Tips for an effective time management strategy

Nicole Avery is a self-proclaimed planning queen. Between running her household, training for marathons, writing her blog, Planning with Kids, and taking care of her five children, she has to be organised. 

“When you have a to-do-list that is as long as your arm, you can get hit by paralysis – not doing anything because you don't even know where to start!”

That's why she finds it so important her organise and manage her time well.

“Every time I start to feel overwhelmed with my workload, I like to reflect on it and assess what decisions I need to make about my time”.

Organised desk with laptop

Nicole Avery's five time management steps 

Nicole suggests following five simple steps when it comes to planning your time: know what you want, create routines, recognise distractions, enjoy your free time, and be disciplined.

She believes defining your priorities is the first step to good time management. She says you have to ask yourself, “What do you want to achieve and do with your time?”

The multitasking mother defines specific goals for herself in key areas of her life, writes them down and shares them with her family and friends. 

She believes defining and prioritising her goals makes them more tangible and keeps her accountable. Managing the schedules of her children - aged 6, 8, 11, 13 and 16 - is no easy task, so routine is key.

“Routines can work just as well for adults in making the day run smoother and help organise your time more efficiently,” Nicole says. Regularly scheduling tasks throughout the day guarantees she'll remember them. 

It also means she can better avoid time-consuming distractions, like Pinterest.

“I love it and find it relaxing to look at all the inspiration, [but] a quick look on my iPhone can easily turn into thirty minutes”.

Her compromise is to allow herself 15 minutes after lunch to browse the site. To keep herself in check, she sets an alarm and finishes up once it goes off.

To do list

Throughout the week, she also gives herself time to do something she loves, without worrying about the “fifteen other things on her to-do list”.

“You are far more likely to be productive when you are happy and enjoying yourself”.
During that time, she frees herself from distractions – particularly phone and other devices.

“[Doing that] allows you to better focus on the task at hand.”

Nicole believes having discipline is the biggest motivator of good time management. 

Laptop and notepadBeing disciplined allows her to actively work towards her goals, stick to her routine, and gives her more power to say ‘no' when she is asked to commit to too many things. 

It's her mantra in a nutshell: “You don't need more time, you just need to decide”.

1Fieldwork conducted by Symphony Analytics & Research on behalf of Officeworks in June 2015.