Have you ever noticed that the clock seems to tick along faster when you’re late? Of course, we all know that really isn’t the case because time is a constant.
Regardless, when you’re always running behind you might almost wish for time to stand still. Since that isn’t possible the other option is to change something to save time.
What’s great is that there are lots of things you can do to go from always behind to on time.
1. Reset Your Routine
When you’re out of sorts and stressed it’s easy to get out of your regular groove. But a great way to get back to being on time is to reset your normal routine.
Reset yourself both at home and work and you’ll feel calmer and more in control. Better yet, you’ll start running on time again instead of being late for everything.
2. Get Plenty of Sleep
Believe it or not, simply getting enough sleep can have a remarkable effect on time management. When you aren’t rested you move about the day sluggishly.
Everything you do takes longer which only adds to the problem of being behind. If you want to get back on track, get some sleep. You’ll find yourself flying through your day with greater ease.
3. Draw the Line
Nobody can say yes to every request they get whether personal or professional. You just can’t be all things to all people because eventually you’ll get behind at home, work, or both.
Learn to say “no” when you need to. Remember, you can always provide alternative solutions to the requestor.
4. Make a “To Do” List
One way to go from always behind to on time is to make a “to do” list. It doesn’t really matter if you use a pen and paper or a block scheduling system on your computer. Use the method that suits you best.
Making a list helps you prioritize what needs to be done first. This will help you get projects done on time so you’re not always behind.
5. Watch Out for Time Wasters
Most of us have things we do throughout the day that take up valuable time but don’t gain us anything. If you want to go from always behind to on time you’ll need to identify and eliminate the time wasters.
As an example, I turned off my cable a few years ago. I still watch TV occasionally through Netflix and Hulu. But as a general rule, I have better things to do with my time.
6. Pre-Plan Meals and Clothes
Pre-planning meals and clothes is another thing that helps me stay on time for meetings, appointments, and other events.
I lay out clothing at home the night before so I don’t waste time the next morning choosing my attire. Meal planning on the weekends also helps me make meals faster throughout the week.
7. Avoid Perfectionism
Avoiding perfectionism doesn’t mean you should stop trying to do your best. Instead, the idea is to quit nitpicking everything you do to try and make it absolutely perfect.
To go from always behind to on time you should do a good job and move on to the next task at hand. Otherwise you risk wasting time by redoing what you’ve already done several times over.
8. Figure in Downtime
You may not think downtime or a vacation can keep you from getting behind in work. However, we all need a break now and then to avoid burnout and recharge, so to speak.
If you are running behind, examine your work load and work habits. You might be surprised to see that tasks are taking longer than they should. This is a sign you need a break from work.
9. Request Help
It isn’t easy to ask for help when you need it. When you’re behind, though, it is a way to catch up, get back on track, and be on time.
Don’t be afraid to ask friends or family if they can pitch in when you really need it. Most will be glad to lend a helping hand at home so you can go from behind to on time.
10. Allow Extra Time
As you schedule events in your calendar make sure you allow extra time between them. You may need time to get to and from meetings even if they are in the same building.
Also, consider time for a quick break between meetings and travel time for out of town events.
11. Switch to Part-Time
Switching to part-time work instead of full-time might be another way to go from always behind to on time. Certainly that won’t be an option for everyone since some people can’t afford to cut back their paycheck.
Still, it might not make as much of a difference financially as you think. Consider the higher price of convenience foods and take-out due to a lack of time. More money for a sitter or commuting should be figured in as well.
But once you run the numbers you might find you can work part-time and stop always being behind.
12. Train or Hire a Back-up
Another way to save time so you aren’t always running behind is to train or hire a back-up at work. Granted, you may not have the authority to make that decision if you’re not the boss.
But if you do, it’s another way to stop being behind all the time and reduce your stress levels.
13. Set-Up a Website
Did you know having a website can help you save time? Creating a website allows your customers to shop for products or services online instead of by phone. It also helps them get answers to their questions easily.
If you’re always on the phone and always running behind, consider this opportunity to change that.
14. Close the Door
Ensuring that you are accessible to staff or clients is important. But at times you need to be able to work without distractions.
The solution is as simple as setting strict office hours or closing the door on your office. Carrying out these small steps can take you from always behind to on time.
15. Use Agendas for Meetings
Taking the time to make a simple meeting agenda can make you more productive and save time. The few minutes it takes to create an agenda can pay off in greater time savings during meetings.
Agendas allow the meeting facilitator to keep the meeting flowing and stay on topic. They also provide guidance for guest speakers and meeting attendees.
16. Work in Groups of Tasks
Clearly you can only do one thing at a time. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t do similar tasks one after another. In fact, this is a more efficient way of working and saves time.
Because your brain doesn’t have to reset between tasks you work faster. This method of batching tasks may prevent you from falling behind in your work.
17. Find Shortcuts
There are lots of shortcuts that could speed up your work but you may not know about them. When you get into a routine you do certain things the same way over and over. But you may not realize keyboard shortcuts, templates, and other changes could replace some parts of your work.
Always be on the lookout for shortcuts that could speed up your work processes.
There’s only so much any of us can do in a day. But if you want to go from always behind to on time, try some of these ideas. They may be just what you need to improve your productivity and work performance.
Originally posted here.