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The Best Time Management Tips

Carissa Parrish is CMO of Spanish-language newsletter Bonita Semana. Here, she writes about time management and her personal strategies to conquer each day.

We’ve all been there. It’s 3 p.m. and you’re wondering where your day went. It’s an unsettling feeling that can also leave you feeling unsatisfied and anxious. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, an entrepreneur or employed full-time in an office, there are strategies that can help you regain those missing hours and leave you feeling more positive. Here are three ideas for reframing your time management style. 

How to Get Better at Time Management

Be Honest

Some of us get in the zone in the morning while some of us are better at doing so at night. It’s important to take a look at your patterns of behavior and use them to your advantage. There’s nothing wrong with being a night owl. Or, if getting to the office an hour before everyone else once a week sets up you for success, do it. If you work best under deadlines, that’s okay, too. Do what works best for you and resist the urge to stress out because you’re not on the same timeline as others. My experience in sales and marketing has left my schedule in constant flux due to travel, client meetings and unanticipated business needs that demand immediate attention. Office hours for me can be distracting as internal meetings and team requests can slow progress in my own responsibilities. If you can relate or find an onslaught of Slack messages and emails are hijacking your attention every five minutes, recognize that your boundaries need to be reset, and that you need to communicate them.

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Find the Tools That Are Right for You

There are countless apps, organization tools and platforms available to streamline productivity. I find the best ones are ones you probably already have at your disposal. Check out how many times a day you pick up your iPhone under the screen time tab in settings. You might be surprised at how much you’re interacting with your phone each day whether you’ve received a notification or not. This can help hold you accountable if you’re truly looking to make a change. You can also find your time spent broken down by app. Admittedly, I once discovered I’d spent 6 hours in one week playing Candy Crush which definitely changed my behavior moving forward.

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Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself

Our globally connected world makes it easy to play the comparison game: “Wow, she wrote her whole book in three months.” “He got in shape in no time.” “Her house is always impeccably clean.”

If you’ve ever caught yourself saying something like this, you’re not alone. Give yourself a break. There are only so many hours in a day. While you pursue your passions, try to check in during moments of overwhelm and remind yourself that your value is not measured by how much you produce every day. Some days are for strategizing and others for executing. Break down larger projects into smaller achievable steps. You’ll reap the positive emotional rewards of completing tasks and you’ll be inspired to keep the momentum going.

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My Personal Time Management Strategies

I love a planner. It goes everywhere with me. I still get a back-to-school thrill every time I purchase a new one. I set long- and short-term goals throughout and use it every day.

I use Wunderlist for countless ideas that come to me on my walks with my dog. It syncs to your computer, sets reminders and ensures you remember to start that podcast or reach out for a great partnership opportunity.

Power hour. I’ve incorporated this strategy into my life after hearing about it on Gretchen Rubin’s podcast Happier. Occasionally, I find I’ve allowed too many little things to go undone. I’ll set a timer and for one hour focus solely on completing these to-do’s. They tend to be seemingly benign tasks like cleaning out the pantry, filing paperwork, updating contact information – but they can take up a lot of mental space if you let them add up and linger too long. I love the feeling of a freshly checked off to-do list and this helps me get there.