Time is what we want most, but what we use worst, William Penn.
Preserve your creative horsepower for things that actually matter, Tim Ferris.
You may want to consider the following guidelines that could guide you to a more effective management of your time:
Define clearly and write down your goals and agenda and share it with someone: your partner, your best friend, etc.
Make sure all or most of your short-term, specific, and measurable goals are achieved on a regular basis.
Are you stressed out? Review your agenda and get rid of non-essential tasks.
How can you remove or cut out non-essential tasks?
Sometimes, we are too perfectionist regarding tasks that are not essential at all. Perhaps, urgent but unimportant tasks should be done quickly and at a moment of the day when your energy levels is low and your brain is not fresh. Always give them a small amount of your time. Consider that your time is precious and you have to organize it according to your priorities.
In general, do not complete a task as well as you can but as well as is required. You should consider: what results, costs, and standards of quality are expected, how many human and material resources are available, and their scheduled date.
Life is not about working harder and harder, but about being smarter, more productive and effective. Besides, avoid wasting your time: check your email once or twice a day; implement time limits on your instant messaging apps and social media, avoid meetings without a clear purpose and getting too much information.
You could multitask unimportant jobs, too. For example, you could take a call (be careful, avoid distractions while driving) or learn a foreign language while you are commuting to work, walking the dog, cleaning the house or making supper.
Delegate tasks to your subordinates, children, etc. or just learn to say no. Delegation is an “art”, not a science that we all need to master and it requires:
Define clearly the task or tasks. Be clear and direct about it, the expected outcome, conditions, resources, review dates and deadlines.
Select the most suitable person to undertake it and give him or her the necessary authority to be able to do it.
Train the person/s and commit to being available to answer doubts or questions, give them the information about how to do it, the reasons why the task is being delegated, and the tools and resources they need to complete it successfully. Be sure to show them support and trust whatever path they choose to take.
Give them autonomy and empowerment. It is about giving them enough flexibility to do their job their own way. They should have the capacity to make their own decisions. This is not in contradiction to providing them with positive and constructive feedback in a timely manner, to offering them your own ideas and advice.
Review and monitor their results. Delegating does not mean losing control, it is still up to you to make sure that every task is done correctly and on time.
Thank them and recognize publicly their efforts when they get the job done right and on time.
Delegation is not only a must for you (so you can make the best use of your time and skills), it is also essential for your children, employees, etc. It allows them to grow and be autonomous. It also increases their confidence and self-esteem.
Control how you deal and communicate with people. For example, you may lose too much time texting, talking on the phone or using instant messaging when setting up interviews or meetings. Use pre-written email templates or productivity apps.
Do not overload your agenda by attempting to do too much. Be sure to have free spaces in your schedule. Leave some room for the unexpected and you will have a better chance of weathering the storm. A very busy schedule does not only affect your overall health and wellbeing, but it will have a negative impact on your productivity, the quality of your results, and personal relationships.
Review your planning: Have you achieved the goals that you set out to achieve? How could you improve your productivity/automate or delegate some tasks? Have you had enough time for interpersonal meaningful relationships?