Finding more time in the day is something we all chase. Managing your time comes down to how organised and self-disciplined you are. Getting more done and being more productive is a result of excellent time management skills.

Too many of us are faced with the realisation that you haven’t accomplished a fraction of what you intended to. Brian Tracy says “time management is the core skill upon which everything else in life depends.” So we must improve how we manage the irreplaceable time we do have and be smart about it.

Here are five key strategies that will help you maximise your time in order to be more productive:

Track your time

In order to remove inefficiencies, you need to first know where they are. Keep track of time spent on activities and projects. Evaluate how much time it takes you to accomplish tasks from start to finish. This data will help you identify what tasks are more important and which ones you get the biggest return from. As well as those tasks you are not so good at and are big time wasters, which then you may want to consider delegating or outsourcing. A software like Toggl is a great tool to track and dissect precisely how your workday is spent.

Eliminate distractions

To keep yourself from wasting time, remove social media and email notifications from your desktop and mobile device. Don’t check your email first thing in the morning as this can get you off track too easily. Block time to check email and social media throughout the day at your least productive times. While sites won’t be completely out of reach, this practice can keep you from checking updates on impulse. Social media is statistically one of our biggest productivity wasters and with our phones an extension of our computer it becomes increasingly hard to avoid distractions. A tool like Moment is great for tracking how much time you’re picking up your phone each day.

Be prepared and plan

At the end of each day reflect on what you achieved that day, and what you need to work on achieving the next day. Break tasks down into small achievable tasks and limit the number of tasks you set yourself each day. By planning your day in advance your work will go faster and smoother and you will feel more in control.

Determine Priorities

You’ve prepared and planned what you are doing for the day or week, now you need to prioritise them. Go through all your tasks and break them down into the following:

  • Now – Urgent tasks
  • Next – Important tasks
  • Later – Not important tasks

Re-evaluate these priorities each day and focus your time on the important tasks first, therefore they will be kept to a minimum and help alleviate stress.

Schedule your time

When you have various projects on the go and are working tirelessly between them all you feel like you’re not actually completing anything because you are essentially task switching. To give your projects and tasks the attention they deserve set larger blocks of time aside to ensure you have limited distractions and complete one thing before moving onto the next. Knowing what time of day you are most productive also enables you to schedule when to get the most important tasks done.

The better organised and more in control you are will help you focus on what the most important aspects of your schedule are. This will also enable greater flexibility to make changes and adapt when required.