If you’re like many people, you may occasionally find yourself mismanaging your time. It’s very easy to slip into poor time management habits. It might not seem like your lack of time management is doing that much damage overall, but if you add up all the time you’re wasting, you might be surprised to find that it equals a full work day or more! Since the old saying of time is money is certainly true, this means you’ve wasted a good amount of both!

What can you do to better manage your time? There are several different ways many people waste time throughout the day. If you want to get more things done or simply have more free time, here are a few different secrets you can employ to decrease the amount of time you waste each day.

Start and Finish Tasks in One Setting

Instead of starting an email to someone, getting distracted by another task, and then going back to the email later, start and finish that email before going on to something else. Touch a task only one time when at all possible. This way, you keep focused on that task. If you leave it and come back later, you have to remember where you were and what you were thinking. You may also have put away and get out the tools or resources needed for the task multiple times. That’s not efficient.

Of course, sometimes you may realize you can’t finish a task because you don’t have the information or resources needed. This is often unavoidable since you may not realize you need these things. When possible, though, don’t start a task until you know you have everything you need to finish it in one setting.

Have a Daily To-Do List

When you aren’t sure what you need to work on, you may spend time looking at your various projects and tasks before selecting one. When you start your day, make a to-do list with five or six of the most important tasks at the top. These are the things you must complete before you leave the office. This way, you’ll be very focused on what tasks have the highest priority. If you finish those items, you should have another five or six tasks that aren’t as high priority but still need to get done.

Some people make these lists first thing in the morning. Others end their day by making a to-do list for the next day. Do whichever one makes the most sense to you, but get in the habit of doing this. Besides helping you save time in deciding what to do, it also helps you see which tasks are the most important so that you don’t miss deadlines.

Travel Less without Interrupting Communication

Travelling to other job sites, offices, or to meet with clients takes up a good amount of time. During this time, you’re often either unable to get much work done or work more slowly since you’re not in your familiar setting with all of your resources at hand. If at all possible, cut down on the amount of travel you do by using a group video conferencing tool such as Uberconference. This tool makes it very quick and easy to discuss business with others.

Unlike phone calls, you’re able to see each other and even share documents and other files. You can conduct a video conference anywhere you can get an internet connection, and you can use a number of different devices, too.

Estimate Your Time per Task

How long do you think you’ll spend on a task each day? This is especially important for tasks you do regularly, such as handle your email each morning or write certain reports. Determine how long it takes you to do each so you can work that into your schedule. You can even add these times to your to-do list so you can determine how many of your priority items you can realistically get done in the day. Be sure you time yourself every now and then to make sure you’re really spending that much time on a task.

Don’t Multitask

While it may seem like the best way to get many different things done, when you multitask, you’re not actually giving each task your full attention. That can lead to them taking longer to do or to missing important details. Instead of trying to do several things at once, do each item on your list in order of most important to least important. Don’t move on to another item on the list until you have everything above it complete. In some cases, you may have to move on to something else if you’re waiting for information or for certain resources to be available. That’s okay. If possible, don’t return to that task until you’ve finished what you’re currently working on. Do everything to completion when you can.

Review Your Day

Take the last ten to fifteen minutes of each day to do a quick review. What did you get accomplished? What needs to be prioritized tomorrow? Did you run into anything unexpected that affected your schedule, and will it happen again? You may find, for example, that you have so many meetings scheduled on Monday that you really aren’t productive. That’s something you need to keep in mind for future to-do lists. It might also be something to talk to your supervisor about. Do you really need to go to all of those meetings? Could some be eliminated and replaced with a weekly email? You may be able to save everyone time.

Create a Habit

Managing your time isn’t something you decide to do and suddenly do well. It’s something you have to get into the habit of doing. If you start doing all of these things on a regular basis, they will soon become second nature to you. When that happens, you’ll have reached your goal of managing your time as well as you possibly can. It might take you several weeks to really get into this habit of using to-do lists and prioritizing, though, so be sure to give it some time.

Author's Bio: 

Lisa Brooke is a freelance writer since 2008. She is an alumni of the University of London and has done her graduation in English literature. She is a big tech freak, especially about mobile supporting technologies and other related techie stuffs.