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7 Simple Time-Management Tips that Could Change Your Life

7 Simple Time-Management Tips that Could Change Your Life

In a world where we have so many devices at our fingertips to save us time, it seems ironic that people seem busier than ever. We always have stuff that needs to be done and a lot of us are constantly nagged by the feeling that we’re forgetting something.

Time is precious and we only have 24 hours a day. So how we spend that time is very important. In the never-ending resources full of time-management and productivity tips, here are 7 that I find most useful:

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1. Write out a to-do list every. single. day.

You’ve probably heard it before, but it’s so important. If you don’t have a daily to-do list, you’ll realize how important it is if you start keeping one with you every day. Put your most important tasks at the top of it to make sure that you at least get them done. Focus on just one task at a time and cross them off as you complete them; doing this keeps you more motivated.

2. Say “no” when you need to

If someone asks you to do something that you don’t have time for or don’t have the skills to do, don’t be afraid to say no. This can be hard if you’re a real people-pleaser, but it’s very important. You’ll be much better off if you learn to say no when you need to.

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3. Find your most productive time and do things then

We’re all either more “early bird” or “night owl.” If you find you’re more productive and do your best work in the morning, start waking up early to get things done. If you find you’re more productive at night, then do things then. If you’re more of an “afternoon” person, that’s fine too. Whatever works best for you!

4. Remember your goals

If you don’t have goals, then you should probably consider setting some. Not only do goals give you a bigger picture to work towards, they also make life more fulfilling and exciting. And remember to always keep your goals in mind. Make sure you’re doing something every day to move you closer to achieving them so you’re not wasting so much time.

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5. Try not to multitask unless it makes sense

This is a tough one for a lot of people. Working on two things at once – what’s wrong with that? It saves time, right? Wrong. Multitasking overwhelms your brain. It not only takes you longer to do the things you’re multitasking, it also lowers the quality of the work that you’re doing. So never multitask unless it doesn’t matter. Meaning, listening to podcasts while you’re driving, watching TV while you’re folding laundry, or other similar instances.

6. Eliminate non-essential tasks

I know this one is really a no-brainer, but it’s often overlooked. Do you need to spend hours on social media? Unless that somehow moves you closer to your goals, try to avoid doing it. When you’re writing out your daily to-do lists, only write down the essential tasks and stick to that list. This simple little tip will not only save you time and energy, it will also help you accomplish so much more.

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7. Get (and stay) organized

Studies have shown that clutter can actually affect your mind and your mood. So when you’re working in a messy, disorganized environment, it’s safe to say that your mind will feel messy and disorganized. Putting simple and easy organizational systems into place can totally change the way you work and how productive you are. So clean up your clutter, put a few filing systems into place, and try to stay organized. This will save you time and your sanity.

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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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