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There are time management tips all over the internet, but they’re often vague.
Here are some specific time management techniques that everyone can apply.
1. Assign a Priority to Every Task (And Accomplish in Order)
Most of us feel are too occupied aiming to deal with whatever comes our way to spend a couple of minutes setting up our work priorities. Take five minutes morning and evening and jot down all your pending work and tasks.
Rank them by importance and urgency. Avoid the mistake of spending more time doing certain things just because you enjoy doing them. Also, stop procrastinating on carrying out tasks that seem boring or confusing.
2. Use “Focus Blocks” on High Priority Jobs
Hard work requires focused effort, and there is nothing more annoying than a drill of relatively unimportant interruptions while tackling a report.
Use “focus blocks” to work in an efficient way without distractions and you will be surprised how much time did you use to waste doing unimportant tasks or just being.
Say “no” to distractions more often and keep an eye on your performance. Set large blocks of time to focus on specific high-priority tasks. Results will speak by themselves.
3. Just Say “No”
You’re the boss. Need to turn down a demand because you are dealing with something? Don´t think it twice. Any projects leading you nowhere? Spend your energy on something else: move on to more effective jobs. Use your experience when it comes to taking on new works and dropping the ones are not helping you.
4. Always Plan Ahead
At least some general planning on what tasks you need to accomplish is essential at the beginning of the day. The time you spend planning ahead of time and planning your activities is trivial compared to the time you will waste jumping from one thing to the next. Try one of these options:
- The night before — Towards the end of the day, take 15 minutes to clear up your table and put together a list of the following day’s most important tasks. Do this and you will start the next day with a sense of clarity and commitment.
- The First thing to do the following morning — Arrive a couple of minutes early and put together your prioritized to-do list.
5. Eliminate Distractions
Start concentrating on the number of times you are interrupted while you are in the middle of something important. Monitor self-induced distractions, particularly how much time you waste using social media sites. Drop your phone while working. It is addictive and one of the most insidious time-wasters known to people. Get a work phone instead, the more basic the model, the better.
Plan having at least one break in the daytime to catch up on email, calling people, chatting with employees or whatever you feel you wanted to do.
6. Trash Documents That are Easily Replaced
This is the best method to make sure you do not drown in documents, and your filing shelves do not multiply like mushrooms after a good rain. We keep way too many records.
Keep reference materials that can be easily accessed by other means (through your laptop, the internet, etc. Never keep journals or meaning to study them later. Keep clutter to a minimum.
Keep just those things that are essential and be ruthless with unimportant documents. There will always be a way to access back to that information, as it was not that important in first place.
Many have issues with this one. The super-hero syndrome tells us not to trust other people to carry out high value tasks which we know how to do in fear of poor results. This will result in delegating just those jobs considered boring or routine.
However by doing this you are digging yourself a hole. The time you will have to take to train other people to do important tasks will leverage very high. Otherwise you are condemning yourself to work hard and to be less productive.
About the Author:
Michael Chapman is the founder of PersonalityDevelopmentMastery.