a pattern, the more you become used to it, and soon, it’ll become a habit.
5. Helps you track your progress:
One good thing about daily scheduling is that it enables you to keep track of your time.
It’s easy to lose track of time on a task without clear plans in place.
And losing track of time often translates to losing motivation – a reason why breaks are essential.
Keeping track of time is so crucial in monitoring your progress on the task.
Those are just five benefits of daily scheduling, and I’m pretty sure there are lots more.
To remind you, here are the 5 benefits of daily scheduling we talked about:
Benefits of daily scheduling
- It reduces procrastination.
- It helps you maintain a balance.
- It helps you maintain high focus levels and manages distractions.
- It improves motivation.
- It helps you keep track of your progress.
Now, there are many mistakes that people make when trying out daily scheduling which we will discuss next.
Mistakes to be Avoided in Daily Scheduling
Although daily scheduling is a good practice, doing it the wrong way could negatively affect the results you get.
Here are some things to pay attention to, and possibly avoid when practicing daily scheduling:
1. Setting tasks for prolonged hours:
When planning your day, try not to set a single task for long periods.
Instead, split huge tasks into smaller bits.
Not only does this help with motivation, but it also helps you keep your balance and keeps distractions away.
When you stay on a task for longer than planned, it’s a lot easier to get distracted.
Although this may not be the case for everyone, you bet that you will be significantly more efficient if you switch between tasks and take the necessary breaks.
2. Skipping breaks:
Another thing that you should avoid is skipping breaks.
Breaks are essential in keeping you focused and motivated, especially when work gets overwhelming.
You can think of breaks as being just as necessary as the tasks that you need to complete because they are that important.
To know when you need to take a break, pay attention to your concentration and motivation levels.
Watch out for times when you feel like you need to stretch or take a glass of water.
Generally, it is good practice to insert small breaks after every task and larger breaks after a bunch of tasks. This practice is called the Pomodoro technique.
How to Use the Pomodoro Technique:
- Select a task to complete.
- Set the timer for 25 minutes.
- Work on the task until the timer goes off.
- When the timer goes off put a check-mark on a paper.
- Take a short break (about 5 minutes).
- After every four 25-minute sessions, take a long break (20 – 30 minutes).
Although multitasking sounds good, it doesn’t always lead to increased productivity.
When carrying out your daily tasks, try your best to stick to one at a time.
Multitasking often leads to getting less work done. If work is completed at all, it is usually less efficient. Which is why taking one task at a time is the best bet.
4. Working longer than the allotted time:
In a situation where you don’t finish your task before the allotted time, move on to the next task anyways and come back to the current task later.
I’ll tell you why.
Because extending the amount of time you work disrupts the whole schedule.
Not only that, but it also leads to working prolonged hours. The task quickly becomes boring, and when that happens, you are likely to become less productive.
5. Giving up:
Giving up is the fastest way to an unproductive day.
No doubt, sometimes, you may run a bit late on your schedule.
Maybe something came up and got you off track, or you just didn’t feel like it earlier.
But once you’re ready to go, feel free to start from somewhere, anywhere. Trying to get one thing done is better than nothing.
Here are some things to avoid when practicing daily scheduling.
- Setting tasks for prolonged hours
- Skipping breaks
- Working longer than the allotted time
- Giving up
Take away Daily Scheduling Tips
Before you go, I want to let you know that you are making an excellent decision to better yourself by improving your time management skills.
I put together some tips that you can leave with. These can help you plan your day better and achieve more effective results.
Some of my top daily planning tips for you include the following:
1. Reward Yourself:
Sometimes, it may feel like there’s no need to get something done; setting a reward for yourself at the end of the line is a good trick to help you keep your motivation high.
It may sound a bit cheesy, but I bet you, it works.
For example, you may decide to treat yourself to a good meal or a good relaxation time after getting work done.
I know that you can do it anyways if you decide to without completing the task, but if you make it exclusively a reward for yourself, that will put you in a more motivated state to get your tasks done.
2. Be Realistic:
When setting goals, be as realistic as you possibly can be.
By setting impossible or tough tasks for yourself, you demotivate yourself, and you may end up pushing the task entirely to a later time.
Instead, set tasks that are more achievable within the time limit that you have set.
3. Avoid distractions:
Different people are prone to different distractions.
To avoid distractions, you have to be able to identify what distracts you most and possibly stay away from it.
For example, if you find that you’re easily distracted by social media, as is the case for many people, you could turn off your notifications while you are working or even better, put your phone away entirely.
Also, setting a timer and putting it right in front of you while you work can help you stay focused and avoid distractions.
4. Plan Breaks
When planning your day, actively plan breaks too.
It’s so much easier to get tempted to work beyond your time limit when you have no planned breaks in place.
A good rule of thumb is to plan a short break after each task, and one long break after a couple of tasks (the Pomodoro technique).
This helps you retain your motivation and attention for more extended periods, which translates to more efficient work and a productive day.
5. Keep trying:
There is no denying of the fact that every day may not be equally productive.
No doubt, you will be more productive on some days than on others, especially when you’re trying this out for the first time.
Even though being productive may seem as though it isn’t working at first, keep trying to get it to work until you master it. Because you will eventually get there, and the fact is that the more you try, the faster you’ll master being productive.
Take Away Daily Scheduling Tips:
- Reward Yourself
- Be Realistic
- Avoid Distractions
- Plan Breaks
- Keep Trying
Time management is a fundamental yet vital skill to have.
I mean, time is priceless, and we can’t get any second of it back. So the best we can do is to make the best use of the time we have.
In this post, we talked about a very handy time management strategy that could help you become a lot more productive if you try it out – making a daily schedule.
We talked about what it is, some mistakes that people make when making their daily schedules, and its benefits in this article, and I am positive that if you try it out, you’ll see significant positive improvements in your daily productivity and task completion rates.
Let me know in the comments what you think about this time management strategy. Are you interested in trying it out?
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Esther Alu, the Founder of TheAceBusiness.com is an entrepreneur who writes step-by-step guides for starting several business ideas. She is constantly learning and discovering effective ways to help her readers launch and grow successful businesses.