Today’s world is a busy place, with constant connection. Technology has encouraged multitasking with never-ending connections and work. Whoa! Is that really what is best for us? How can we be productive without losing ourselves and enjoyable life in the process? These time management tips will help.
10 Tips for a more efficient and productive day
- Get an early start – or at least a consistent start. Studies show that people who a) go to bed the same time every night, b) get up the same time every morning, and c) consistently get 7.5 – 8-hrs. of sleep are healthier, calmer, and more productive. Here is the clincher: while we all have the occasional late-night, don’t mess with the sleep routine every weekend. Sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday really doesn’t pay well in the long run.
- Begin each day with a plan. Start by keeping a running to-do list. When something is completed, cross it off. When something new comes up, add it to the “list” for review on your daily “planning” session. Begin each day by reviewing your list, pulling out the most important items, and then prioritizing them for the day at hand. Don’t worry about the things remaining on your to-do list. They will still be there when you have your next planning session. Note: if you do better creating your plan the night before, go for it. The key is to do it daily. Allow 30 minutes to create your plan. The busier your day promises to be, the more essential it is to have a plan.
- Do the worst jobs first, if possible. Then they won’t be sitting on your shoulder all day, reminding you of what is to come.
- Depending on your job, try to do ‘like’ things together. It makes the most efficient use of your time.
- Set specific times for email, social media, etc. Ignore it between times. Nothing is so urgent that a few hours will make a difference. If it is an emergency, they will find another way to connect with you.
- Include time for yourself. Refueling is crucial to being productive. If you work on the clock, take your breaks –even 10 minutes of calm quietness, chatter with friends, a short walk, or whatever works for you will make a difference. Include time after work for family, friends, and fun.
- Begin each item on your list with the end in mind. Set aside a couple of minutes before every call, task, meeting, presentation, discussion to establish the result you hope to attain. Jotting this determination on paper or committing it to memory will, for starters, identify what success will look like, so you will know when you have arrived. Likewise, spend a couple of minutes accessing the outcome to determine if the desired result was achieved.
- Expect interruptions. There will always be unexpected interruptions – sometimes they even change the course of the day. Staying calm, being flexible, and finding ways to adapt will help you remain productive – even if you are doing something different than originally planned. Sometimes interruptions turn out to be the best thing that happened to/for you all day.
- Deal with distractions. (note – these are different than interruptions) Sure, some things cannot be avoided, but make a list of typical distractions and create a plan for eliminating the ones you can.
- Take advantage of travel and wait times. If you commute by public transportation or find yourself waiting on meetings to begin, etc., always have a few items on your daily list for making the most of these times.