Here are some practical tips which helped me manage my time better; hope they are useful:
1. Delegate or outsource: Certain tasks can be delegated or outsourced. This will not only save time but will also ensure better quality of work; apparently the task should be delegated/outsourced to the right person or firm! Delegate or outsource when it comes to tasks related to research, data entry, database management, customer service, proofreading, accounting, etc.
2. Catch up on reading while you are traveling/waiting: If you are one of those people who read something everyday, read when you are in a bus or train or flight or even while waiting in a queue or when your call is on hold. It is a good practice to have a smartphone, since it helps you read without the need of carrying a book or magazine around. If you like reading, do not skip it for the sake of time management; you should stay updated with the latest developments in your field – food for thought!
3. Organize your email: Use filters to move particular mail to particular folders or to label them. Once this is figured out, organized email can save huge amount of time & it will also be helpful for future reference. Generally, people have an office email address & a personal email address, which is fine. But are you a person with multiple personal email IDs? In that case, merge them into a single one. Redirect all your mails to one address; this way they are all together & then you can organize them further. Use a mail client to suit your needs.
4. Always carry a pocket diary & a pen: Mighty useful especially if there are a thousand things running through your head at a given point of time! It is difficult to recall an important task that struck you a few hours back – noting it down immediately helps. Or use your smartphone for the same! Whatever you use, recording it somewhere as soon as it strikes you, helps a lot.
5. Organize on the go: This is something we tend to ignore & it ends up consuming most of our time. For example, if you are cooking, instead of making a mess & then cleaning it, keep things back at their place immediately after you use them. Or when you come back from outside, instead of emptying your pockets anywhere, empty them & keep the wallet & keys where they belong. This not only helps in keeping the home neat but also prevents confusion when you are ready to leave home next time.
6. Take a power nap: This is the best part! Taking a power nap of 10-15 minutes after lunch will rejuvenate you. You can get back to work feeling refreshing. Generally, post lunch hours make us sleepy & we rely on lots of coffee to rescue us – this is unhealthy in the long run. A power nap is exactly what can help us out. Notice the difference after power naps – you will be more productive & finish your work as you had planned.
The more you apply these tips, the more difference you will see in your routine.