10 Time Management Hacks

Stop being busy. Start being productive. This catchy slogan highlights the time management challenge that many professionals face at work. No matter how busy they are, they often struggle to deliver projects on time. Part of the reason why this happens is that they need to meet strict deadlines, which puts a lot of pressure on them. Yes, deadlines motivate many people to work, but if they are unrealistic, they can in fact demotivate them and negatively affect their performance. These problems can be overcome by strengthening one’s time management skills. These 10 time management hacks are a step in the right direction:      

1. Start early. Most successful people start their day early to have more time to think and plan their day. Goal setting helps cut down the time you need to think about where you are headed. If you are not a morning person, try waking up 30 minutes earlier. You will be surprised how much you can accomplish in that time. 

2. Set priorities. Prioritizing your tasks is important as it keeps you focused. Prioritization should be based on task-related factors such as length, urgency or importance. Turn task prioritization into your morning routine: every morning make a list of tasks that need your immediate attention. Having a list of tasks that need to be completed on that day will boost your productivity and help accomplish all tasks in order of their importance.

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3. Eliminate distraction. Many people delude themselves that they can get a lot done by jumping from one task to another. Multitasking is highly overrated: you only give partial attention to each task, and often have to go back and redo what you have done. To create a productive work environment, close all browser windows unrelated to your priority project, turn off notifications on your computer and phone and check your calendar to make sure you do not have any appointments. 

4. Create routines. Creating routines at work helps accomplish tasks with little or no distraction. Start with making a timetable of when you are the most productive, but remember to leave some room for slight deviations from your timetable to avoid stressing about something that interrupts your flow. Finally, create checklists to check off completed tasks so you can better concentrate on other important matters.   

5. Recharge. One of the best-known time management techniques is the Pomodoro technique. Its formula is simple: 25 minutes of work plus a 3-5 minute break. Do this four times. Then take a 15-30 minute break. Repeat this until you have completed your work. The Pomodoro technique will help you recharge so you can be more productive at work.

6. Be creative. “I’m always trying to maximize my time. For example, I’ll do my emails when I’m on a plane, instead of when I’m in the office,” says investor Daymond John. Such a creative approach to time management brings more flexibility and productivity at work. It also strengthens the ability to better respond to challenges.    

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7. Eliminate waste. Business strategist Tony Robbins advises treating time like money. Why so? Both are finite resources that need to be conserved by eliminating waste. Robbins suggests converting wasted time into productive time. To increase your productivity, try repurposing ‘time-management dead zones’. For example, if you enjoy reading, but have no time, listen to audiobooks on your commute to work. This will help you better concentrate on your work and be more productive.

8. Avoid meetings. What do Mark Cuban, Elon Musk and Oprah Winfrey have in common? They are all anti-meeting. Why so? Meetings are ‘serious productivity killers’ that prevent you from completing your work. To avoid meetings, write detailed e-mails or use messaging apps instead. However, if you must schedule a meeting, have a strict agenda, and keep it short.

9. Break down large tasks. Large projects often overwhelm because of their complexity and magnitude. Unsurprisingly, this often leads to failure. To overcome this, break down large tasks into sub-tasks. This will make them more doable: it will be easier to reach smaller goals one by one. Just remember to allocate a reasonable time for each sub-task.

10. Track your time. Successful people value their time so they track it. This helps them make intelligent decisions. Start tracking your time too to be aware of how you spend your time and to find time-wasting activities. This will help you focus on work that adds value.   

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References:  Leon Ho, lifehack.org | Harper Brenning, everhour.com | John Rampton, inc.com | John Rampton, entrepreneur.com | weekplan.net