6 techniques to help better manage your time

Time management is one of the most difficult things to get your head round as a designer. Deadlines looming, working from home with distractions, family commitments, clients requesting amendments... it can all get a bit much. 

While there are many techniques to managing one's time, I find that the simple approach works best - at least for me. But works for me may not work for another, plus, things change, so being able to adapt to any situation is important. With that in mind, let's take a look at some ways to help you beat procrastination and better manage your time.

01. Use a calendar

Whether you opt-in on a digital calendar, like Google Calendar, or you prefer to go old school and use a daily planner or wall calendar, there really is no better way to help manage your time.

Remember, though, it takes time to keep it up-to-date, and you need to be diligent in checking it daily. Up until recently, I used a wall calendar. However, I discovered that a digital calendar offered me a lot more options – like daily reminders and the ability to always have it with me.

02. Make a to-do list

Use a to-do list to help prioritise your daily tasks

Use a to-do list to help prioritise your daily tasks

Okay, I won't lie... I'm not a list maker. To be honest, to-do lists intimidate me; but many people absolutely swear by them. To-do lists are a great way to keep track of what you need to do each day. If you write down the estimated time for each task, this information is really handy in helping you prioritise them.

03. Delegate

Asking others for assistance is okay. Repeat: it's okay! When you delegate, you're actually managing your time in one of the most efficient ways possible. Granted, you can't delegate everything, but take a look at your task list; is there anything o that someone else can do for you? More importantly, is there anyone who can do it more efficiently? If so, consider delegating that task so you're free to work on other things.

04. Understand the power of yes and no

'Yes' and 'No' are a powerful words. In fact, did you know that you can't use one without using the other? That's right! Every time you say 'yes' to one thing, you're saying 'no' to another.

Time is not infinite. We only have so much of it before the sun sets at the end of the day. Be selective in what you agree to do. Understand that saying 'no' is perfectly acceptable.

05. Take breaks, often

Manage your time better 6

Get out and relax! There's always time to de-stress

At some point, you need to recharge yourself. If you're like me, you'll forget that even the most productive person needs a break. I once attended a conference where James Dempsey spoke about going AFK (away from keyboard) and taking time for yourself and for your family. His touching story about the relationship between him and his dad was something I needed to hear. Now, because of his talk, I take more time for myself and my family. The picture above was taken during one of my breaks.

06. Use software to help

Manage your time better 7

Many apps have been designed to help you to control and monitor your time

I mentioned calendars and to-do lists, but this article would be remiss if I didn't provide a few options for how to manage them. While this list is certainly not all inclusive, it will give you a starting point.

  1. Fantastical: An excellent way to manage your calendar. I use it to keep my personal appointments in order. 
  2. Trello: I use this every day to keep my tasks in order – everything I'm working on gets a Trello Board. I can share my boards with other team members so we can all participate in getting the job done.
  3. Google Keep: A fantastic, easy-to-use list app. Use this through its website via the iOS or Android App.

Managing your time isn't easy, especially when you have a lot to do, or a lot of people counting on you. It can run even the strongest person into the dirt. But with a little structure and maybe some digital help, even the busiest person can be happy and productive.

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Tammy Coron

Tammy is an independent creative professional, author of Apple Game Frameworks and Technologies, and the maker behind the AdventureGameKit – a custom SpriteKit framework for building point and click adventure games. As an innovative problem solver and industry leader, Tammy enjoys working on projects from content creation – including books, tutorials, videos, and podcasts – to the design and development of cross-platform applications and games. For Creative Bloq, she has written about an array of subjects, including animation, web design and character design.