I think you’d agree with me when I say that we women are always busy. It always feels like there’s so much to do but such little time. When your schedule gets intense, it feels like you no longer have control over our lives.
As a fellow woman myself, I felt this too many times. On top of that, my short attention span makes it hard for me to stay focused. Combine this with a crazy schedule and you’ll find me having constant meltdowns.
However, I saw a great improvement in my productivity and mental health after figuring out key time management tips through trial and error. I was suddenly able to finish tasks, read books, and concentrate on one thing at a time.
If I, someone with the attention span of a goldfish, can do it, you can certainly optimize your productivity and focus too.
In this blog post, I want to show you the 17 best time management tips for busy women.
Time Management Tips for Busy Women
1. Use a Bullet Journal or a Planner
I’ve incorporated the bullet journal system and saw many positive changes in my productivity. Although bullet journaling on social media looks time-consuming, it doesn’t have to be that way.
I recommend this method because of its flexibility and ability for customization. Everyone has different preferences and needs — with a bullet journal, you can customize it so it fully accommodates yours.
The bullet journal system helps keep me stay organized and informed. The act of writing out my goals and the steps needed is life-changing. It truly makes organizing your life easy and enjoyable.
If you prefer not having to set anything up, you can always opt for a planner. Just the mere act of writing your tasks out makes you much more likely to complete it.
2. Learn when to say No
As women, we’re expected to do everything that is thrown at us. It can be hard to say no sometimes, as you wouldn’t want to come off as rude or give the impression that you don’t care.
However, we can’t do everything. Setting boundaries is important for your sanity and productivity. Time is our most valuable asset — we can’t be giving it away carelessly. Rather than spending all your time doing things for others, you should prioritize your needs and responsibilities first. Although some might say this is selfish, we need to serve ourselves first before we serve others.
3. Pomodoro Method
This is a method I swear by and use to tackle big tasks. I can’t focus for prolonged periods of time due to my short attention span. This makes finishing big projects difficult.
However, the Pomodoro method is a great solution because it helps break big tasks down to small and achievable chunks.
To do this:
- Use a timer. You can use your smartphone, a watch, whatever works best for you.
- Set your timer for 25 minutes.
- After the first 25-minute interval has passed, set a timer for a 5-minute break.
- Repeat this another 3 times.
- After the fourth interval has passed, give yourself a 20-minute break. Then rinse and repeat.
You can use this method for whatever task: doing chores, doing paperwork, working on your side project, knitting, journaling, reading, literally anything. I found the enforcing this method immediately cut out distractions. I knew there was a reward (the break) coming shortly, so I focused intensely during the 25 minutes.
You can eventually adapt this system to fit your needs. Some people prefer working for longer periods while others might need to start small. Do what’s best for you.
4. Time blocking
Time blocking is a method where you give your tasks a time limit and a time-slot in your schedule. You can time block manually or digitally; doing this will give you a visual representation of what your schedule looks like.
This method prevents procrastination and helps you focus more intensely. An app I suggest using is Google Calendars. You can open it on your laptop, your phone, tablet, wherever, gaining easy access to your blocked out schedule.
5. Pareto’s Principle
Pareto’s principle states that for many events, 20% of our efforts account for 80% of our success. Pinpoint and optimize that 20%.
Learning about what brings you the highest return on investment will help you cut out time-wasting and nonproductive tasks, which gives you more time to do important things that will help you achieve your goals. Utilize your time so you work smarter.
Rather than spending hours working on an insignificant task, you can get more done in a shorter period of time.
6. Have a Morning Routine
Successful people follow a morning routine. A morning ritual will set your day up for success. If you don’t have one now, you can easily start and implement one tomorrow.
I experienced what it’s like not having a morning routine. I remember waking up late and grumpy, feeling rushed to get ready, scrambling to work. By the time my workday started, I was already in a bad mood. This resulted in a decrease in productivity levels.
Avoid this by incorporating some sort of ritual in the morning. It doesn’t have to be intense or complicated. It can consist of journaling, exercising, meditating, reading, eating a good breakfast, and more. Whatever it is, do something that gives you a better start to your day.
7. Outsource your repetitive tasks
At a conference, a woman at an executive level was sharing her experiences. She is a wife and a mother of three children. Juggling her job and her responsibilities as a mother and wife are impossible without sacrifices. If she chose to dedicate more time to doing house chores and housekeeping, she’d fall behind on her job and time with her children.
Because of this, she started to outsource those jobs. Her stress went down and she was able to perform better at work. In addition, she now has more quality time to spend with her children. She now has extra time to spend on things that are important to her.
You might not have the funds for this yet, but when possible, outsource your less important tasks. This is a tip I hear all the time from successful individuals.
If you don’t have the funds, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re a mother who’s busy all the time, maybe ask your spouse or your kids to help you with appropriate tasks.
Handling everything yourself is a difficult and tiring task. Your time is valuable and it should be spent on the things that matter the most to you.
Do you ever find yourself jumping from one task to another? You get small bits done here and there, but at the end of the day, you never finished anything. This is a result of not having an understanding of what needs to be done first and when.
To prevent this, prioritize your tasks. What are the things that need to get done first? Put that at the top of your list. Save less important tasks for later.
Most importantly, focus on each task individually. It has been proven that multitasking negatively impacts your productivity. (source) Prioritize you first and the rest will fall into place.
9. Reassess and Review Performance
Be sure to take the time to reassess your performance. This will help you decide what methods are working and which ones are not.
After getting this data, implement more of what’s working and eliminate the unproductive activities. As you continue on your time management journey, you will constantly refine the way you go about time management until you find something that works for you.
10. Declutter. Eliminate Distractions
You wouldn’t believe how much time this simple step saves you. I am quite a messy individual. Because of that, my focus tends to shift around, especially in a messy environment. Messy environments tend to make us feel uneasy, unfocused, and ultimately, unproductive. (source)
Having a clean space allows you to better focus on the task at hand. When you eliminate the distractions and the clutter, you then have a lot more space to breathe and focus.
11. Use reminders
We are loaded with tons of information every day. There are hundreds of things we need to remember: errands, work tasks, house chores, bills, birthdays, deadlines, and much more.
This is where reminders come into the picture. With the iPhone, you can ask Siri to remind you to do a certain task and a certain time. This will then be added to your reminders. Rather than having a to-do list that you might forget about, the reminder app will remind you what you have to do and when.
The reminders app is like your personal secretary – it keeps you on task and reminds you of your upcoming appointments. In addition, you can color-code tasks, set priorities, and customize it however you wish.
If you don’t have an iPhone, Google Calendar provides the same service as well. With this function set up, you’ll never forget to do something.
12. Distraction Log
Something I find useful is a distraction log. Basically, it’s a log where you list down everything that distracts you. Use this log when you’re working on a project or a task. This log will hold you accountable for staying focused.
How to create a Distraction Log:
- Get a piece of paper or use a spread in your journal
- List out the things you might get distracted by. It could be your phone, social media, texting, boredom, fidgeting, etc.
- On the piece of paper, create columns for your distractions.
- While working, leave your log beside you. When you feel the urge to reach for a distraction, document it in the log.
Not only will this keep you accountable, but it will better inform you of your key distractions and time drainers.
13. Take Breaks
Some people might view breaks as a waste of time, but not taking any can hurt you in the long-run. Burn out is very real. If you constantly push yourself without taking a break, you’ll inevitably reach a point of exhaustion.
I realized that being on a 24/7 grind was tiring me out. After a certain point, I wasn’t being productive anymore. I was not only less productive but less motivated as well. When you’re burned out, it feels impossible to get yourself to do work. I’m sure the overachievers here can relate.
It sometimes takes weeks to months to recover from burnout. To prevent that from happening, be sure to take appropriate breaks. I enjoy taking walks or drinking a latte and winding down. Do whatever makes you feel refreshed.
14. Automate Tasks
If you don’t have the resources to outsource, assess your tasks to see what you can automate. For example, instead of spending 3o minutes paying your bills, turn your autopay on so it takes care of itself.
When it comes to chores, many new technology devices help automate this, such as the robot vacuumers, home timers, and more.
You can also use apps to help you with this, such as Google Calendars, budget trackers, health and fitness apps, and more. You now have more time by automating tasks that might have taken you a few hours to do.
15. Get specific about the tasks you have to do
To help crack on with things faster, list out the specifics of what you have to do. Breaking tasks down into procedural steps will encourage you to take action sooner.
The reason why it takes me longer to start a task is that I don’t know what to do or where to start. Before you start your day, allot some time for you to break down your tasks into these actionable steps. This will save you a lot of time in the long run.
16. Dedicate a space that’s only for work
Create a space that is solely for work. An optimal workspace should allow you to get away from distractions and to focus better. In this space, the only thing you should focus on in this space is work. Here is where you’ll be away from the house chores that need to be done and more.
Another benefit of this is to create a healthy separation between work and leisure. When you’re done with work, you can leave everything in that dedicated space, fully enjoying your time and breaks.
17. Make use of “Dead Time”
Dead-time is the time where you’re not doing anything productive. It is different from a break, as a break is intentionally planned out. Examples of dead-time might include your commute to work, the time where you’re waiting for your meeting or appointment, waiting for your system to update so you can do work, etc.
To make use of your dead-time, you have to first pinpoint where they are in your day. After, brainstorm ways you can use that time to better yourself and get closer to achieving your goals.
Personally, I enjoy listening to educational podcasts during my three-hour commute to work. You can also listen to audiobooks, reply to emails, learn a new language while doing certain tasks. How can you effectively use these pockets of free time to better yourself?
Overall, it’s crucial to find what works for you. I recommend that you try out some of the time management tips from this list to see what works and what doesn’t. If you see that some of these tips work for you, find a way to seamlessly implement it into your life.
Manage your days on your own terms. Prioritize you first, because this is your life.
If you enjoyed this blog post, please share it for others to see. It helps us out a lot. In the comments, tell us your favorite time-saving tips and strategies.