The Fitness Zone
by Lahnee Castro, QLD Australian Institute of Fitness Lead Coach – Business and Online
Effective time management is essential to your success in completing courses you are studying.
Applying time management strategies to your life will help you achieve any goal you set your mind to. The top 10 tips below will help you to plan a day/week/month so that you maximise productivity around personal commitments like work, family and your training!
By implementing even a few of these tips, you will notice an amazing increase in your efficiency!
Tip 1 – Analyse the last 2 weeks!
Reflect and put absolutely everything you did over the last 2 weeks into 4 different categories.
Important and urgent:
· Did that need to be dealt with immediately?
· Was the task happening right in front of you?
· Examples of this might be impending deadlines, emergencies or solving immediate problems
Important and not urgent:
· This covers anything that does not require your immediate attention, however need to be planned for.
· Examples of this would be reading content, personal development or improving your health/fitness.
Urgent and unimportant items:
· These tasks are reflected on and should be minimized or eliminated in future.
· This can be outlined as time wasting or poor planning.
· Examples of this can be interruptions/distractions, spending time checking unnecessary social media/ taking phone calls or helping with other requests that don’t impact your life/goals.
Unimportant and not urgent items:
· This is anything that doesn’t have to be done anytime soon, nor add value so should be minimized or eliminated.
· These are often trivial time wasters like watching mindless TV, chatting to those you don’t have to and playing video games.
Therefore if you reflect and see most of your tasks are important and have the elements of urgency then you can start planning time for it and for any other tasks you can start to reduce them.
Tip 2 – Plan a week in advance!
Most people just take one day at a time and then wonder where the time went. Living day to day can increase stress and hand over control of your time to external factors. Putting structure into your week by writing what times you are unavailable while making time for life will help to keep you in control. Choose when and how you will complete your tasks. Set aside a day to do this planning. Soon you’ll see the benefit in starting to plan for other tasks like food prep and social outings, too.
Tip 3 – Get a great night sleep every night!
Now if you have a family you are probably thinking, how does that happen? The unfortunate truth is if you are lacking sleep you will ultimately lack focus. Try to set an evening routine and stick to it. Sleep tracking apps are great too! Once you are in a regular routine, you will find yourself benefiting in all areas of your life from quality sleep.
Tip 4 – Prioritise your day at the start of the day!
So often people get lost throughout the day, so taking a few minutes each morning to confirm what tasks you are taking on will have positive impact on your productivity. Categorise for the day as in Tip 1 to check if each task is worthy of your valuable time.
Tip 5 – Once you have thought about the day, lock it in with a list!
Without a list, it's easy to get pulled in different directions throughout the day leaving you unfocused and unproductive. The best thing to do is write your commitments down and have a tick/ cross out system so you can give yourself the feeling of reward as you make progress!
Tip 6 – Avoid multi-tasking
Not many people can truly be effective multi-taskers. If we are trying to be productive we should focus on doing one thing at a time to the best of our ability. If you find yourself taking on too much, it’s best to stop, reassess and try to reduce active tasks.
Tip 7 – Start checking how long you spend chatting, scrolling or on phone calls!
This tip can help you and others around you to be more effective with communication as well. That’s a bonus! Try to start writing notes of what needs to be discussed or put a time limit on chats and phone calls so that you control the conversation and make sure youare using the time efficiently. The best part of this tip is you can enlist the help of those in contact with you so that they can implement the same strategy and make return phone calls better too. Have you ever noticed how much time can be lost scrolling through the socials on our phones? Why not track this for a few days, or even set yourself a time limit to how much time you can spend on social media a day.
Tip 8 – Challenge yourself to get things done ahead of time!
Aim to beat the deadlines you set to create more availability in your schedule or “buffers” for unexpected things that pop up! Celebrate when you smash your deadlines! Over time you will become better at maintaining focus and you’ll notice you’ll get better at managing stressful or unexpected situations. And this can only have a positive impact on all areas of your life!
Tip 9 – Procrastination is no longer part of your vocabulary!
We all have trouble staying focused all of the time, but if you tend to procrastinate you may benefit from having someone hold you to a deadline or by creating mini deadlines for yourself. For instance, schedule time to check throughout the day and see if you are hitting your goals. You might also like to complete the most challenging tasks early in the day, and to allow yourself to do easier/happier tasks later in the day. Try to make things like your meals a social event so you can feel balanced and energised at the same time.
Tip 10 – Review your day!
Spend 5-10 minutes reviewing that Tip 5 list at the end of every day. This could be before you leave work, after dinner or before bed. When you achieved what you wanted, share those accomplishments with someone you respect and who will motivate you! If you believe there could be improvements, decide what you’ll change to better tomorrow’s results. Finish the day happy or determined to improve your time management for a better tomorrow.
Once you have control over your time the best way to apply these tips to your course is to check out your course outline and know how many hours you need to find each week for your study and make sure that is locked in. Remember that we all have the same 24 hours in a day!
You will probably find that during your studies you'll use several different approaches to time management so try to review your time management every two months so you can make any changes that work for you. And you can always ask your Coach for advice, too!