Since the beginning of the pandemic, all of us feel like we’ve been caught in the loop. We wake up, have our breakfast, prepare coffee, and sit down in front of the computer or laptop. Then it’s evening all of a sudden, and it’s time to go to sleep.
There’s no way to tell when we are going to return to the pre-pandemic way of life, which we call ‘normal’, and whether it is ever going to happen. But we can start getting used to the new normal and try to take advantage of the current situation.
It’s absolutely possible to keep enjoying life and have time for yourself even if you are stuck at home, and it seems that there’s nothing else better to do but work. All you need is a proper time management plan that will allow including different activities in your workweek.
So, today, we will take a look at the three essential points of a time management plan, which you need to take into account if you want to have time for other fun activities.
1. Outline Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
First and foremost, your time management plan needs a list of specific long-term and short-term goals, which will be its foundation.
You can determine a custom timeframe for your goals. For instance, short-term goals can be set for every one or two days, while you can set long-term goals for the end of the week or month.
How to set goals for a time-management plan properly?
For this purpose, you can use the SMART model for setting goals. According to this model, all your goals should be:
- specific – mention specific areas for improvement for each goal
- measurable – identify how you will measure the success of each goal
- attainable – define who and how will hold you accountable for achieving these goals
- realistic – outline the resources, which you will use to achieve your goals
- time–bound – indicate how much time you have for each of your goals
Make sure you assign deadlines to each of the goals but do it according to how you’ve prioritized your goals. For instance, if you want to switch your company to a new payroll method, first, need to create documentation for it and only then optimize your HR Payroll Systems. Accordingly, the deadlines for these goals should follow each other in the same order.
Also, don’t forget to add contingency time for every long-term and short-term goal. This means that you need to indicate how much you can extend the deadline for each goal in case of an emergency.
2. Break Your Goals into Manageable Tasks
The next essential point to include when writing your time management plan is the categorization of your goals.
Categorization of goals in time management involves three essential steps:
Before you start breaking your goals into more sizeable tasks, consider each goal separately, differentiate it from others, understand its purpose, and then come up with a category for it.
This way, you will end up with several goal categories, which you can later prioritize and schedule in your time management plan.
How to break goals into smaller tasks?
Each goal will become more achievable once you break it into sizeable tasks. The following steps will help you do it properly:
- define a milestone for each goal
- break your goals into objectives
- set deadline for each objective
- break your objectives into tasks
- set deadlines for each task
When working on the tasks for each goal, make sure you stick to your limit. Don’t assign yourself too many goals and tasks that you won’t be able to finish within the timeframe you’ve set for yourself.
That’s why, when categorizing your goals, break them down into two sections – the ones that you will finish yourself and the ones that you can delegate.
For instance, if you’re planning to finish a social media marketing campaign this week, you can delegate content creation tasks to some of the writing services, such as ThesisOnTime, while you can work on the KPIs, data tracking, and other aspects of the campaign.
Also, when breaking your objectives into tasks, consider which resources you’ll need to complete them and whether you have them or not. Searching for the resources can take a lot of time, and your work on your goals will be delayed as a result. So, try to have all the resources at hand to make sure your work is efficient.
3. Include a Time Log
Now, as you have all the basic elements of the time management plan, you can start writing a daily to-do list to work towards achieving your goals. However, a to-do list often is not enough to properly manage your time during the day.
Having a time log will help you solve this problem. In it, you will track how much time each activity should take and how many of them you need to complete during the day.
Your time log can have a more general format:
|Date||Activities||Number of hours|
Or, you can be more specific about the time for each activity separately:
|Activity||Start||Finish||Time spent||Objectives achieved|
Your time management process will be more effective if you track how much time you spend on each activity. As you’re writing down how much time each activity took you, it will help you become more aware of how much time different tasks take to complete.
Sometimes, as you start working on your tasks, you’ll notice that you didn’t set proper deadlines for the goals in your time management plan, and some of them will take more time. Writing a time management plan is definitely a work in progress, so make adjustments as you go and remember to have a daily limit for tasks to make sure you finish everything on time.
Over to You
Often, we have so many ideas in mind but seem to be constantly running out of time. It happens because more of us don’t have proper time management skills and don’t know how to write a plan to organize our daily activities.
The key is in proper goal setting. Start by defining the goals you want to achieve in the long and short term. You can use the SMART model to help you with that.
Of course, to make your goals more sizeable, you need to break them down into objectives and tasks, for which you should also set appropriate milestones.
Lastly, when putting your tasks into daily to-do lists, make sure you also include a time log to track how much completing each activity takes you. And, don’t be afraid to change your time management plan as you go if you’ll see that some tasks require more time than others.
This is the recipe for a proper time management plan that will help you achieve anything you want, even if you’re stuck at home.
Jessica Fender is a copywriter and blogger at GetGoodGrade with a background in marketing and sales. She enjoys sharing her experience with like-minded professionals who aim to provide customers with high-quality services.