Whether or not you’re planning to make New Year’s Resolutions, the start of a new year is always a great time to set goals and develop better habits. But for many of us, the demands of daily life soon get in the way, and it can be difficult to find time
to tackle those new goals. Regardless of whether you’re seeking to improve aspects of your career, health, relationships, or another area of your life, managing your time effectively can help ensure that you’re able to accomplish the things that are
important to you.
Here are a few simple time management strategies to keep in mind as you tackle your New Year’s Resolutions:
- The two-minute rule. Have you ever forgotten to do an important yet simple task, such as paying a bill or making an appointment, and felt frustrated when you thought about how quick and easy it would have been to do the task on time? The two-minute
rule can help prevent situations like that. If something will take less than two minutes to complete, just do it now as opposed to adding it to your to-do list. By quickly accomplishing small tasks before they become bigger headaches, you will gain
positive momentum and free up time to focus on more important goals.
- The time management matrix. Popularized by Stephen Covey in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the time management matrix (also called the Eisenhower matrix) offers a simple way to group your tasks in terms of urgency and importance.
To use it, draw a four-quadrant grid: in quadrant one, list the items on your to-do list that are both urgent and important. These are necessities that should be attended to first. In quadrant two, list tasks that are important but not urgent—these
are things that often get postponed, but deserve a higher spot on your list because they are crucial to achieving your broader goals. In quadrant three, list things that are urgent but not important—these are things that often get prioritized because
they are fun or easy to accomplish, but are often just distractions that eat away your time. Take a close look at these items to see what you can eliminate. Finally, in quadrant four, list items that are not urgent and not important. These are generally
time-wasting activities that should be avoided or given less time in your schedule.
- Batching. Often, simple distractions like emails, phone calls, and paperwork can prevent you from accomplishing your more important goals. The batching method suggests grouping similar tasks together and giving them your undivided attention so you can
check them off all at once, without letting them infringe on the time spent on higher-priority tasks.