Time Management Tips To Help You Plan Out Your Day

The above picture is of 4 stopwatches and the message underneath them say Time Management.

Time Management Tips To Help You Plan Out Your Day

Almost half of the unemployed disabled population reported at least one disability-related obstacle that has made finding a job difficult. For some, this might be a lack of reliable transportation. For others, it could be a lack of accommodations like wheelchair ramps or screenreaders in the workplace. 

However, there's one factor that we don't talk about enough: time management. When you're living with a disability, much of your time and energy is spent meeting your needs or managing your symptoms. This could make something like an eight-hour workday (or even applying for jobs) next to impossible.

Are there time management skills that can help you to stay focused and complete your work tasks? The answer is yes.

While it may not be a one-size-fits-all process, we're here to share time management tips that could help. Read on to learn more.

Establish a Better Sleep Schedule

What does your sleep schedule have to do with time management? For starters, you're going to need to get a good night's rest to make the most of your working hours and give your brain the energy it needs to stay focused. Plus, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can make it much easier to create a consistent routine.

If you're a bedtime procrastinator, try putting your phone away fifteen minutes earlier and turning off your light fifteen minutes earlier. If you suddenly try to go to bed or wake up several hours earlier than what you're used to, you may struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep. An incremental change will make it possible to adjust your sleep schedule to get a consistent eight hours and wake up early enough to get your day moving. 

Set SMART Goals

If you've never heard of SMART goals, it's time to get to know them. SMART is an acronym that stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

How do SMART goals work in action? Imagine that your boss wants you to turn in a written report about the state of your industry by the end of the week. When you're staring at a blank page, this can seem intimidating.

By breaking up the report into daily SMART goals, you can keep your pace moving and complete your work without burning out. For example, Monday's task might be gathering the statistics and outside sources you need. Tuesday's goal might be outlining your report and plugging in your research to make sure that you have all of the sources you need.

The idea is to break up your work into individual goals that you can identify and complete in a set amount of time.

Make Multiple To-Do Lists

Oftentimes, we start our day by making a to-do list. The problem is that we tend to put every task that comes to mind on one list, requiring that we then sift through the list to pick the next thing to do. When we spend all of this time trying to figure out what to do next, we can end up experiencing decision fatigue and wasting valuable time and energy on indecisiveness.  

This is where the 4D system comes in handy. The 4D system breaks up your to-do list into the following categories:

  • Do
  • Delegate
  • Defer
  • Delete/drop

In other words, once you write out that never-ending list, you take a second look at it and divide the tasks based on things like urgency and necessity. That way, you can meet the day's requirements on time and only take a swing at those less urgent tasks if time and energy permit you to. (Plus, you can stop losing time to unnecessary tasks or tasks that could be better handled by someone else.)

Leave Multitasking in the Past

We live in an age of distractions and pressure. We're distracted by things like our smartphones and inboxes and pressured by what is sometimes referred to as "grind culture." As a result, it can feel like we're always trying to do several things at once.

The truth is that when you're multitasking, you're only giving a portion of your attention to your priorities. This can lead you to do subpar work. It can also make quick tasks take much longer because you're stopping and starting what you're doing.

It's time to focus on one thing at a time. Consider putting your phone on silent or on "Do Not Disturb" mode and hiding it away in a desk drawer or coat pocket. Resist the urge to open an extra tab to look at your email or look something up if it doesn't relate directly to completing the task at hand. 

Take Frequent Breaks

Resisting the urge to multitask is difficult, especially when it's new to you. As a disabled employee, getting through hours of work without taking a break may not be ideal for your health. For both of these reasons, consider taking frequent breaks.

One way to do this is to use the Pomodoro method. Set a timer for 25 minutes and work without distraction. When that timer goes off, set another one for 5 minutes and use that time to indulge in your distractions or take care of your mental or physical needs.

Repeat this timeline three times and then take a longer break by setting your timer for 15 minutes. By taking frequent breaks, you can slow things down and pay more attention to your mind and body. You can also avoid burnout, which will make getting through the entire workweek much easier. 

Find Time Management Skills That Fit Your Needs

The best time management tips are the ones that work for you. Try these different methods to plan your day until you find habits that stick. 

Are you looking for more employment tips and help for disabled workers? Take a look at our blog and create an account to start getting matched with the jobs that are right for you.