If you’re like most people, you often wish you had more than 24 hours a day. Finding enough time is a challenge for many of us. It seems like there’s never enough time to get things done, especially when you have so many roles and responsibilities.
But if others can make the most out of every minute, so can you! You don’t need more than 24 hours a day to get things done. You don’t have to be superhuman.
You just have to be effective in managing your time.
Check out these time management tips to maximize productivity at home and work.
Wake up earlier
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise”, so goes a popular saying. Waking up early can have so many positive benefits to your health and productivity levels.
First, you’ll have more time. If you would get up an hour earlier, you would gain 15 days extra a year. And if you wake up, say at 6, and start working by 7, you would have finished your tasks one hour earlier than you’re used to.
Rising early also appears to improve concentration and energy levels throughout the day, which helps you accomplish the goals you’ve set. Many early risers experience increased creativity and inspiration in the morning hours.
Lastly, you’ll have your quiet time. The calmness that comes with every morning gives you the strength to carry on with your day.
Set daily goals
We all need to feel in control of our lives.
That’s what daily goal setting does for you. By setting targets, you prioritize tasks based on their impact and importance. So when you finish them, you feel accomplished even if you still have pending tasks on your plate.
Aside from feeling more in control, you also become more organized. It keeps you moving faster forward to your dreams.
Create a stop-doing list
We all have habits that, without us knowing, make us less or more productive. These include keeping your phone next to your bed, hitting the ‘snooze’ button, skipping breakfast, impulsive web browsing, multitasking, checking email throughout the day, overplanning/under-planning, etc.
Make a list of those habits that keep you from accomplishing your daily goals and slowly eliminate them in your life. It can be difficult to unlearn unhealthy habits, but if you take it slow and focus on your goals, you’ll make it. Also, don’t forget to seek help when you need to.
Track your time
You’d hear it from analysts – everything that can be measured can be improved.
Tracking your time can boost your productivity in several ways. First, it helps you stay focused. While the clock in your time tracking software is ticking, you get to focus on the task you’re working on. It also helps you see which activities are helping you accomplish your daily goals, and which aren’t.
Using a time-tracking tool, you can also visualize your activities and recognize your efforts and achievements.
Find your productivity zone
Some people find themselves more energetic, alert, and productive during the first few hours of the day. Others seem to slay it in the evening.
It’s important to find your productivity zone so you can schedule your most difficult, energy-draining tasks accordingly. Here’s how:
- Record your energy level during different hours of the day. You can use a spreadsheet or simply write it on paper.
- Do this for 3-4 weeks to see the pattern.
- Once you identify the times you are highly engaged, work on big goals or difficult tasks around such schedules. You’ll be amazed how you’ll feel more creative, inspired, and energized to complete them.
Learn to say “no”
You may feel “pressured” when your boss gives you more tasks than you can handle but afraid to turn him down. Or when your colleagues at work ask you to have dinner with them when you have a presentation you need to finish over the next day.
While it feels uncomfortable, learning to say “no” is a big step to managing your time effectively. The key is to agree to requests that help you learn and grow, and politely decline those that hinder you from reaching your goals or leaving you feeling overloaded.
Be honest with others. Tell them why you can’t make it. They will surely understand.
Fuel up wisely
Instead of snacking on food that drags your energy down, grab healthy snacks that keep your energy high. Great options are bananas, coffee, nuts, fatty fish, mixed berries, eggs, apples, and other wholesome and nutritious fruits. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired and sluggish.
To get through the day and accomplish your tasks, you have to be physically fit. What you eat or drink impacts your mood, so be mindful of your diet.
Lastly, don’t forget to reward yourself for a job well done. When you plan your day, include a little “pick me up” something that will make you look forward to ending the day or finishing your task on time.
It could be preparing a delicious meal for yourself, reading a book, or watching a movie. If you have bigger goals that will have to be accomplished for a longer period, the more you want to promise yourself a reward.
Celebrate your progress, your milestones, and accomplishments, no matter how small. This keeps you from feeling burned out.
Time management is a skill. It can be learned, practiced, and refined. It’s a skill that can change your life and make you happier. Lastly, it can help you achieve whatever dreams you have.
These are just a few of the many ways you can enhance your time management skills. You can apply one strategy at a time until all of these become part of your system. It won’t be easy breaking habits that keep you from moving forward, but by incorporating those that help you manage your time, you can make yourself a lot more productive.