7 Effective Time Management Tips For Your Career

I understand all too well how hard it can be to find enough time in the day to do everything we want. As someone who has struggled with time management myself, I know how stressful it can be to juggle a high-pressure job and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Over the years I tried different time management strategies, and came to a list with my 7 all time favorites.

Since you are reading this, I expect you recognize the feeling that there aren’t enough hours in the day. I hope these tips can help you maximize your time and achieve your career goals without sacrificing your well-being.

  1. Prioritize your tasks
  2. Use time-blocking
  3. Avoid multitasking
  4. Take breaks
  5. Learn to say no
  6. Delegate tasks
  7. Use technology to your advantage
Macbook and planner

1. Prioritize your tasks

Make a list of your tasks for the day or week, and prioritize them based on their importance and urgency. Focus on the most important tasks first, and tackle the less urgent ones later.

One of the most popular ways to do this is the 80/20 rule – also known as the Pareto Principle. This means that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.

When you decide which tasks should have the most priority, look into the ones that contribute the most to your goals. In this way, you focus on the tasks that matter the most and get more done in less time.

2. Use time-blocking

Sometimes you have those weeks when your calendar is back-to-back filled with meetings. You can barely find half an hour for your lunch break… If that’s the case, this tip is for you!

With time-blocking you schedule specific blocks of time for specific tasks, or at least to make sure you have time to work on tasks from your to-do list.

In my calendar I have two recurring blocks; the first hour of my working day and the last hour. Every day!

Not only because I hate meetings at the start of the day (who doesn’t?), but mostly to make sure I have at least 2 hours a day to work on the things that I need to do. During the week or at the moment itself, I can decide which task(s) I want to complete during these blocks.

And the great benefit; I start my day productive, instead of feeling like I’m constantly running behind everything.

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3. Avoid multitasking

You can’t deny it; we all think we can do more while multitasking. But guess what, we are wrong!

When focussing on multiple things at once, your attention is divided, and the risk of making mistakes is increased a lot.

Another side effect is that due to switching from task to task, you produce more cortisol – the stress hormone. By doing this too much, you will feel more stressed throughout the day, and your focus will get worse and worse.

So next time; one task at a time. While doing that, you will find out that you are way more productive and you make less mistakes.

4. Take breaks

I know, taking breaks feels like you’re wasting important time. Time that you could use to finally finish those tasks.

However, studies show that people who take breaks will be more productive. This is because your brain needs rest (without screens) to function at its best.

So go outside for a short walk and breath fresh air.

And in case you feel like you always have too much meetings to do that, plan ahead!

Look back at tip number 2, and also plan daily blocks for your breaks. In that way, nobody will schedule a meeting at the time you want to take your necessary break.

Related article: How To: Create a Healthy Work-Life Balance

5. Learn to say no

You can’t do everything. And even though you can, you shouldn’t. It’s important to set boundaries and prioritize your time.

We, women, seem to find it difficult to set boundaries, and we often say “yes” to everything. But your time is precious, so be careful with it!

When someone asks you to take on a task that you don’t have time for, just be honest and so no. Especially if it’s something that doesn’t belong to your job position.

From personal experience, I know this can be difficult. But it will get easier the more you do it. And once you have done it, you’ll be able to focus on your own priorities and avoid over-committing.

6. Delegate tasks

I know the feeling that you think you have to do everything yourself. But trust me, you don’t!

When I had an intern on our team, I learned that there are many things that I could easily outsource. This also applies if you are a senior and there is a junior on the team.

In some cases it seems easier to do it yourself because otherwise you first have to explain everything. But if you explain it once, you can immediately pass it on next time, and in the end that will save you time.

This doesn’t only apply to tasks you could pass on to someone in your team. Sometimes it happens that tasks appear on your to-do list, probably because it came up in a meeting, but it’s officially someone else’s job.

Even though you might have the knowledge, it’s not your job and you can use your time better.

The best thing to do here is to go to that person immediately (or send an email) and ask to take it over since it’s part of their job. And believe me, they probably already do the same with tasks for you (without you noticing it).

So next time when something ends up on your to-do list, ask yourself “Am I the only one that can or needs to do this?”

In most cases you immediately know the answer. And if you are in doubt, discuss it with your manager – they are here to help you!

Related article: 9 Tips For Minimizing Workplace Distractions

7. Use technology to your advantage

If you ask me, technology is great. There are a lot of apps and tools that can help us with time management, and even automate some tasks.

Think about Trello and Asana, but also time-tracking apps like RescueTime or Toggl to monitor how much time you spend on different tasks and identify areas for improvement.

For example: in my last job, I was the go-to person when it came to Trello. As a former campaign manager, I was managing multiple projects at the same time, all with different (but long) to-do lists.

Eventually, I found a good way to work with it to keep the overview. Everything was on my Trello board and out of my head, which gave me a lot of head space back. This since I saw in one glance which deadlines were coming, the status of projects, and additional notes.

And something we definitely can’t deny; AI is coming! Some people are afraid they will lose their jobs. And yes, maybe some jobs will change. However, I believe we always want and need the personal touch, and that we can use AI in our favor. It can save us a lot of time that we can spend on more important tasks.

Bonus tip: Take care of yourself

Last but not least; one of the most important things; take care of yourself, both physically and mentally.

Make sure you get enough sleep, exercise in a way that fits you, and take time for hobbies, friends and family, and relaxation. Because sometimes we forget that a healthy work-life balance is key to avoid a burnout.

These 7 time management tips will help you to maximize your productivity, focus on your career goals, and – most importantly – avoid burning out. And don’t forget to take care of yourself and prioritize your time wisely โ€“ your career and health depend on it.

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11 responses to “7 Effective Time Management Tips For Your Career”
  1. These are great tips! I recently made a job change and I know I will need to do more time-blocking as I’m now at a place that has more regular meetings. Thanks for sharing what has worked for you over the years!

  2. Great tips ๐Ÿ‘, Learning to say No ,and Use time-blocking are my favourite!! Taking breaks too .

    I will bookmark ๐Ÿ”– your blog

  3. Avoiding multi-tasking is the hardest for me. As an ADHD single mom, multi-tasking is often a go-to. But I’ve recently started working on the skill of focusing on ONE task until it’s complete.

  4. Nicholas Rosen

    Definitely going to start utilizing these more in my everyday work life.

  5. Great recommendations, important ones too. Time blocking is so under rated. Makes a huge difference!

  6. Merritt

    This list is very straightforward and informative. Iโ€™m always trying to fit more in with leas time! Thank you

  7. I realized just two weeks ago how many mistakes I make when multitasking. It’s terrible! This mistake turned out (my brownies ended up as what I call – Carol multitasks too much mistake Cake – lol) but I caught myself again today on the verge of another mistake simply because I was doing too much. This is an area of time management I really need to figure out how to control.

    1. Ah yes, multitasking is probably one of the most common time management mistakes. But it’s good that you are aware of that now, so you can start working on it. You got this!

  8. Nothile

    As someone who gets distracted easily, this is very helpful. Thank you

    1. Fantastic advice! I’ve always struggled with time management, but your tips are like finding that missing puzzle piece. My favorite tip? Prioritizing tasks. It’s a game-changer! ๐Ÿ™Œโฐ

  9. Excellent tips to remind myself of!

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