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20 Quick Time Management Tips For Really Busy People

20 Quick Time Management Tips For Really Busy People

Do you wish you could manage your time more effectively? Many people struggle to do everything that they want to during the day. It can be even more difficult if you are busy and have other priorities. However, a few simple time-management methods can help you to find more time in the day – check out these 20 quick time management tips for really busy people.

1. Start tracking how you spend your time

Every day for a week, track your work and your spare time and see how long you spend on different tasks. When you look over how you track your time, you may notice that some activities take much longer than you expected. This can help when scheduling and prioritizing.

2. Do your work in chunks

Break your working day down into hour-and-a-half-hour chunks, and assign different tasks to these chunks. This will help you to stay focused and less overwhelmed by your work.

3. Schedule some empty time

Make sure to schedule some empty space for thinking or possible interruptions. This will help you to stay on top of your work without stressing, and it means you are less likely to feel like you are falling behind.

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4. Erase any distractions

If you struggle with social media distracting you, consider downloading Cold Turkey, an app that can block social media websites temporarily while you work.

5. Don’t be chained to your email inbox

If it is going to be a busy work day, ignore email completely for a few hours so you can focus on finishing off your other, more important tasks.

6. Prioritize your tasks

Choose three things every day that you must complete, and don’t leave until they are finished.  Prioritizing will help you to make sure you have a productive day.

7. Schedule your weekly priorities

At the beginning of the week, choose your top five priorities for the week, then decide how much time should be spent on each.

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8. Tidy your workspace

Keep your working space tidy – one of the biggest office time killers is searching for misplaced objects.

9. Track your time

Continue to track and evaluate the time you spend working on different tasks. Use the results to work out if you are working effectively, and note which bad habits suck up your time the most.

10. Schedule time between tasks

Take some time to yourself between your tasks and restart before you can get distracted. Remember that taking a break isn’t about slacking, it’s about recharging.

11. Do things that you can start easily first thing

If you struggle to get started with a task at the beginning of the day, switch to a task you can immediately and easily start. Once you are in the working zone, other tasks will be easier for you to start and complete.

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12. Start your work day by planning the whole day out

Start working once you know exactly how your whole day will be spent – planning out your day will actually save you time as you always know what you need to do next.

13. Use your commute wisely

Do some tasks while you travel to work. If you’re on the train, you can check your emails. If you are driving, you can make hands-free phone calls. This saves you time once you arrive at the office.

14. Focus on one task at a time

Most people actually struggle to multitask and often waste time when they try. Stick to one thing at a time to maximize your productivity.

15. Send others what they need to prep for meetings

If you set meetings, share the agenda with your co-workers in advance so they can prepare questions or comments. This saves everyone time and makes the meeting more efficient.

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16. Learn to say “no”

Say no to any extra tasks that may disrupt your work schedule. It may feel like you are being rude, but your ultimate priority is to have a productive day. If you feel guilty, offer to help with the task once you have finished with your other projects.

17. Batch similar tasks

If you have related tasks, batch them together to increase your efficiency.

18. Break up your tasks

Break up more difficult tasks with smaller, easier ones. This will help your mind to stay fresh — avoiding that feeling of being mentally exhausted.

19. Take breaks

Stretch your legs every two hours – both your body and your mind will appreciate the break.

20. Use easy tasks to get working

Remember that the best way to be productive is to get working. If you are struggling, start with the easiest task to get you into the working mindset.

More by this author

Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on May 20, 2019

How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret

How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret

Time.

When you think of this construct, where do you see your time being spent?

As William Shakespeare famously wrote “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me…”

Have you used your time wisely? Are you where you want to be?

Or do you have unfinished goals to attain… places you want to be, things you still need to do?

The hard truth is, that time once passed cannot be replaced–which is why it is common to hear people say that one should not squander time doing nothing, or delay certain decisions for later. More often than not, the biggest blocker from reaching our goals is often inaction – which is essentially doing nothing, rather than doing something. 

There are many reasons why we may not do something. Most often it boils down to adequate time. We may feel we don’t have enough time, or that it’s never quite the right time to pursue our goals.

Maybe next month, or maybe next year…

And, before you know it, the time has passed and you’re still no where near achieving those goals you dream about. This inaction often leads to strong regret once we look at the situation through hindsight. So, take some time now to reflect on any goal(s) you may have in mind, or hidden at the back of your mind; and, think about how you can truly start working on them now, and not later.

So, how do you start?

Figure Out Your Purpose (Your Main Goal)


The first important step is to figure out your purpose, or your main goal.

What is it that you’re after in life? And, are there any barriers preventing you from reaching your goal? These are good questions to ask when it comes to figuring out how (and for what purpose) you are spending your time.

Your purpose will guide you, and it will ensure your time spent is within the bounds of what you actually want to accomplish.

A good amount of research has been done on how we as humans develop and embrace long-term and highly meaningful goals in our lives. So much so, that having a purpose has connections to reduced stroke, and heart attack. It turns out, our desire to accomplish goals actually has an evolutionary connection–especially goals with a greater purpose to them. This is because a greater purpose often helps both the individual, and our species as a whole, survive.

Knowing why it is you’re doing something is important; and, when you do, it will be easier to budget your time and effort into pursuing after those milestones or tasks that will lead to the accomplishment of your main goal.

Assess Your Current Time Spent

Next comes the actual time usage. Once you know what your main goal is, you’ll want to make the most of the time you have now. It’s good to know how you’re currently spending your time, so that you can start making improvements and easily assess what can stay and what can go in your day to day routine.

For just one day, ideally on a day when you’d like to be more productive, I encourage you to record a time journal, down to the quarter hour if you can manage. You may be quite surprised at how little things—such as checking social media, answering emails that could wait, or idling at the water cooler or office pantry —can add up to a lot of wasted time.

To get you started, I recommend you check out this quick self assessment to assess your current productivity: Want To Know How Much You’re Getting Done In A Day?

Tricks to Tackle Distractions

Once you’ve assessed how you’re currently spending your time, I hope you won’t be in for too big of a shock when you see just how big of an impact distractions and time wasters are in your life.

Every time your mind wanders from your work, it takes an average of 25 minutes and 26 seconds to get into focus again. That’s almost half an hour of precious time every time you entertain a distraction!

Which is why it’s important to learn how to focus, and tackle distractions effectively. Here’s how to do it:

1. Set Time Aside for Focusing

One way to stay focused is to set focused sessions for yourself. During a focused session, you should let people know that you won’t be responding unless it’s a real emergency.

Set your messaging apps and shared calendars as “busy” to reduce interruptions. Think of these sessions as one on one time with yourself so that you can truly focus on what’s important, without external distractions coming your way.

2. Beware of Emails

Emails may sound harmless, but they can come into our inbox continuously throughout the day, and it’s tempting to respond to them as we receive them. Especially if you’re one to check your notifications frequently.

Instead of checking them every time a new notification sounds, set a specific time to deal with your emails at one go. This will no doubt increase your productivity as you’re dealing with emails one after the other, rather than interrupting your focus on another project each time an email comes in.

Besides switching off your email notifications so as not to get distracted, you could also install a Chrome extension called Block Site that helps to stop Gmail notifications coming through at specific times, making it easier for you to manage these subtle daily distractions.

3. Let Technology Help

As much as we are getting increasingly distracted because of technology, we can’t deny it’s many advantages. So instead of feeling controlled by technology, why not make use of disabling options that the devices offer?

Turn off email alerts, app notifications, or set your phone to go straight to voicemail and even create auto-responses to incoming text messages. There are also apps like Forrest that help to increase your productivity by rewarding you each time you focus well, which encourages you to ignore your phone.

4. Schedule Time to Get Distracted

Just as important as scheduling focus time, is scheduling break times. Balance is always key, so when you start scheduling focused sessions, you should also intentionally pen down some break time slots for your mind to relax.

This is because the brain isn’t created to sustain long periods of focus and concentration. The average attention span for an adult is between 15 and 40 minutes. After this time, your likelihood of distractions get stronger and you’ll become less motivated.

So while taking a mental break might seem unproductive, in the long run it makes your brain work more efficiently, and you’ll end up getting more work done overall.

Time is in Your Hands

At the end of the day, we all have a certain amount of time to go all out to pursue our heart’s desires. Whatever your goals are, the time you have now, is in your hands to make them come true.

You simply need to start somewhere, instead of allowing inaction waste your time away, leaving you with regret later on. With a main goal or purpose in mind, you can be on the right track to attaining your desired outcomes.

Being aware of how you spend your time and learning how to tackle common distractions can help boost you forward in completing what’s necessary to reach your most desired goals.

So what are you waiting for? 

Featured photo credit: Aron Visuals via unsplash.com

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