Managing time is a common issue for everyone. We want to do a lot with our time but sadly, we end up wasting it. It is the story of every other person. Bob Dylan, a famous American singer and songwriter once said, ‘A man is a success if he gets up in the morning, goes to bed every night and in between does what he wants.’
I have always been wondering how successful people stay productive even after working for long hours. How do they manage their time? Here is an activity for you. Grab a piece of paper and write down the things that you have accomplished over the past 7 days. You will find out that out of your 9 to 5 working hours, you have accomplished very little for yourself. If you just take a look at the life of successful people, you will see they have their processes in place. Steve Jobs did not waste his time of the day deciding what clothes should I wear today, he actually wore the same clothes every day. We need to get rid of things like these from our lives and make the most of our time. I did some research and come across with 5 ways for myself and you to manage our time. Here we go:
1. Plan, organize and prioritize
Start with a little me-time and plan how you are going to spend the day. When you have so much to do and you don’t plan how you are going to do it, nothing gets done. Before you start the task of the day or even a project, you need to know which activity deserves the lion’s share of focus from you. The best way to figure that out is to write everything down. So, create a to-do list at the start of every day. Don’t add dozens of items to it. There should be only 3 priority tasks each day.
2. Learn to say “NO”
You cannot do everything in the world. Sometimes, we are having a hard time managing time because we have too many tasks to take care of. If you really want to get things done, simply refuse to accept additional tasks when you are already overloaded with work. Before you agree to take up extra work, take a look at your to-do list first.
3. If something can be completed in 2 minutes, do it
There will definitely be lots of tasks on your to-do list that can be done in 2 minutes or less. Whether it is replying to your friend, sending an email to your boss or putting your clothes in for a wash, tasks like these only take a few minutes.
Once you have successfully accomplished these tasks, you will have time to start with the important tasks that demand full concentration.
4. Follow the Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique is meant to help you get through distractions and get things done in less time while taking short breaks to relax. It is a great way to training your brain to be productive. This time management technique was introduced by Francesco Cirilo to help inattentive people focus. Its main premise is to work in blocks of time typically 25 minutes followed by a 5-minute break. Each session demands full attention. You learn to effectively manage distractions by taking regular breaks. This technique has improved the lives of a lot of people ever since it was introduced.
5. Don’t multitask
It is easy to drown in the sea of distractions by seeing so many emails, meetings, and deadlines. Multitasking wastes your energy and at the end of the day, nothing gets done. Allocate yourself to a single task, finish it, take a short break and then move onto the next one. When you are dealing with large projects with important deadlines, write a plan, break down the project into smaller tasks and finish them one by one.
Remember one thing, you can’t be a perfectionist. We are human beings and we need periodic breaks. Otherwise, your commitments will drain your energy and leave you in the dust. Just make sure these breaks aren’t too long. With these time management tips, I am sure you will get more accomplished in a day than before.