Your day, like everyone else’s, is only 24 hours. Yet, somehow, certain people seem to be able to get more done than others. Their secret? Time management—how you plan, prioritize, and produce, day in and day out. You can’t create more time, but managing it wisely will make you happier, healthier, and more productive.
Time management depends a great deal on your unique individual circumstances, but a few general tips can help you better organize your life and career, significantly improving your time management capabilities—regardless of what’s on your plate.
1. See the big picture
You know that old adage, they couldn’t see the forest for the trees? It’s nearly impossible to be productive when you’re disorganized and drowning in details. What you need is a bird’s-eye view of your entire schedule and workload; a firm grip on the big picture. Only with clear visibility of the whole can you effectively drill down into the nitty-gritty and get things done.
Power tip: Connect Evernote with Google Calendar to better conceptualize your workload and break it down into manageable bits. This brings your schedule and notes together, and linking your notes to events makes it easier to get organized.
2. Identify priorities early
Setting priorities is a smart way to ensure a productive day. You need to know what you need to tackle first and why, as well as a general sense of which tasks will take place when. That should happen before your day starts, with an honest assessment of what needs to be accomplished and the time it will take to complete.
More specifically, you should aim to:
- Consolidate all of your tasks into one list and break them down by month, week, or day.
- Separate important or urgent tasks from those of lower priority and
- Build them into your day, tackling the most important tasks first and saving less important tasks for later.
Power tip: Tasks in Evernote helps you keep your day on track by organizing and presenting assignments for you to check off when completed. Capture actionable details in each of your tasks: project, due date, time commitment, as well as other details. Adjust them as needed in order to prioritize your workload and develop a schedule that meets all of your responsibilities.
3. Centralize information
Accessibility is key to effective time management; time spent hunting down information is time wasted. Make your life a little easier by consolidating all of your notes, tasks, and schedules in a single place. You’ll be able to back away and get a clear, cohesive, big-picture view of your situation, and better prioritize your to-dos—and you won’t lose precious hours tracking down important info.
The easier it is to access the information you need, the more readily you can act on it. If you constantly have to shuttle back and forth between apps to get the data you’re looking for, it’s going to drastically affect your time management capabilities and cause huge frustration.
Power tip: Tasks + Notes connects the things you need to do with the information required to complete them. This way, nothing gets lost in the shuffle. Try combining Calendar + Tasks + Notes to:
- Create notes for events instantly and get quick access later, right from the calendar widget in Home.
- Prep for meetings easily, ahead of time, or on the spot. Set up a structured note with just one click; complete with event details and options for action items and notes.
- Search for event details—like date, location, and attendees—so it’s easier than ever to access the information you need.
4. Set deadlines—and stick to them
The most important detail for any task is its deadline, whether self-imposed or mandated. Deadlines provide a set timetable and an idea of how much time you’ll need to devote to each task.
Many people organize their day by drawing up a checklist and knocking off each task once completed. Unfortunately, this approach is not conducive to efficient time management and can actually prove counterproductive. Simple lists fail to account for the expected time of each task and they’re rarely prioritized. Instead of focusing on to-do lists, arrange your tasks by deadlines. Remember, though, to make allowances for more time-consuming projects.
Follow these four rules to better manage your tasks:
- Make it urgent. When you have all the time in the world to complete a task, it’s easier to procrastinate. Without a sense of urgency, it’s tempting to focus on less taxing activities often unrelated to your work. Assign yourself an earlier deadline to stay on track and motivated.
- Make it fit. The way you manage your time is personal, and the tasks in your life fit its unique rhythms. Arrange your schedule to accomplish those tasks in a way that works for those patterns, rather than trying to force it into a set schedule.
- Make it actionable. Don’t just note what you have to do. Visualize how you’re going to do it and what you’re going to need. Then you’re prepped and ready to complete your task.
- Make it meaningful. The deadline needs to matter, and you need to be accountable, both to yourself and your team.
Power tip: Use Evernote to set (and meet) deadlines and stay on top of it all by bringing your to-dos and notes together in Tasks. With Tasks, your to-dos live inside your notes, complete with priority flags, due dates, and reminders.
5. Take smarter breaks
Fear of losing productivity often prevents people from taking breaks when they need to. And yet, breaks are not just healthy but necessary to a productive workday. They work best when they meet the following parameters:
- A break should focus on a significantly different activity than the one you were just working on.
- It should keep you in a work-related frame of mind, allowing you to ease back into work quickly.
- Any break is helpful, provided it’s taken when you really need one.
The health benefits of well-planned breaks every 45-90 minutes have been well-documented. They provide a sense of wellbeing by reducing stress and allowing you to better focus on your job when the break is over.
Power tip: Try using notifications in Evernote to automate your break schedule. Then, when you get a reminder to take that much-needed breather, allow yourself that break. It’s not a waste of time and you’ll be more productive overall.
Time to get organized
Pandemic-driven work routines—such as remote and hybrid working arrangements—have wreaked havoc on how people manage their time, and not being able to establish a healthy work-life balance could spell disaster. Problems in one area can quickly cascade into the other, resulting in procrastination, an inability to meet goals, and even burnout.
It’s a universal struggle: you’re trying to be productive at work and at home, but the demands, deadlines, and distractions seem never-ending. You need to get more done with less time and still be more productive, but how?
With ever-changing priorities, it can be hard to stay on track, but with Evernote, you can better manage your time, stay on top of tasks, plan ahead, and become more productive. Home, Calendar, and Tasks all work together to build on existing features and help you do more.
Tasks + Notes combine to help you get to your goals faster, closing the gap between what you need to do and the information you need to do it.
Calendar + Notes + Tasks turbocharges your meetings, speeding up your preparation time with all the information you need accessible at a click.
Home + Notes + Calendar + Tasks structure your day in an organized dashboard that consolidates what you need to know with what you need to do. Your most important notes, most urgent tasks, and up-to-date schedule appear together in a single consolidated view. Instead of being overwhelmed by information, your information works for you.
Time management means making the best possible use of your time and doing the right thing at the right time. Smart time-management empowers you to be more productive and make progress in different areas of your life while retaining control over your stress and energy levels. Understanding the value of your time means you are rarely overburdened and can enjoy each and every work or life moment to the fullest.