Many people working with us try to be hyper-productive. These kinds of people tend to be more productive as they normally demonstrate a knack for multitasking.
They believe in the phenomenon that looking and acting busy shows that you are a hard worker and be successful in a short time. However, there’s another lot that only goes as far as pretending to look busy. In reality, they lack productivity and an overall solid input.
If you are struggling to manage time on a daily basis, you should behave differently to optimize your work efforts. Changing overnight is not possible; it takes a lot of consistency and discipline on a person’s part.
Importance of Time Management
Time management is an art. Mastering it will have a positive impact on your personal and professional life. If you can manage time, you will notice that usually where most fail individuals fail to give optimal output, you, on the contrary, will be doing a lot more. Most of the time we focus on those things that can be done easily through automation and delegation of work.
What are the benefits of time management?
If you manage your time wisely, it garners several benefits, such as;
- Reduced stress level
- Improved task management
- Work-life balance
- More productivity
- Over delivering
When you effectively manage your time, you can manage your projects efficiently and even bear the consequences of uncertainty.
Play more and work less
You can get your work done easily in the given time by working more in a lesser amount of time. It will create a space for you during the latter days of the week where you can indulge in extracurricular activities. In this post, I will tell you some time management tips that help you to play more and work less.
In order to reap the benefits of ‘Playing More and Working Less’, follow a few simple tips and turn them into long-lasting habits. If you suffer from time management issues then you may have experienced the following predicaments:
- A business person, who is distracted and can’t make time to manage workload.
- A student, who was time for useless stuff and can’t organize time between studies and extra circular activities.
- An employee, who finds it difficult to organize to-do list items and can’t have a work-life balance.
- You are a freelancer or a consultant, who is overloaded with client orders and can’t spare time for other things in life.
1. Find Inspiration
You need to find the will and inspiration to manage your time. Sometimes I use TED talk videos to get inspiration from others who have done it. Getting inspiration is the first thing you should do before working to achieve your target.
In simple terms: find a way to ignite your inner fire.
2. Bundle similar tasks together
When you handle multiple tasks that are similar in nature or related to each other, then it is the best practice to group similar tasks together. By this, you will save more time by switching through the tasks and help to eliminate errors in your work.
The reason to bundle similar tasks is that each task requires a different level of preparation and mindset. So, when you are indulging in work that has multiple dependencies to it, then you should bundle them together. This will result in keeping the focus on your tasks.
3. Do less yourself
I am not suggesting to give less attention to your work and do less literally, but you should organize your stuff in the sense that you’d have to do less by yourself.
This can be achieved by slowing down and concentrating on the things that really need your attention. You can get help from different automation tools if you are working on a computer. By doing this, you will be creating more value in your work.
4. Don’t wait
You shouldn’t be waiting at all if certain obstacles come up. When you face a bottleneck, you should move ahead and take care of other tasks that are lined up. I’ll be honest with you; I can’t stand waiting for the things to get done. Whenever I face a hurdle or a blocker, I just move on and focus on other tasks.
Even if you have to wait for something, you should use that time in productive things like reading and organizing your stuff. Moreover, you can watch motivational videos, listen to your favorite podcasts or prepare your to-do items.
5. Telecommute to work
If you ever realize that you spend on average an hour to your commute to work, and the time to commute is getting longer day by day, then perhaps, it is better to work remotely. A lot of time is wasted in preparation and getting to work.
It might not be possible for you every day but if you can manage you should telecommute to the work at least two to three times each week. This will save a lot of time for you and reduce your travel expenses. Moreover, you can save time to play or spend on other activities that previously went out to total waste.
6. Don’t waste time thinking about what to do
You may have heard this before, “The time you spend organizing your work is the time you don’t use to do your work”. Organizing your work each time harms the work itself. You can save the hours by creating one grand plan that’s divided by several milestones.
7. Use 80/20 rule
This one’s also known as the Pareto Principle, created by the famous economist Vilfredo Pareto. He insinuates that 80% of the results come from 20% of your efforts. This formula can be applied to your work routine and the time you distribute to complete each task.
Many activities you do daily, like, team member meetings, organizing stuff, checking emails, it does not really have a productive impact on the end output. There is a need to focus more on those activities that generate results.
8. Learn to say ‘No’
Do you easily get into the influence of others? Do you take each work assigned to yourself on a belief that this will grow your career? You often agree to everyone but there is a need to change this. Just learn to say ‘No’.
You should not respond positively to everything that comes to your way and causes a delay in your projects. Though there are exceptions at a times, such as; an emergency or some critical case – otherwise, you need to prioritize stuff.
9. Stop forgetting by keeping your calendar
Do you feel overwhelmed by work and forget some of the task or project details? You are a human being and you cannot remember everything words by word; so, it is a good practice to keep your task calendar.
With a task management app, such as; nTask you can keep your to-do calendar and assign dates easily to help as a reminder. This will help in saving your time and aligning your workflows so that you can work less and play more.
10. Stop using your phone during working hours
This is a really bad habit, and it will take time to leave such habits. However, ceasing to do so will help you to get your work done in time with a genuine possibility of some extra hours at hand later. Cell phones are the biggest distraction nowadays – especially when you are working or studying.
Keep your phone on silent mode. It’s better to leave the smartphone in your locker when you need to do something important.
11. Don’t try to be perfect
When you watch a lot of motivational videos and movies you are motivated to be perfect just like a person you have grown to idolize. Idolizing is not bad, but when it goes to an excessive amount, it needs to be cut down on. Copying someone will only result in you being number two. Focus on your individuality and hone your skills accordingly.
Your first priority should be meeting the basic project and real-life obstacle requirements. Then you can work towards perfecting that routine so that it saves time and effort on your part.
12. Take short breaks
You need to recharge your energy and motivation level to keep going to attain your goals. Take rest with the help of short breaks is necessary and gives you an incentive to follow perseverance.
This will stimulate your mind while working or studying, and perform the activities you love in your free time. You can read a book, call your friends or family, have coffee and food, or have a little walk to kill procrastination.
13. Keep an eye on your work habits
You can are the best judge of you! Keep an eye on your work routine and keep a track of everything. In addition, you need to spare a few minutes daily and think where you spend your time the most.
Think of your daily tasks, past time activities, and recurring weekly work, etc. Make a list and find out where you are spending/wasting more time and develop a strategy on how to reduce those wasted hours. By doing this, you will have a clear roadmap about how to better optimize your time and get more things done in your life.
14. Do the most critical activity in your productive hours
By nature, we have an attention and productivity span. It takes time to reach the productivity peak. Things remain static for a while and then that streak fades away after a few hours. It is like a bell shape curve. The best time your brain is active is during morning hours, and you can get the most done in that time slot.
This time cycle depends on your daily working and sleeping habits, so it differs from person to person. You should find out your peak productive hour(s) and attend to the most critical activities during that time.
15. Set a timer for your tasks
Develop a practice of setting a time limit for specific tasks like writing a report, client emails, product design, or review class notes. This set time depends on the nature of the task you are doing. nTask offers a real-time tracker for your tasks with the in-built features. It will make your life easier and you can manage work in a shorter span.
16. Organize tasks beforehand
Don’t wait for your manager or your team to align and organize your to-do list items. Before starting your day just make sure that your whole day work routine is properly organized, so you don’t need to think what to do next.
Productivity apps can help you to create a simple checklist for your whole week schedule and you can set repeat tasks with just one click. This simple time management tip can improve your results immediately.
17. Organize your emails
Emails take a major chunk of your work hours. You must organize your emails so that you don’t waste time reading unwanted stuff, such as; product promotions, news sites, and junk emails. It is a better approach to create different folders in your mailbox that serve distinguished purposes, such as; separate folders for clients, managers, sales, customer support, HR, and third-party vendors.
Moreover, you can highlight important emails and set reminders for email clients. Gmail and Outlook offer various features like canned responses, archive emails, labels and applying filters to them can help to manage your mailbox.
18. Don’t forget exercise
Playing games and sports help you relieve stress. Short and intense exercise helps you to work better and make better decisions in the long run. Set some time aside for your workout and this will boost your memory as well.
19. Use nTask timesheets
If you want to manage time productively for yourself and your team, then the nTask timesheet feature is a must for you. You can keep track of each task you do daily by assigning manual and automatic time for the work done. nTask enables users to email the timesheet to their managers and account admins for performance review and evaluation.
As it turns out, the aforementioned tips can make your personal and professional life easier for you. At the end of the day, you are looking to help yourself on your own. Change is always internal. Therefore, keep your head down; move through adversity and you will eventually have success in life.
If you’d like to share your thoughts about productivity and time management, don’t forget to use the comments section below. Have a great day ahead and good luck!