Life can get hectic; that is something all of us will admit. With the endless amounts of deadlines needing to be met, dishes piling up in the sink and taking care of your younger brother, sometimes you wonder, “Why are there only 24 hours in a day?”

Truth be told, not many of us spend the time we have wisely. Chances are, too much time is spent on Facebook or any other form of social media. And I’m sure you’ve been distracted while doing work before. This is why I’m sharing tips that will improve productivity and health—because I’m confident everyone could benefit with more productivity. So here are 5 time management tips that might just help you maximize the 24 hours you have in a day!

1. Use lists.

For some, using lists is a great way help increase productivity. However most of the time, people create to-do lists that don’t work at all. While to-do lists might be a valuable tool, I like to complement my to-do list with some other list to make them work better.

Here are some examples:

The 3 Task List

Write down the 3 most important task that you need to complete. I like to split them into 3 different categories, the first would be work related, second would be something health related and third would be any other task you can think of.

An example would look like this:

1. Write the first draft of an article.

2. Perform a 30 minute run.

3. Buy a present for Sarah.

The goal here is to finish all 3 task before sunset and 2 of the tasks need to be finished by the afternoon. Using this list will ensure that even if your productivity level is bad, you get the three most important things done in one day.

The “Don’t Do” List

This list is simple, all you have to do is write down three bad habits that might be preventing you from completing your task. Stick a reminder on your wall or computer and try not to do any of the 3 items on the list.

Here’s an example:

1. I won’t check my emails first thing in the morning.

2. I won’t go on Facebook when I’m writing an article.

3. I won’t leave my chair unless performing work for 30 minutes.

The key here is to set a specific time frame to those list. By doing so, it gives you a solid idea of how your time is being  managed. This will vastly improve your productivity.

2. Turn off notifications on your smartphones and tablets.

With the rise of smartphones and tablets, accessing social media has never been easier; however, this convenience can come with a price. Most people find it hard to concentrate because they are so famous, they get Facebook notifications every 10 minutes.

Keeping your notifications turned on can potentially be distracting. So by turning them off, you can ensure nothing will distract you once you are performing work. If you want to take it a step further, you can always uninstall all your social media apps on your phone.

3. Using specific software and apps.

While social media apps can be potentially distracting, there are apps and software that can help you manage your time better. Sometimes even if you have an iron clad will, it’s hard to resist the temptation of constantly refreshing your news feed. If that’s your problem, this might just be your solution.

1. Cold Turkey & Self Control

This software for your computer let’s you set a specific time period to block popular social media sites that might be distracting. There is also a function which allows you to white list or restrict specific sites.

The beauty is that unless you are a genius hacker, it’s almost impossible to bypass the the lock once it’s activated. In that way, you might be forced to do something productive.

Cold Turkey supports Windows, while Self Controls supports Mac.

2. Self Control (android)

This app prevents you from using any apps on your smartphone for the amount of time you’ve set. Despite the same name, it’s completely different from the one which works on Mac.

3. Focus@Will

Focus@Will plays music that is scientifically proven to help you focus. It definitely helped me stay focused and the tunes are pretty calming. The best part is, there is a free version too!

4. Include breaks.

Time management doesn’t necessarily have to be all work and no play. As a matter of the fact, including breaks in between work is a great way to maximize your productivity. Working on something for too long, especially when you hit a mental block is not an efficient way to use your time.

Instead of sitting down and pulling your hair, scheduling breaks in between is a good way to hit the reset button. I like to have a 10 minute break for every 50 minutes of work I do. During that time, you are free to do anything.

Some good ideas would be to incorporate a few bodyweight exercises such as squats or push ups, watch a short funny clip or even surf Facebook or Twitter. Just do something that will take your mind off work. This will help your mind stay fresh.

5. Get enough sleep.

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Sleep is a highly overlooked aspect when it comes to productivity and health. People who lack sleep have an increased chance of storing fat and falling sick, and decreased cognitive performance. Doesn’t exactly sound like the way to become a productivity doesn’t it?

So aim to get roughly 8 hours of sleep per night.

Incorporating short power naps lasting 20–30 minutes into your day is also another fantastic way to keep fatigue at bay. Optimizing your sleep is definitely one of the easiest way to start helping you lead a healthy and productive lifestyle. Since it’s that simple, start doing it right now!

Featured photo credit: Productivity via flickr.com

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