If you are someone who works hard, time management is something you have to understand. It’s effortless to get overwhelmed with all the work that needs to get done and wonder… “Is there a faster way to do this?”
Many simple time management techniques can easily double or triple the amount of work you can get done in a single day. Once I started applying these habits and techniques, I quickly started on a higher productivity path and got much more done with my time.
1. The 4 D’s of Time Management
Delete: Ask yourself, ”Is this project worth my time?” A narrower focus often leads to more results than a wider focus.
Delegate: Can this tedious project that takes a large chunk of your time to be outsourced? Is there someone else on the team who has a skill set that is a better fit for this project?
Do it Now: I often find myself repeatedly repeating that I must finish a certain task, but once I take a small chunk out of my time and do it. I often realize it didn’t take long, and I won’t have to remind myself constantly.
Diminish: Perfectionists like myself struggle with this one. Sometimes we find ourselves working on a project throughout multiple days when the project could have only taken a few hours. Can we diminish the amount of time we must put into certain projects?
2. The 80/20 Principle
This wouldn’t be a time management guide without the 80/20 Principle (Also known as the Pareto Principle). The rule says that 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your actions. You have to understand which tasks are going to give you the highest return on your investment.
3. Learn To Say No
Successful people say no to almost everything. If you say yes to every project that gets offered to you, how will you be able to work on that one thing that could change your life? Never spread yourself to think. As Tim Ferris says, “If it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no.” Time management requires you to focus on priorities first.
4. Manage Your Phone Wisely
When it’s “crunch time” and you are ready to put your head down and work, your phone can be a productivity killer. Every time you write one sentence, or one line of data, or finish one email, you look over, and your phone is calling to you…
Here are a couple of tips to keep your phone managed and under control:
1. Out of sight, out of mind
Put it somewhere you can’t see, so you will have to put in a lot more effort if you want to grab it.
2. Silent/Do Not Disturb/Off
One of the biggest draws we have to our phones is the sweet sound of a new notification. Once that “ding” goes off, our brain is intrigued. What could that message have possibly been?
5. Cut Off Social Media
Social Media is usually the biggest draw to the devices that we have. If your someone that can’t stop themselves from checking their feed while working, then here are a few extra precautions you can take:
1. Delete the apps from your phone
2. Block these websites on your computer
3. Turn Your Phone to Black & White Color
In the settings on your phone, you can set it up so if you press the home button 3 times, it turns the color on your phone to black and white. Social media is a lot less fun without color. Leaving you more likely to leave the app under your own power.
6. Prioritize Your Tasks
You can’t go through your day just doing any tasks that pop into your mind. Make a schedule and block out your time. Make a schedule that says what you will work on and when. This gives your work purpose and meaning.
If you plan your days to be productive and efficient with your time, you are much less likely to waste it.
7. Stay Healthy
If you are consistently making the right health decisions, you will see higher results in your productivity. Eat right, drink a lot of water, exercise a couple of times a week, and make sure you are getting enough sleep. Sleep is essential for your recovery and to ensure you can do quality work.
8. Your Work Environment
If your desk is cluttered with notes and documents, it makes it much harder for your brain to focus on the task at hand. I always clean up before I start my morning work session.
What is in your office space? My office is an extraordinary place to me; I spend a large majority of my time. I have sticky notes on hand, my bookshelf is 3 feet from my computer, and I can stop and journal if I start to get overwhelmed or confused.
Make sure your office is supporting you and your productivity.
9. Chunking Small Tasks
How much time would you be wasting if every time you received an email, you stopped and checked it? This would absolutely kill your productivity. Instead, save your emails and small tasks for certain times of the day or when they start to pile up.
Whenever you are transitioning from one task to another, there is a transition period where a bit of time is wasted. If you save these tasks and chunk them together, you can blow through them and save a large chunk of your time.
10. To-Do Lists are key for better Time Management
Once you remember something that needs to get done, always write it down. Don’t rely solely on memory to remember what needs to get done. You are wasting quality brainpower, and you will likely forget multiple tasks.
11. Avoid Procrastination
Procrastinating is one of the biggest time wasters out there. Here are 2 tricks to help you stop procrastinating and start working:
Once it’s time to work, start a countdown…
3, 2, 1 and start working
Our brains are designed to prioritize pleasure over pain. So the countdown stops your brain from trying to talk yourself out of doing work, and it gives you a deadline.
Also, another trick is to tell yourself, “I will only work for a couple of minutes,” usually once you get into it. You will be able to work for longer.
12. Use Technology To Your Advantage
We have talked about how much technology can waste your time. However, there are so many ways technology can improve your productivity and make you more effective with your time management problem. To see the Apps and Tools, I use to make myself more efficient, check out the Resources section’s resources section.
13. Celebrate Achievements
For the people who are really hard on themselves (me), spend a lot of their time working towards their goals (also me), this is extremely important. If you are never proud of yourself or give yourself time to relax, you will start to lose your motivation to keep going.
Even if they are small achievements, make sure you are taking time out of your day to celebrate those victories.
Key Takeaways for better time management
If you can manage your time in the most effective way possible, it will lead to a wide range of benefits:
- Relieve Stress
- Boost Productivity
- More Free Time
- Higher Quality of Work
Make sure you are using all of these habits and techniques. They have the ability to guide you to extremely high levels of time management.
Also, If you are looking to become even more productive and understand all the ways you can get more done, then check out this post as well The 7 habits of highly effective people (Productivity Hacks)
Time management skills help you balance conflicting demands over your time. Also, take advantage of all the habits and techniques you can to be a productive machine!