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3 Simple Strategies For Better Time Management

3 Simple Strategies For Better Time Management

Our screen addiction has turned into a procrastination addiction, and we’re more exposed to distraction than ever. Need more proof? I could kill your work day with a simple link (seriously, don’t click it).

The web is full of tips on how to manage your time, stay productive, and get more done in less time. The world wants to save you some time while all you do is read these articles and slack off. With all the productivity tools, tips, and tricks available, we’ve become obsessed with becoming more productive. But if you put too much time into managing your time, you might want to reconsider your approach.

This is why it’s useful to consider a non-managing approach to time management — a lazy take on this growing trend. Think of it as time management for people who really can’t seem to manage. Here are some tips that won’t take up your time, but will get you started on managing your time better. They’re far from expert-level time management, but they make for a good introduction.

Plan to be interrupted

If you want to quit procrastination, schedule time for procrastination. Plan to be distracted, because you inevitably will be.

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If you allow yourself a portion of time and stay focused on work, knowing you’ll get your break in a while, you’ll be more productive and, in time, procrastinate less.

Basically, get it out of your system.

The same goes for various distractions and interruptions. Stop constantly checking your email and social channels — nothing is that urgent. Plan to check every few hours or so and refrain from visiting these sites outside of these times.

There are also a few handy tools available, like SelfControl, that can help you blacklist the unwanted sites and block them for a few hours while you’re trying to focus. Do you think you’re not hooked? I dare you to try the app and find out!

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Remember: there’s no better time-killer than a lost pen

Clutter is a known productivity killer.

Don’t let your mess take over your mind and leave no space for thinking, planning, and working. Declutter your home, keep your workspace tidy, and clean up the mess in your environment to create a better working environment for your brain.

What you’re surrounded by ultimately affects your productivity, and if you want to get things done, remember to declutter. It’s now well known that a messy desk is a sign of a creative person, and that’s probably true, but even creatives can benefit from becoming a little more efficient.

Track your bad habits

Are you a smoker? An avid facebook checker? A cat video lover?

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Whatever bad habit you may have, you’re probably struggling to quit. How about taking some time to get a better perspective on your bad habits? Track your time doing these things for a week. Be consistent and track every moment of a habit you’d like to get rid of. Then revise.

Would you be watching cat videos for just “a couple minutes now and then” if you knew that the time actually amounted to 4 hours of your week?

The same goes for multitasking – if you tracked your unfocused work for a couple of weeks, you might discover that you spend a majority of your week working on things that get you no results.

There is tons of time that can easily be saved.

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You could use that time for things that are much more useful — reading a book, mastering a skill, learning a new language. You could be an expert in a few months. And soon enough, your longstanding cat video expertise will be replaced with, you know, something actually useful.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash / By Steve Houghton-Burnett via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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