Do you find that you’re often late? Whether it’s to a doctor’s appointment, meeting a friend, or (worst case scenario) if you find yourself consistently late to work, you know better than anyone how much lousy time management can affect your life. If you’re also aware that things need to change, you’ve reached a critical point in your time management. The day of reckoning has arrived, and thanks to some severe self-reflection (and probably a few angry phone calls) you are finally ready to start taking those steps to better your time management. You came to the right place. Welcome to our handy list of the top ten ways to better increase your daily productivity.
Aim for Early
This one is easier said than done – we know. But it’s still pretty essential if you’re looking to manage your time better. The key here is to overestimate. You read that right; aim to make it to places you need to be early. What will inevitably end up happening is that instead of being there first, you’ll probably arrive right on time. That can apply to more than just physical events, such as appointments or meetings. You could even start incorporating a “be early,” mentality into things requiring deadlines. Stress averted!
Start Saying No
Another tricky step, but a necessary one. This has to do with conditioning yourself to get better at being realistic about the time you have, and what you can do with it. We’re all people-pleasers, deep down, but when it comes right down to it, no one ends up happy if the things we commit to we can’t complete in the given period. Allowing your plate to fill past capacity is on you, so start practicing saying, “no,” to things that will distract you from your ongoing tasks.
Speaking of distractions, these are easily the bane of anyone who struggles with time management skills. In today’s day and age, diversions are far too simple to come across. We can thank our phones, computers, and digital devices for that. The key in this tip? Make it so that the opportunity for distractions remains minimized. Turn off your phone – in fact, put it in another room if you can – close out those unused web browsers, and mute notifications from your computer. Now get to focusing!
Prioritization is Everything
There’s a little something called the Pareto 80/20 Principle. Ever heard of it? The idea of the principle is that 20% effort generates 80% of your output. The concept means that a minimal number of causes determines most of the results in a situation. Hence, if you apply this conceptual thinking when approaching which projects or tasks to do first, it will help you in deciding how to pick which are the most important and should be done first.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Want a better grasp on your time so you can feel more productive at the end of every day, and not like you’ve fallen behind? The secret ingredient when maximizing your time rests on the shoulders of a daily plan. Before every morning starts, or ideally the night before, take a few minutes to write out the things you need to accomplish in the day. Be sure to try and allocate time per task, so you have a pretty clear picture of what the day should look like.
Say you’re working on a project and need a better idea of how long each step is taking to be able to plan your day correctly. Turn on a timer, and start taking note of the duration of the project. Knowing that your speed is being measured should also help in focusing on the task at hand. Using online time-tracking tools is a brilliant way to learn more about how your time is spent.
Calendar, Meet Productivity
Really can’t emphasize the importance of a calendar nearly enough. There isn’t a more substantial step towards being a better time manager. With a schedule, you can compact all of your events, meetings, and appointments into one handy place. You can also use it to see reminder notifications ahead of time at regularly scheduled intervals. Another plus? It doesn’t matter if you use email servers Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, or any others – most have a calendar function that can help streamline your movements.
Personal Assistant Apps
Apps like Siri and Amazon Echo (Alexa) have been dominating the personal assistant app space for quite some time now. These voice-controlled systems are brilliant for helping you quickly set reminders for things you need to do. A simple command, and suddenly your device is ready to alert you when things are due. Reminder apps can help by warning you about upcoming meetings or events, as well as pinging off notifications when you need to pay a bill or take your medication.
Set Time Goals
How long should each task take you? Here’s a question you should start pre-emptively asking before you begin working on any goal. A nifty trick to get you to stop lingering over one objective and move on to the next would be to set clear time limits per milestone. If you’re clear with yourself and say that you need to finish a task by a specific time, you’re more likely to follow through. It’s a surefire way to improve your time awareness!
A few years ago, the Internet went into a frenzy about a trending quote someone put on Pinterest: “You have the same hours in a day as Beyoncé.” Sound familiar? The source of inspiration is still often used in conversation today. What it means is that we all have the equal amount of time as the world’s most successful people. How we use the time we’re given is entirely up to us, as is how we choose to manage the time we have. This tip is about your internal motivation; review your productivity output and keep working to improve how much you can achieve. Frequently innovate these productivity techniques, and you’ll be well on your way to reaching a Beyoncé-worthy level of time management.