It’s been 24 hours. You have the same number of hours in a day as you have in the past. However, it may not always feel that way when life is more chaotic and demanding than it has ever been.
Time is more valuable than ever, and with it comes the capacity to be productive and effective at work. Because you can’t add additional hours to your day, you’ll need to figure out how to make the most of what you have.
Do you wish you could have more than 24 hours? Here are ten time-management ideas that will help you get more done at work.
1. Define Your Mission
The first step in time management is to define your purpose. You must first learn to set goals before you can learn to successfully manage your time. And you need a big-picture grasp of your mission to nail down the “why” that propels your “what” before you can set goals that make sense.
Begin by creating a personal mission statement that explains not just what you want to do, but also why you want to accomplish it. Consider the following scenario: you want to start selling tacos.
That’s a fantastic (and delectable) objective. But what really is your mission? To provide joy to others? In order to bring them together? To commemorate your ancestors?
Defining your mission helps you stay on track to setting smarter goals, which will help you be more productive.
2. Set Time to Rest
As humans, we become most productive when we have rested properly, and this is a proven fact! Always set a time to rest and take it very seriously. Do not overwork yourself without taking intervals to rest, that is why most companies have lunch breaks.
It doesn’t have to be a long period, but take your time to calm your body and mind. Moreover, it helps to increase productivity.
3. Pinpoint How You Currently Use Your Time
How productive do you consider yourself to be? What is the level of quality in your work? Until you quantify those queries with actual data, they’re just questions. You’ll need a clear picture of where your time is going currently to figure out what needs to change in your routine (and, eventually, how to become more effective).
Begin by setting aside a week to “audit” your time, hour by hour, in a notebook or spreadsheet. You might discover, for example, that you spend a lot more time on social media than you imagined or that you waste too many minutes per day pondering what to write in an email.
When you compare how you now use your time to how things are going, you’ll be able to see how well things are doing.
4. Ration Your Energy
Another useful time management strategy is to regulate your energy. According to hustle culture, the most effective employees are up before the crack of dawn and already in deep flow by sunrise.
However, for every company CEO who gets to work at 4 a.m., there is another who is still sound sleeping (and who actually needs the shuteye to do their job well).
The secret to effective time management is to avoid sacrificing sleep in the name of efficiency. It’s to figure out when you’re most motivated to get things done during the day (or evening!) and then schedule your work appropriately.
So, think about when you’re most energized, but keep in mind that obtaining results doesn’t always need energizing yourself. When do you feel the most inspired and creative? When are you at your sharpest?
If you’re most alert in the late morning hours after breakfast and coffee, schedule your most critical and difficult tasks during that time. When, on the other hand, do you feel the most exhausted? For that time period, save pointless administrative activities. You’ll not only get more done in less time, but you’ll also get better results.
5. Plan Ahead
If you don’t plan, you’re planning to fail. That idea is why I organize my workweek every Sunday afternoon. I take out my favorite notepad and pen, sit down at my dining room table or at my home office, and make a list of everything I need to get done in a given week. Then, for each goal, I break it down into particular, time-bound actions.
Macro-level planning allows me to maintain my goals in the forefront of my mind so that I can stay on track and achieve a larger goal. Micro-level planning for specific activities is also critical since it saves you from wasting time on projects and tasks that do not contribute to your overall aim.
Make a list of talking topics and goals you want to achieve before you go into a meeting, for example. The direction will help you stay focused on the bigger picture and save you the minutes or hours you need to get things done.
6. Minimize Distractions
Distractions make it difficult to be productive and manage time. However, setting up your laptop in a quiet location isn’t the only solution. It’s all about removing mental distractions—the “work” that takes up mental space but doesn’t add to your overall productivity.
These attention-suckers are referred to as “half work” by James Clear, author of Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Habits.
Let’s imagine you’re working on a presentation and you need to check your email every few minutes. It feels like work since you have to read and respond to emails as part of your job.
However, according to Clear, it is also a significant time drain.
“Regardless of where and how you fall into the trap of half-work, the result is always the same: you’re never fully engaged in the task at hand, you rarely commit to a task for extended periods of time, and it takes you twice as long to accomplish half as much.”
When you have a limited amount of time, concentrate on focusing. Remove the minor interruptions that interrupt your flow and keep your thoughts focused on what truly needs your attention.
7. Avoid Multitasking
You might feel like you’re making the most of your time when you’re juggling many things at once, whether you’re responding to an email while on the phone or moving back and forth between projects. But, if you’re anything like me, the more mental “tabs” you have open, the less time you have to concentrate on each one.
Why is multitasking a time management killer? Toggling between multiple jobs at once, according to experts, expends energy on the act of switching gears rather than the tasks at hand. Worse, while you’re juggling multiple responsibilities, you’re not focused, which means you’ll never achieve the state of “flow” that’s necessary for productivity.
Switching back and forth between tasks wastes time and effort because your attention is diverted by the act of switching gears—plus, you never fully immerse yourself in either activity.
8. Consider “Future You”
Today’s choices have an impact on tomorrow’s events, and time management is no exception. How you spend your minutes and hours has a long-term impact because it reduces the amount of time you have available in the future to complete other tasks and, more significantly, to take breaks and rest.
So, if you’re having trouble organizing your time, look ahead to your future self.
Consider how what you’re doing now will help or impede you in the future to sharpen your attention and broaden your understanding of how your choices will affect you in the future. You’d probably like to study time management ideas now so that you can use them in the future.
9. Don’t Confuse Urgency and Importance
Every day, there are numerous critical tasks to complete. That does not, however, imply that they are urgent or time-sensitive. Conflating the two will waste your time and cause you to miss deadlines.
Here’s a quick rundown: Items on your to-do list that are urgent require immediate attention and action, whereas important chores have more consequences but do not require quick completion.
Focus on projects that are both urgent and vital to make the most of your time. After you’ve crossed those off your list, focus on the urgent tasks, then the important but non-urgent ones.
10. Take Breaks
When the goal is to get things done, it may appear counterproductive to stop working. However, your brain requires a break from time to time in order to function at its best.
While some studies recommend a work/break rhythm formula—for example, working for 52 minutes and then taking a 17-minute break—there is no black-and-white guideline for effective break-taking.
Because everyone’s mental ability differs, the best time to take a break will differ as well. The theory is that after a period of exercising our brains at a higher capacity, we all lose mental steam. Breaks aid in the activation of the “reset” button.
Plan your breaks ahead of time and do something completely unrelated to your task. Take a walk. Continually run up and down the stairwell. Make a call to a loved one or a friend.
You’ll not only have a new perspective on the task at hand, but you’ll also have the impression that you have more time in your day than you had before.
11. Organize Your Work Space
A disorganized office has every tendency to reduce your efficiency. At all times, ensure your workspace is neatly arranged and ready for work.
Your table should not be cluttered with files and papers; this has a way of disorganizing you. At the end of work every day, try to organize your office as much as possible.
12. Use Effective Tools to Track Your Finances
This aspect of the business is very crucial, and it often takes time to balance the sheet manually. Keeping track of your finances with necessary tools will help you to reduce the amount of time used to check invoices and books manually. Use tools like MineralTree, QuickBooks, and others to track your finances effectively.
Although time management is an important life skill, not everyone is adept at it. It’s challenging to manage your time, but you’re not alone. So, start with these ten time management methods that will help you achieve your goals.
Time is scarce, but the good news is that it can be managed. Though there are several time management tips out there, the above tips will help you to salvage a little time for fun without your business suffering. Technology is not against you; it is here to help you, so make good use of it.
|Forbes: Manipulate Time With These Powerful 20 Time Management Tips|
|James Clear: 3 Time Management Tips That Actually Work|
|Health: 12 Reasons to Stop Multitasking Now!|
|Harvard Business Review: Time Management Is About More Than Life Hacks|
|The Atlantic: A Formula for Perfect Productivity: Work for 52 Minutes, Break for 17|