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Manage Your Time Like You Manage Your Money, Then You Can Work Much More Productively

Manage Your Time Like You Manage Your Money, Then You Can Work Much More Productively

When it comes to time management most of us try to be efficient by getting tasks done quickly or focusing on the short-term benefits. Everyone has 24 hours in their day but how well do we utilise these hours? A better way of engaging our time management effectively is to look to the long-term rather than what we can achieve in the short-term.

Budget control is all about saving our money now in order to invest and assist us in the long-term. To utilise our time, and learn how to be more productive, we need to apply this concept to our time management and create a better and more efficient way to invest our hours so that we reap the benefits later on.

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Time Assets vs Time Debts

James Clear describes the concepts of time assets and time debts. Just like assets and debts are applied to our finances, they can be applied to the way we manage our time to increase or decrease our ability to prioritise skills, create time and our overall productivity.

Time assets are the actions we take that impact our time positively in the future – in other words, the choices we make today that will save us time further down the line. Setting up automation systems to send reminders or publish blog posts is an example of investing time now to save time later on. Putting extra time and effort into covering all bases in an instruction document will save you annoyances and time explaining things down the line when your employees don’t fully understand it.

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Time debts are the actions we do that will rob us of time in the future, much like a financial debt. A common example of this are emails. For each email we send out, we assume that we will receive an email back at some point that will need answering. Therefore, the more emails we spend sending out, the more time we are taking away from ourselves in the future. It seems productive at the time because we feel accomplished for emptying our inbox, but we don’t think about the inbox filling up again the next day.

Make sure the tasks you do today are saving you time in the long-run. Don’t just think in terms of what you need to complete in the coming work day and ticking off your to-do list because that will eventually become never ending and repetitive. It may feel like you’re being productive, but you’re not necessarily investing in that pot of free time you’ll acquire later.

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How To Be More Productive Using Time Assets

There are many ways you can subtly implement time assets into your daily work life. Sit down and think of ways you can streamline your daily tasks. Are there ways you could do them differently?

  • Set up automation systems that send out emails, updates, blog posts, articles.
  • Set up scheduling systems that take out a lot of the back and forth dealings with colleagues and clients.
  • Make use of money tracking apps such as EasyCost to translate your work tasks into monetary terms so as to decide what you plan to do will lead to time debts or not.

At the end of the day, we all want to learn how to be more productive and so we must think of time assets as a system that takes away unnecessary work and works for us as an invisible assistant. If you constantly fill your day with time debts then no matter how productive you are or how hard you work, it’ll be the same every day.

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So when it comes to your 24 hours, be smart and use those time assets to create more time, productivity and efficiency in your work life!

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Jenny Marchal

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

How to Stop Multitasking and Become Way More Productive

Today we are expected to work in highly disruptive environments. We sit down at our desks, turn on our computer and immediately we are hit with hundreds of emails all vying for our attention.

Our phones are beeping and pinging with new alerts to messages, likes and comments and our colleagues are complaining about the latest company initiative is designed to get us to do more work and spend less time at home.

All these distractions result in us multitasking where our attention is switching between one crisis and the next.

Multitasking is a problem. But how to stop multitasking?

How bad really is multitasking?

It dilutes your focus and attention so even the easiest of tasks become much harder and take longer to complete.

Studies have shown that while you think you are multitasking, you are in fact task switching, which means your attention is switching between two or more pieces of work and that depletes the energy resources you have to do your work.

This is why, even though you may have done little to no physical activity, you arrive home at the end of the day feeling exhausted and not in the mood to do anything.

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We know it is not a good way to get quality work done, but the demands for out attention persist and rather than reduce, are likely to increase as the years go by.

So what to do about it?

Ways to stop multitasking and increase productivity

Now, forget about how to multitask!

Here are a few strategies on how to stop multitasking so you can get better quality and more work done in the time you have each working day:

1. Get enough rest

When you are tired, your brain has less strength to resist even the tiniest attention seeker. This is why when you find your mind wandering, it is a sign your brain is tired and time to take a break.

This does not just mean taking breaks throughout the day, it also means making sure you get enough sleep every day.

When you are well rested and take short regular breaks throughout the day your brain is fully refuelled and ready to focus in on the work that is important.

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2. Plan your day

When you don’t have a plan for the day, the day will create a plan for you. When you allow outside influences to take control of your day, it is very hard not to be dragged off in all directions.

When you have a plan for the day, when you arrive at work your brain knows exactly what it is you want to accomplish and will subconsciously have prepared itself for a sustained period of focused work.

Your resistance to distractions and other work will be high and you will focus much better on the work that needs doing.

3. Remove everything from your desk and screen except for the work you are doing

I learned this one a long time ago. In my previous work, I worked in a law office and I had case files to deal with. If I had more than one case file on my desk at any one time, I would find my eyes wandering over the other case files on my desk when I had something difficult to do.

I was looking for something easier. This meant often I was working on three or four cases at one time and that always led to mistakes and slower completion.

Now when I am working on something, I am in full-screen mode where all I can see is the work I am working on right now.

4. When at your desk, do work

We are creatures of habit. If we do our online shopping and news reading at our desks as well as our work, we will always have the temptation to be doing stuff that we should not be doing at that moment.

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Do your online shopping from another place—your home or from your phone when you are having a break—and only do your work when at your desk. This conditions your brain to focus in on your work and not other distractions.

5. Learn to say no

Whenever you hear the phrase “learn to say no,” it does not mean going about being rude to everyone. What it does mean is delay saying yes.

Most problems occur when we say “yes” immediately. We then have to spend an inordinate amount of energy thinking of ways to get ourselves out of the commitment we made.

By saying “let me think about it” or “can I let you know later” gives you time to evaluate the offer and allows you to get back to what you were doing quicker.

6. Turn off notifications on your computer

For most of us, we still use computers to do our work. When you have email alert pop-ups and other notifications turned on, they will distract you no matter how strong you feel.

Turn them off and schedule email reviewing for times between doing your focused work. Doing this will give you a lot of time back because you will be able to remain focused on the work in front of you.

7. Find a quiet place to do your most important work

Most workplaces have meeting rooms that are vacant. If you do have important work to get done, ask if you can use one of those rooms and do your work there.

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You can close the door, put on your headphones and just focus on what is important. This is a great way to remove all the other, non-important, tasks demanding your attention and just focus on one piece of work.

The bottom line

Focusing on one piece of work at a time can be hard but the benefits to the amount of work you get done are worth it. You will make fewer mistakes, you will get more done and will feel a lot less tired at the end of the day.

Make a list of the four or five things you want to get done the next day before you finish your work for the day and when you start the day, begin at the top of the list with the first item.

Don’t start anything else until you have finished the first one and then move on to the second one. This one trick will help you to become way more productive.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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