As a contractor, you probably have dozens of projects and tasks going on at once, and even if you have a team of reliable people to assist you, if you don’t know how to manage your time, you can easily get way behind schedule. To help you better manage your time and maximize your productivity, follow these five tips:
Organize your tasks by order of importance. If you have a number of urgent tasks and a few that can wait a few more days, it only makes sense to organize them by urgency. This means sitting down to assess each of your tasks by their levels of importance and urgency. By completing the most vital tasks as soon as possible, you increase your chances of staying on schedule and allowing yourself time to get other, less urgent activities out of the way.
Make a daily and weekly to-do list. A hugely underrated part of time management is taking the time to stop and write down everything that you need to get done. It may seem counterproductive to time management to have to spend valuable time writing down what you need to do, but it will save you time in the long run. You should create a list every day with specific activities and tasks, and a broader list that covers your obligations for the entire week. Each item on the list should include a date or time that you want to complete it by, and any necessary details you need to remember about each task. These lists can either be on paper, put into a calendar, or even in the notes section of your phone. It’s up to you to decide which method works best for you.
Don’t overload yourself with huge tasks. This is unavoidable at times, when multiple clients or projects pile up, but there is a way to accomplish this with ease. When you write out your daily or weekly to-do list, if you happen to have a lot of large tasks all piled up next to each other, split them up with a couple of small, very simple tasks. By completing small tasks more often, you create a mental system of reward as you cross items off your list, which motivates you to continue working.
Get an early start. Starting early doesn’t have to mean starting your day at 4 am or anything ridiculous. But if you have a large, urgent project to attend to, start it in the early. You’re more motivated in the morning, with none of the afternoon drag that is so common, and by finishing your largest task early, you have more time in the day to focus on other projects.
Take frequent breaks. Even on your busiest days, it’s vital that you rest your body and mind during the day. Every hour or so, try to take at least five minutes to either walk around, away from your work, or to do something you enjoy, like playing a phone game or completing a puzzle. By finding a little time to rest your mind, you ultimately focus on your work more effectively and are better equipped to ignore distractions.
Work gets hectic and stressful, especially for contractors with multiple complex projects going on at once. By following these tips, you can learn to manage your time effectively and improve your efficiency.