Not everyone has problems with time. There are a lot of people out there who have absolutely no problems with managing their schedules and do all that on instinct. Well, we are not here to talk about them. They are probably mutants, and while we can respect them, we can’t really identify with them. Most of my friends, including me, are quite lost when it comes to our schedules and time management. Now, being that we are in our 20s, we are a bit worried about what happens when we pass that 29 mark and step into our 30s.
We all know that that’s when things get a bit more serious in life, so I decided to do a bit of research in order to see how people in their 30s handle their obligations and keep their schedules tight.
1. Prioritize your obligations
It seems that when you are in your 30s, you really have to focus on getting things done in proper order, otherwise you might end up wasting your energy on less important things. If you do not prioritize and decide which tasks are important and which can wait, your work day is going to end up being much longer and, ultimately, less productive.
2. Adjust your schedule to fit you
People in their 20s are just starting their careers, in a lot of cases grabbing any job they can get their hands on and lack any real control over their schedules. The longer you work, though, the more control you have over your work and your schedule, meaning that you can adjust your work hours and schedule based on your personal preference. In your 30s, you know your job well and want to make progress; you don’t have the time to be unproductive due to a schedule that doesn’t work for you.
3. Don’t sacrifice sleep
This one is universal, but it seems that younger people can handle much more sleep deprivation without losing so much of their focus and energy. Sure, it is difficult to do your job when you are tired, but the older you get, the less you can take it. If time management is problematic for you, you have to establish a healthy sleeping pattern so you can focus on finishing all your obligations on time.
4. Small things waste a lot of time
When we are younger, we are scared of big obligations and commitments like getting a job, getting married, leading a project, and similar things. People who have entered their 30s would probably trade the thousands of micro tasks that they have on their plate for your trepidation of big obligations. In order to keep your schedule clean and tidy, you are going to have to find a way to organize your day in such a way that you can get rid of those pesky little tasks in bulk.
5. Separate your workload into different types
Juggling different types of obligations during your day can destroy your efficiency. The reason why this is so important to realize in your 30s has a lot to do with the fact that your outside-of-work obligations become more numerous. Mindless automatic tasks become more frequent, along with the creative and inspiring work that you do. If you wish to have some time to yourself at the end of your day, it might be smart to focus on one type of work first and then on the other in order to avoid adjusting to them each time you switch.
6. Always leave a little extra time
For one, kids are very unpredictable and can cost you more than a couple of minutes more than you expected. Parents are having more and more trouble keeping up with their kids. Still, even if you don’t have kids, keeping a schedule very tight can make the whole thing fall apart by forgetting to take care of just one item on it. Give yourself time to breathe in-between tasks.
7. Avoid dragging yesterday into today
People in their 30s know that if they bring some leftover tasks from the previous day, they are going to have one hell of a day the day after. Clean up your schedule if you want to have a normal schedule tomorrow. Things that drag on tend to destroy your carefully populated itinerary.
8. Separate big obligations into actionable chunks
Some tasks may seem like climbing a mountain. When a big task is put in front of a twenty year old, he/she will start despairing about how to handle something that big. People in their 30s are aware that things take time and that you need to take it step by step. Identify the small steps you will need to take in order to complete the tasks.
9. Keep your plans realistic
Another rookie mistake made by people in their 20s when it comes to time management is being overly ambitious and hyped when making a plan. No matter how motivated you are at the moment you are making your schedule, you need to be realistic about what you can actually accomplish, or you might end up in quite a mess, choosing the lesser evil tomorrow.
10. Use your work hours properly
People in their 30s are, in most cases, married and have kids. You don’t have the time to tie up loose ends at home anymore by merely cutting into your leisure time. So keep fighting procrastination and do your work in due time.
11. Set deadlines
We can all plan things out, but unlike the vague, I’ll-do-it-when-I-get-to-it type of plans twenty-something people make, thirty-something people know that this is a sure way to get into a situation where you have more obligations than time and energy. Don’t just make a note that you need to do something, give yourself a deadline. It helps a lot. The first time I heard about this approach was when I was researching how to become a blogger. The most experienced bloggers advised setting deadlines for yourself, otherwise you might lose a battle to procrastination.
12. Stop thinking and start doing
Bruce Lee once said: “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” People in their 20s tend to think about each and every individual thing and how it impacts their lives, and they should. People in their 30s are a bit more occupied and don’t have the time to contemplate the philosophical value of each and every task. Do it first, think about it later, if you have the time.
13. Don’t be a perfectionist
Not everything you do needs to be a work of art. Make things work, don’t do everything to provoke awe and admiration. This kind of perfectionistic approach is going to frustrate you and waste a bunch of your time and energy. This is important to realize in your 30s because your obligations are piling up, and you will not have the time to retain this kind of approach. Put in that extra effort when it matters, do a decent job when nothing more is required from you.
14. Ask for help on time
Bravado and all-nighters are reserved for amateurs and younger people. If you can’t manage to do something and you realize that you are going to fail to meet a deadline, ask for assistance on time! Thirty something people are experienced enough to know that asking for help is no big deal, but failing to meet the deadline can be.
15. Use the zone when you are in it
Nobody is super productive all the time. However, when you hit that productivity sweet spot, try to manage as much as you can. The more you do now, the less you need to do later. Ride the wave for as long as you can so you can chill out later and take your time. These moments are not as common as we would like them to be, and if you are in your 30s, you should be aware of this and how much these moments can shave off your workload by now. Use them wisely!
I hope these were an eye-opening experience for you, as they were for me. There are tons more, but each schedule is different and generalizing tips can be quite dangerous. However, all of the above are pretty much universal for people in their 30s. Good luck!