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10 Time Management Strategies to Start Your Year Off Right

Posted by Stephanie Hilliard on Jan 11th 2019

10 Time Management Strategies to Start Your Year Off Right

Are you striving to be more productive during your day? Who wouldn’t love to cross every item off their to-do list for that day? It’s all about managing your time efficiently to conquer your never-ending task list. Here are 10 strategies you can try to start managing your time a little better this year.

Rise and Shine a Little Earlier

Glasses on Bed with Book

You can’t create time, but you can use what you’re given more effectively to get a head start on your day. Waking up earlier is often featured on most lists of time management strategies, that’s because it works!

Use this “extra” time to focus your intentions for the day ahead, read, or just take a moment to enjoy a cup of coffee with your pet. Don’t use this whole time to check your email or social media. It’s so easy to get caught up in the endless scroll and your bonus time could turn into making you late. This is time for you to just to take a moment for you, before what will (probably) be a hectic day. Even if you’re only able to wake up 10-15 minutes earlier than your regular start time, that still can improve your whole focus of your day.

Set Daily Goals

Who loves feeling accomplished? *Raises hand*

Pam from the Office

Who loves feeling bad about what they didn’t accomplish? *Crickets*

Jim Halpert from the Office

It is so easy to feel overwhelmed like you haven’t done everything to the best of your ability. One way to curb this feeling of anxiety is to set a goal for yourself that day. Whether you’re in sales and need to hit a monthly total or you’re staring at an over-stuffed garage that desperately needs some TLC, having daily goals can help you work towards a larger goal, without feeling defeated.

For daily goals to work, you need to be honest with yourself and realistic about the time you have available to perform the task. This will also come in handy later with a reward system.

The Rule of Three’s

Check List

It’s so easy make an overflowing to-do list that you’ll take one look at and want to return to your cozy covers. You’ve got a lot going on! But this list is probably falling victim to planning fallacy, “wherein people underestimate the time it will take to complete a future task, despite knowledge that previous task have generally taken longer than planned”.

Therefore, it’s important to prioritize this list. Choose the three things that absolutely need to be done and that it what you need to get done today. If you can’t bear to have a list of only three things written down, you could keep a running list of tasks that need done and then choose which ones need to be priority that day. Either way, choose your three and get to work!

Limit Multi-Tasking

Man with Laptop and Bag

Having a lot to do is no excuse for doing tasks half-heartedly and making silly mistakes. And if you’re multi-tasking, it can be very easy for this to happen. It’s not impossible to limit all distractions and double tasking at the same time but things can make more of an impact if you’ve set your focus. This will make sure that finished tasks are surely finished and not just half complete.

To be sure that you aren’t multi-tasking, schedule breaks during your day that you can do that other task. For instance, for every hour of a job accomplished, break before you start your next item and watch a video or give your social media a scroll. Having planned breaks will let you focus on the task at hand and not on what you’re missing in the rest of your world.

Rapid Planning Method

Goal Planner Open with Coffee

Rather jotting down a list of what needs done maybe you would rather focus on the why of it all. The Rapid Planning Method system is based on planning for results, finding out why you want those results, and how you need to get to those results.

This time management method is touted by Tony Robbins, motivational speaker extraordinaire. The RPM system’s acronym further broken down stands for:

  • Results-oriented- What is the outcome you’re trying for?
  • Purpose-driven- Why do you want to have that outcome?
  • Massive-action plan- What do you have to do to get it?

It may be easier to get yourself motivated for what you need to accomplish by focusing on the outcomes.

Eat the Frog

Green Tree Frog

Sounds gross, works well. This is an old adage from Mark Twain that basically means start with the thing you want to do the least. In other words, get whatever you’re dreading on your to-do list over with first.

Not a fan of responding to emails? Get it out of the way. Have phone calls you need to make but despise talking on the phone? Start there first. Once you barrel through your less-than favorite tasks, you can begin other ones that aren’t nearly as cumbersome or painful.

Schedule Over Scope


Because of the planning fallacy we talked about earlier, it has probably happened more than once that you feel discouraged about cramming a task into a shorter time span that what you would have hoped. You might have even nixed the task all together because you didn’t have the correct amount of time. This is important to recognize especially if you’re trying to turn the task into a consistent behavior.

For example, you’ve set the goal of reading every day for 30 minutes and one day you only have 15 minutes to devote to this goal. Should you just scrap your reading for that day because you aren’t going hit your goal time right on the nose? Definitely not! Read that 15 minutes and then attempt again tomorrow for the full 30.

By lessening the scope of the task and going for consistency with a schedule , you are that much closer to sticking with the task (that will hopefully turn into a habit).

Create a Reward System

Creating a system that will reward good time management incentivizes you to keep up those habits. Work with the daily goals that you have set in place to know when you’ve earned a reward. For example, if you are de-cluttering your house and you’ve set the goal of working through one room a day, when you hit that goal consistently for a week, reward yourself! Rewards can be tangible or experienced, as long as it reinforces to your brain that you’ve done a good job.

Having a reward system in place can also help in motivating you when doing tasks “because you have to” becomes old.

Group Like Tasks Together

Man Picking Granny Smith Apples

Why make chores harder than they must be? When you’re looking at your task list, organize it by where they must be done at and what kind of tasks they are.

If run to the dry-cleaners, return library books, and go grocery shopping are all on your list for the day, do them one right after another since you’re already out and about doing all of them. The same goes if doing dishes, laundry, and running out for pet food are on your list. By chunking together dishes and laundry (whether first or after) before getting pet food, you’re doing similar tasks together and probably more time-efficiently.  

Say No When You Can

This might seem odd on a time management list but what better way to manage your time than not wasting it when it’s unnecessary. We constantly feel like we have to be “yes” people, always readily available for whatever task needs done. With every task that has exceeded your fill that you say yes to, it will be overwhelming, and your current to-do list suffers while you are saying no to other things. If you’re feeling hesitant about taking on the task in the first place, it’s likely a sign you shouldn’t take it on to start with.

Do not let things take up space on your list if you don’t need to add to your already heaping pile of things to do. It’s okay to say no.

These ten strategies can help you stay more on track during your day and accomplish what you need to get done. You only have 24 hours in your day, how are you going to use them?