Looking for useful time management hacks? Let’s look at ten easy hacks that you can use right away. Not only will they increase your productivity, they’ll also give you the confidence you need to achieve your goals.
1. Know Your Goals, and Organize Them by Their Value and Priority.
How many goals do you have? If you don’t have any goals, create at least one goal today. Goals are essential for effective time management. Perhaps you have too many goals. If so, organize them. You need one goal for each primary area of your life: a goal for your work or business, another for your health, and another to manage your finances, for example.
On any given day, one goal will have the most value and top priority. For many people, this is a work or a business goal. However, if you’re overweight, or have medical challenges, your health becomes your highest value goal, and your top priority. You can’t achieve anything, nor can you manage your time, if you’re in poor health.
2. Prioritize: Focus on One Important Task and Work on It Today.
You’ve created goals. However, you can’t “do” a goal. You can only do tasks that will lead to achieving your goal. Decide on your highest value goal, and work on an important task for that goal today.
If you can, work on that task before you do anything else. Let’s say your most valuable goal today is improved health. Your most important task is to exercise. Get it done early. Many gyms open early, so you may be able to get your workout done before you go to work.
If your most valuable goal is a business goal, you’re aiming for promotion, for instance, then your one important task may be to complete a presentation. Get to work early, so you can get the presentation done before you read your emails.
3. Know Your Top Priority in Each Moment.
Prioritize your working day before you leave home in the morning. Your To Do list may be endless. Choose your top five tasks for the day, prioritize them, and work on them in order of priority.
If you’re not sure what to work on next, ask yourself what your top priority is in the moment. It’s rare that your top priority will be “Check Facebook.”
4. Set a Dollar Value on Your Time.
Time management becomes easier if you know what an hour of your time is worth. If your time is worth $600 an hour, it’s useful to know that the 30 minutes you just spent on Facebook is worth $300.
If you’re not sure what your time’s worth, guess, or ask your boss. If you’re your own boss, you know how much it’s worth. Keep a time log so that you know where your time is going. Then cut down on useless activities.
5. Nothing’s Perfect. Just Get It Done. Your Best in That Moment Is OK.
You want to do your “best.” However, perfectionism wastes time. Nothing’s perfect. If you’re prone to perfectionism, be aware of it, and force yourself to let things go.
6. Get It Done in Half the Time You Think You Need.
If you’re a perfectionist, try setting hard deadlines. For example, let’s say it usually takes you three hours to complete a task. Set yourself a deadline of 90 minutes. You’ll be surprised that you usually complete the task within the deadline.
7. Schedule Planning and Thinking Time Each Day.
You’ll save many minutes each day when you have a prioritized task list and plan a project before you start working on it.
Schedule time to plan your projects and tasks each day, either in the evening, or in the morning before you get to work. When you separate your planning time from your tasks’ execution, you get more done faster.
8. Turn Big Goals Into Small Daily Tasks.
As we’ve said, you can’t “do” goals. You can only do tasks. As soon as you set a goal, work out what it will take to achieve your goal. Then, turn those steps into projects and tasks. Create deadlines for each project, and create small daily tasks so you complete each project quickly.
9. If Someone Else Can Do It: Delegate.
You’ve worked out how much an hour of your time is worth. Look at all the tasks you complete each day, and decide which ones you shouldn’t be working on. For example, let’s say you’ve set a dollar value on your time of $300 per hour. If it takes you an hour to go through your emails each day, is that the best use of your time? Perhaps you could outsource your email management.
10. Set a Deadline for Every Project.
We’ve discussed deadlines. Deadlines are essential. If someone else sets your deadlines, try setting your own deadline before the official deadline. This won’t be easy if you’re in an office where deadlines are looked on as general guidelines, but it will improve your time management.
Try these time management hacks. They’re practical, and they work. You’ll be amazed at how much more productive you become.
Featured photo credit: elcovs via Photopin via flickr.com
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