Most people think that working hard means scurrying from one task to another and this will make them successful one day. They cannot be any further from the truth. In fact, time management is not about being super busy. It is about simplifying your personal and professional life, relieving stress and staying organized.
In other words, you should be able to arrange your commitments in such a way that you get to spend more time embracing your passions even when you are busy. Implementing the following 10 tips will increase your productivity and help you stay organized.
1. Plan Your Day
Why spend your entire day thinking about the next task in line when you can spend a few minutes planning the day? You can either plan your day the night before or do it first thing in the morning. Take 15 minutes out of your schedule at the end of the day before leaving your office or in the morning before heading to the office to make a list of the important tasks. However, some people find it easier to plan their day the night before compared to planning it first thing in the morning.
2. Turn Routine Tasks into Habits
Whether it is a quick morning workout session or something as simple as watering your plants, your daily routine comprises more than a few tasks. So, why not correlate them and turn them into habits? Think of these tasks as computer programs that can help you perform particular activities more effectively and automatically. As a result, you don’t have to set reminders or track the time spent on trivial tasks, which allows you to pay more attention to the most important tasks of the day.
3. Eliminate Distractions
Distractions are the number one cause of time-management failure. They may seem small, but they are potent enough to make you delay even the most important tasks. So, try to eliminate potential time-wasters such as your mobile or iPod from your routine as much as possible. You can turn off your phone during important tasks, allowing yourself to focus your complete attention on your work. Higher concentration means you can finish your task in time.
4. Group Similar Tasks Together
Instead of working your way down your to-do list, grouping similar tasks together will help you save substantial time. This way, your performance can speed up as your mind doesn’t need to switch from one type of task to another. You can use various factors including people, location, tools, and the outcome of the tasks to group related tasks together. For example, checking your email and social media accounts can be done together. You can even set time limits for different tasks and make sure not to spend more than assigned time on that particular task.
5. Use Time Management Tools
Just setting time management goals isn’t going to cut it. You will need to use time management tools or software to identify your time thieves. Take it from someone who uses a digital calendar, you may be shocked to discover how much time you are wasting. Though you will need to invest some time learning to use such a gadget, it will increase your time management skills significantly. Whether it is a loose-leaf binder or an electronic version, buy a time planner today to make time management easier.
6. Learn to Say No
The aim of time management is to learn to make realistic commitments. So, the next time someone asks you for an unrealistic commitment, don’t feel obligated to say “Yes.” Saying yes to every commitment that comes your way can leave you exhausted, stressed and irritable. There goes your vision to improve your quality of life! Instead of improving your productivity, you will be spending hours worrying about how to get out of an already-promised commitment. That’s why it is important to learn to say “No.”
7. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Paying attention to details may be a good thing for you; however, getting too hung up on the small details can delay your tasks considerably. If you continue to sweat the small stuff, you are more likely to miss out on your favorite things. Besides, this habit is also likely to annoy your friends, family members, and colleagues. In other words, you are better off completing the bulk of your task rather than getting hung up on the small things.
8. Take Short Breaks between Tasks
Rushing from one task to another not only jeopardizes your time management efforts, but also degrades your focus and productivity. That’s why you need to allow yourself a short breather between tasks. You can use these short breaks to refresh your mind. Go for a short walk or maybe call your best friend. Whatever you do, just make sure it is relaxing as a relaxed mind can focus better on the task at hand.
9. Learn to Outsource
You can’t possibly take every responsibility upon yourself or preside over every single detail of a project. At some point, you will have to outsource some of your responsibilities. Constantly taking up more work than you can handle will only wear you down, resulting in reduced productivity. It is, therefore, better to find out which tasks you can delegate and relieve yourself of the extra burden.
10. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Last but not least, staying up late to finish your work isn’t going to increase your productivity. On the contrary, the continuous lack of sleep can lead to a variety of chronic health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease. That’s why getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep is essential to keep up with your time management goals. Think of sleep as the fuel your body needs to function properly just like a car needs gas. What happens if it runs out of gas? The car comes to a halt. Similarly, if you don’t get enough sleep, your body will stop functioning optimally eventually.
Contrary to popular belief, rushing from one task to another decreases your productivity, resulting in poor overall time management. You should use your time in a way that your life becomes happier and more manageable. These 10 tried-and-tested tips will help you utilize your time wisely and be productive. Let us know if you have used other ways for better time management in the comments section below.
Brian Zeng is the owner of Ponbee.com. He is an entrepreneur by spirit. Through Ponbee, Brian would like to share his insights on an array of topics related to business, e-commerce, digital marketing and entrepreneurship.