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25 Time-Management Tricks I Wish I Had Known In My 20s

My parents have always told me, “Work smarter, not harder.” While you physically cannot add more hours to each day (believe me, I’ve tried) you can make the time you’re awake more efficient and less stressful.

Whether you’re a college student taking 20 credit hours, a working mother, or a recent grad that just can’t seem to get it together, these 25 tips will help you better manage your time.

  1. There is always time for fun, you just need to prioritize what needs to get done each day. If the cleaning the bathroom can wait until tomorrow, let it wait!
  2. There will be days when you think you can rule the world. Get a lot done on those days, so you you’re not stressed when you have not-so-productive days.
  3. Time-block a few hours in your day so no one disturbs you and you can actively focus on super important projects, interruption free.
  4. “Done is better than perfect” – Facebook
  5. Group & accomplish related tasks in the workday – then your mind won’t jump around as much.
  6. Start everyday with small, easy to accomplish/knock out tasks.
  7. If you can answer that email in less than 2 minutes, stop what your doing and get it done.
  8. When cooking, clean the dishes as you go. I know, not related to work, but so satisfying.
  9. Schedule important meetings early in the day- getting them over with will make the rest of your day more productive.
  10. Make a to-do list everyday. After you write down the quick check-off items (answer last night’s emails, check XYZ, etc) write down the most important thing you need to do that day – then do them first.
  11. Set priorities, set deadlines and be ruthless about sticking to them.
  12. When assigned tasks, always ask, “When would you like this by?” That can help you determine your priorities and what is important vs. urgent.
  13. On that note, not everything that is important is urgent, and vice versa.
  14. For 1 week, write down everything you do -and I mean everything. Then see where there’s room for improvement in your day.
  15. If someone can do the work 75% as well as you can, delegate it.
  16. Organize and tidy up your desk at the end of every week so you’re ready to rock and roll Monday morning.
  17. Understand when you’re most productive in the day. For me, it’s between 7:00-11:00am. I try to get my most demanding tasks done then.
  18. You can’t be awesome at everything all at once. Pick 1 thing to improve upon each month and focus on it for 30 minutes a day.
  19. Whether it be a phone call, an unexpected meeting, or chat with your boss, anticipate you’ll get interrupted at least a few times per day.
  20. Put your phone down. Facebook/Twitter/SnapChat can wait for an hour.
  21. Try and set your meetings for 30 minutes (instead of an hour) so it forces you and your team to be as efficient as possible.
  22. And don’t attend a meeting unless you are actively contributing to the conversation. Most often, projects need doers, not more opinions to bog it down.
  23. Learn when to say “no.” Only take on projects you know you have time for and are passionate about.
  24. Simplify things that are in your control – like your wardrobe and what you’re going to eat. Setting out clothes the night before and packing a lunch are two things I do every night.
  25. When I have a lot of uninterrupted work to get done, I’ll work at home for the day. If your company supports a flexible work environment, try it yourself and see how much you can accomplish.