The professional world is a fast-paced well-oiled machine that will never stop for anyone except for those lucky professionals who have mastered the art of making Time their best friend.
Nearly every one of us wants to make our work-day more efficient and more meaningful, and they can do this only, by using time management strategies.
Not only will time management make sure that your professional life is efficient and secured, but it will also create an amazing work-life balance for you, which will help you be happy and satisfied in both your work and personal life.
Let’s take a look at 27 of the best time management strategies to make your work-day more productive.
27 Smart Time Strategies to Increase Productivity
1. Be Healthy
The first thing that you have to do, to be more productive is to make sure that you are being healthy as much as possible. Even if you perfect all of the time management strategies that we are going to talk about in this article, you can still fail just because you didn’t keep your health as a priority.
You need to make sure that you get an appropriate amount of sleep, combined with a proper diet. This will make sure that you are going to be active and energized when you show up to work in the morning and you will automatically be stress-free and ready to take over the world.
2. Make Routines Your Best-Friend
All humans are terrified of change. You are too. No reason to deny it. This is because we are terrified of the unknown and the changes that it might bring alongside it, whether those changes are positive or negative. We just don’t like change.
This is why, you need to make sure that your mind is prepared for any routine or recurring activity that needs to be performed every single day, to make your day more productive.
Many people wake up early in the morning and do exercise to free their minds. Coffee also does the trick with a moderate amount of physical exhaustion on the side.
The point is that everyone has their technique or ritual that they follow, and you need to come with your brand of routine, to be successful.
3. Get Rid of your Perfectionism
One of the best/worst traits you can possess as a professional or a normal human being is being a perfectionist. It will never let you be satisfied with anything you do in your life and will stop you from discovering new possibilities to get things done.
To get rid of your perfectionism, you need to set some realistic milestones for yourself and make sure that you are critiqued by your peers so that they can put you in your place.
4. Change Your Physical Position on and off
Well, what does that mean exactly? It means that you should not fixate on your work activities throughout the day in the same posture. You should change your physical position whether to stand or sit, throughout the day.
This will regulate your energy levels and keep you happy as your body will be happy as much as your mind while working.
5. You Should be Dedicated to Improve Yourself
As a professional, you need to make sure that you learn new things every single day. The world is changing every single day and it’s moronic to think that the skills you learned a decade ago are still going to be valid in the future.
That’s why you need to make sure that to improve your professional career, you have to learn new things.
6. Try Listening to White Noise
Studies have shown that professionals who listen to white noise are bound to be more productive with an increased level of performance. How? Well, white noise is constant and without the change to tone or beat, that results in increased focus and encouragement to work harder and faster.
7. Recognize the Planning Fallacy
Discovered in the year 1979, the phenomenon the Planning Fallacy was defined as the underestimation of a deadline to complete a specific project. When a person has this, they are bound to miss deadlines and even throw off entire schedules.
To get rid of it, you need to acknowledge it first and then use a tracker or some software that can help you track the time you spent on your activities, and from there you can plan your whole development process accordingly.
8. Use the 2-hour Solution for Setting up Your Week
One of the best time management strategies for teachers in the pandemic is the 2-hour solution. In this method, you are planning for your whole workflow in the next week by just spending 2 hours to think, in the previous week.
The 2-hour solution divides your time into 4 parts:
- Green time: Your professional work that gets you paid.
- Read time: The time necessary to support the green time.
- Flextime: This is the flexibility time needed to address any unforeseen circumstances.
- Recreation time: All your extracurricular activities like exercise, relaxing and hobbies, etc.
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9. Use Ultradian Rhythms
These rhythms are the 2 hour or 120 minutes intervals in which your body goes through major psychological energy shifts. Meaning that we’re most productive in the first 90 minutes of our day and then there is a decline of energy for the next thirty minutes, and so on.
If we learn to control these intervals and work in those 90 minutes without forcing ourselves to work the remaining 30 minutes to the 120-minute interval, we will be more productive because we will only work when we’re most energetic.
10. Your Decision-Making Process Should be Impeccable
One of the best time management strategies is to make your decision-making process as failproof as possible. You need to have an automated system to keep you focused on making the bigger decisions first, leaving behind the smaller recurring decisions to be dealt with later.
11. Think Positively
Having a glass-half-full attitude is very important to have in the world of today. Why? Because there is an unnerving amount of negativity all around us. That’s why if you keep a positive attitude and you are stuck in a rut, either in your professional or personal life, people are going to help you out.
Think positively also help to increase your confidence levels and makes sure that you find a solution to all of your problems without wasting any precious time.
12. Don’t Leave Anything Incomplete
Whenever you are performing any activity, whether it’s related to your personal or professional life, you should always make sure that you complete the activity and not leave it hanging over your head.
This will help you create a personal trait that will never let you fail at anything because you will complete everything and not waste time to complete missed deadlines.
13. Try the 1-Minute Rule
According to Gretchen Rubin, if it takes you sixty seconds to perform an activity, you should do it. Otherwise, that activity is too stressful for you. The concept seems a bit farfetched but it does seem to make life easier for some people.
“Because the tasks are so quick, it isn’t too hard to make myself follow the rule—but it has big results,” said Rubin. “Keeping all those small, nagging tasks under control makes me more serene, less overwhelmed.”
14. Complete the Tasks in Groups or Batches
Many times, it seems like you are bombarded with many tasks that are similar to one another in some way, shape, or form. The best way to tackle all of these tasks is to add them all to the same batch or group.
This will help reduce the wastage of time and wastage of resources on each task when you can tackle all of them together in a group.
15. Stop the Endless Barrage of Meetings
Meetings can be a great source of information transfer among the project managers, stakeholders, and the development team, but when the meetings start to happen every day or many times a day, then they are becoming a counter-productive measure to hinder performance.
You should abstain from these meetings at all costs because they are nothing but time-wasting activities.
16. Concentrate on Output, not Working hours
As a manager, you should be more concerned about the output that the team members are generating rather than counting up the seconds of their working hours in which they generated that output.
Especially in the time of the pandemic when the team is working from home, you should be focussing on the value that the employees are bringing to the company rather than the working hours they put in while generating these results.
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17. Blacklist all of the Distractions
Distractions are the true killer of productivity. They are so contagious and deadly, that you will happily spend hours to scratch that itch and not work for a second.
To counter the effect of distractions, you need to make a list of all of the possible candidates and keep an eye on the list. This will help you keep an eye out on any possible intruder that can render you astray.
18. Break Projects Down into Smaller Pieces
When you are faced with a huge project and outside your reach of completion, then you shouldn’t lose hope and submit to procrastination.
Instead, what you can do is divide that big slab into smaller more achievable chunks that can be performed easily and save your time from procrastination.
19. Improve Your Organization Skills
It may not be a direct threat to your productivity, but you should always keep your desk clutter-free. This will make sure that your mind doesn’t wander off and accept the cluttered state of the desk to be the new norm.
When the mind sees the desk as fresh and clean as a new desk, it is not likely to wander off and waste time procrastinating things.
20. Set Proper Deadlines for all of Your Tasks
One of the best time management strategies is to make sure that you set the proper deadlines and time durations for all of the tasks and processes that you and your team are performing. This will help increase productivity and performance.
21. Understand that You’re Not Perfect
One thing you need to keep in mind is that no human on this earth is perfect. Everyone is bound to and allowed to make some mistakes. What sets us apart from each other is our tendency to improve ourselves despite those mistakes. So, keep improving yourself and you will succeed.
22. Stop Multitasking
Multi-tasking is the real productivity killer and even though many professionals recommend doing it, multitasking can lower your cognitive response or comprehension level by more than 10%.
So, focus on one thing at a time, complete it, and then move on to the next.
23. Delegate Work
You need to understand that you are not a robot and you’re not supposed to everything by yourself. So, if you feel overwhelmed with work, you can always delegate some of your responsibilities to your peers or anyone that you can trust to complete those tasks.
24. Stop Creating Too Many Lists
Making lists is not a new practice and is certainly not the worst. To-do lists are very productive and help you keep on track but the excess of To-do lists can hinder performance. That’s why you need to make fewer lists and focus on the work more to achieve success.
25. Use Time Management Software
The last and the most important entity of all is to make sure that you equip yourself with the most beneficial time management software out there and that is nTask. The application tracks all of your tasks and processes and makes sure that the team is not slacking off and is being produced.
26. Take Strategic Breaks
If you have been a professional for a long time then you would know that a person’s productivity gets lower and lower with every little task they perform.
This productivity is not just dependent on the tasks they perform, but also on the time, it took to perform those tasks, as well.
Unless you’re a cyborg, you are not going to be as focused after a 3-hour work session, as you were when you started the activity and that’s why you need to take breaks between your work sessions.
A work session is the time duration in which you don’t take a break and you just sit on your desk and work. And it’s your job as a productive employee to take strategic breaks between those work sessions to improve productivity.
The most effective break session that has been tried and tested by many professionals out there is the 20-minute duration.
When you take a 20-minute break, what happens is that the productivity momentum that has been decreased during your work session starts to regenerate. This helps in you regaining all of the focus that you lost during a specific work session or possibly over the course of a day.
27. End Your Day on a Productive Note
One of the most important traits that highly productive employees have is that they will always end their day on a high note or a productive note.
As a manager, you need to enforce this trait in your team as well, because the employees who end their day watching videos or gossiping are not generating enough momentum which they can project the next day in their work activities.
That’s why you need to finish on a high note so that when you turn your computer off, you will feel accomplished and not feeling any remorse that you wasted your time.
Choose The Best Three
We know that using all 27 of these strategies is going to be quite difficult.
A normal person cannot even change their personality quickly to incorporate these strategies into their life. But there’s a way. Try to merge the best three strategies in this list and make small changes according to them, in your life.
These changes are not permanent; you can review and reiterate them a few times in a week to make sure that the changes are not being a burden and you can easily incorporate them completely in your life.
If you can do more than three then it will benefit you at an increased level, but make sure that you don’t exhaust yourself and let go of everything completely. That would result in doing more harm than anything.
These were all of the different Smart time strategies that you can use in your daily life to make sure that your day becomes more productive and there is no trace of procrastination left in it.
Just remember that all of these strategies are our suggestions and they are not chiseled in stone.
So, if you find some other strategies that can better help you in your quest to be more productive then you should definitely apply those in your life.
Just make sure that you are doing something for the betterment of your life and don’t slack off.
There you have it! All the effective time management strategies that have been tried and tested before to brew the best results. Despite that, there is a fat chance on the offset that you have been trying something that is not mentioned on the list.
If that is the case, make sure you share your valuable input through the comments section below.