Fail to examine how you manage your time (or fail to manage it at all) and life becomes a scrambling race that leads to missed tasks, foregone opportunities, and total exhaustion. A great time-management system allows us to prioritise, devote time intelligently and create more balanced lives. When you find consistent methods to better manage your time, you’ll suddenly open your life to more room for creativity, which in turn will lead to more big ideas.
First, let me just say: there’s no real one-fits-all solution. Such claims are bogus. We are all different, have different strengths and weaknesses – and our nature of work and daily activities also dictates our needs.
However, below I will outline some of the major solutions you ought to try, in order to become more effective – so that you’ll have more time to do what you really, really want to do – as opposed to what you just have to do (such as working on that bucket list!)
Following the nature of time management and efficiency, it only makes sense to keep this article brief and to the point — but nonetheless valuable.
1. I want to become more time efficient but don’t know where to start
2. I spend too much time on mundane tasks
3. I don’t have sufficient time for essential tasks and activities
Consider to hire “outsourcers” for lower level tasks, or find workers on UpWork, Freelancer and similar sites.
Generally, say no to nonessential tasks and prioritise the ones of extreme value. Ask yourself the following: What are the one or two most important tasks that need to get accomplished today? This week?
4. I constantly become distracted
Work in short burst with breaks; try the Pomodoro technique – 25 minutes focusing followed by a 5-minute break. If that’s hard, then start with 5 minutes of full work without doing anything else. Then gradually increase the time.
5. I do not know where to start
Break up the task into smaller tasks. Be specific. This often encourages you to get more done and feel accomplished and motivated by scratching to-do items off of your list.
6. I constantly procrastinate tasks
First of all, question the relevance! Could I be doing something else that’s also productive? Secondly, force yourself to start – commit one minute, set a timer for 60 seconds, then sit down and get to work. Often you’ll want to go beyond that time and continue.
7. My workflow is messy and time-consuming
Those without a map, wander. Put together a plan or to-do list before starting work or any project. Use an app or online tool to manage your to-do list AND refer to it often.
8. I use too much time answering emails and the like
Batch together certain repetitive tasks, like answering emails, so you do them a couple times a day rather than every few minutes.
9. I spend too much time on Facebook, Youtube etc.
Use tools like, Rescue Time, SelfControl and Focus that will temporarily block access to distracting websites or less aggressive solutions like Facebook Newsfeed Eradicator and Distraction Free Youtube. Use similar tools on your phone or leave it in another room.
10. I really do not want to do this
Take a step back and figure out the reason you’re procrastinating on the project or task. Is it because it’s actually not that important, or doesn’t move you closer to your big picture goal?
Subtraction, instead of addition, is efficient and productive. Maybe you need to focus on doing fewer things. Maybe this project you’re procrastinating on is actually making you much less productive and needs to be dropped.
11. There are too many tasks at hand
Use the 80/20 rule to decide on priorities – what are the most critical elements to excel?
12. I usually stay productive early on in a project, then gradually fall into the procrastination trap
Have a friend, coworker or something similar act as an “accountability-buddy”. Humans are wired to want to “save face” and look good to the people they respect. By creating this external pressure you will be more likely to complete your tasks and remain productive. Stay engaged and supportive into each other endeavours, tell them what you intend to get done and vice versa — and don’t let the buddy slack. You’ll be amazed at how much more you accomplish.
13. I suck at time management
Although a bit ironic, you have to use some time to learn effective time management habits and routines. But it will be worth it in the long run!Time is money, start planning how you spend it! Click To Tweet
14. a) I‘ve tried everything — nothing works
Keep experimenting & try harder. It takes time for habits to grow and mature.
b) No, seriously. I’ve literally tried everything. Nothing works!
Above all, be conscious of how you’re using your time. Be honest and self-criticize yourself. Where is it room for improvement?
Becoming aware of why you procrastinate, which means taking a step back and looking at some of the possible reasons such as boredom, lack of confidence in the project, lack of self-confidence, and feeling overwhelmed. Once you know the reason, it’s a matter of finding things to remedy it and cut your procrastination off at the source.
What’s absolutely crucial in going in and trying to address your time management problems is to be open to the idea of a time-management system in the first place.
Productivity can have such a dull connotation. When we hear “productive,” a lot of us imagine robots, but the trick to being a better manager of your own time is not to be a robot, but to put robots to work for you.
Also keep in mind that time management is personal. What works well for your colleague, your mentor or friend may be a waste of time for you. It is wise to invite suggestions from people you respect, but don’t think you have to absolutely commit to a certain system just because someone else likes it. For example, I ended up settling on Trello to manage my work life, but before that, I also used Basecamp and Asana, and much more. Trying out different systems before you commit lets you experience new frameworks and ultimately make a better, more sustainable choice.
I hope you found this helpful!
What do you think? Did I forget something? Do you have any good advises you could share with our readers?