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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.

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Amy Johnson

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

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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    Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

    The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

    But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

    However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

    This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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    Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

    We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

    Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

    Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

    The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

    When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

    When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

    How to Make Decision Effectively

    Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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    1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

    You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

    Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

    Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

    2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

    You don’t have to choose all the time.

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

    Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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    3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

    You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

    The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

    Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

    Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

    So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

    More Tips About Decision Making

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

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