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Useful Time Management Tools And Tips To Gain More Time

Useful Time Management Tools And Tips To Gain More Time

Have you ever had the feeling that time runs out so fast and you can’t finish everything on time? Or sometimes you have a super long to-do list and you have no idea where to start with?

You’re not alone.

Fortunately there are a lot of time management tools that can help. And we’ve also prepared some practical time management tips plus some common mistakes people make.

Time management tools

Toggl: Keep track of your time

    Forget about the traditional timesheet. Toggl is the best tool for you to keep track of your time spent on different tasks. It consists of a timer and a dashboard which gives you an overview of how much time you have spent for different tasks in the past week.

    Panda Focus Mode: Stay Focused On Your Tasks

      Panda Focus Mode is an extension for you to stay focused on your daily tasks. You can simply enter your tasks to be finished on the day and then whenever you open a new tab, you will immediately see them as a reminder.

      Hocus Focus: Hide your inactive windows automatically

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        If you always open many apps and they often distract you from your work, you should try Hocus Focus. It is a Mac menu bar utility that hides your inactive windows.

        Forest: To beat internet addiction

          Forest is an interesting app that helps you to beat Internet addiction. When you press the button to plant a tree, you can’t switch to another app unless you give it up. It helps you to make good use of 30-minutes to fully concentrate on your work and finish it effectively.

          Trello: Organize Your Tasks Well

            Trello is a productive app allows a team of people to monitor on the same task together. You can categorize different tasks according to their natures. Everything is just at a glance.

            TimeTree: A neat overview of your schedule

              TimeTree is a user-friendly app allows you to arrange your schedule with your friends and family. You can share events with them so that you can discuss and confirm plans together. Sorting your schedules by updates allows you to review any updates instantly.

              Wunderlist: Clear to-do list with reminders

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                Are you looking for an app which allows you to create a comprehensive to-do list? Wunderlist might be the answer. It allows you to create different to-do lists and you can even add hashtags on each item of the lists.

                Todoist: Distraction-free to do list

                  Todoist has a simple and distraction-free design for you to stay focused and motivated. By breaking big tasks into smaller sub-tasks with multi-level, you can organize and review tasks in a better way. You can also easily add due dates using normal language, such as “monday at 2pm”.

                  Noizio: Ambient background sounds

                    Perhaps sometimes the noise of surroundings is the reason why you find it difficult to focus on your work. Here’s the solution: creating an ambient background sounds to find your comfort. You can even mix the sounds on your own.

                    Best time management tricks

                    Apart from the tools, there are also a number of tips that can make us much more productive.

                    Spend The First 90 Minutes On The Most Important Task

                    As our brain are most active in the morning, we should spend the first 90 minutes of the day on the most important task so that we can finish it efficiently. Stop doing trivial matters like scrolling the to-do list or checking emails in the morning. You would miss the golden time of getting things done.

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                    Have A Timesheet To Keep Track Of What You Have Done

                    A timesheet is the simplest and perhaps the best tool to have a clear picture of what you have done in each time slot.

                    By dividing your day into different time slots and filling in what you have done, you can compare the reality and the expectation. Did you finish your task as expected? Or did you spend too much time on it? And why? You might also see how much you have improved on your efficiency day by day.

                    Create A Stop-doing List

                    Instead of a to-do list, which most people have, a world-class productive person should have a stop-doing list.

                    You might find yourself spending too much time on things that don’t really matter. That’s probably the key to manage your time in a better way and become more efficient. Stop scrolling social media at work and quit doing all those meaningless things. These might be the items you would write on your list.

                    Set Time Limit

                    Work expands itself if we allocate more time to a task. That’s what the Pakinson’s law about. In other words, as Cyril Northcote Parkinson writes, [1]

                    If you give yourself a week to complete a one day task, then (psychologically speaking) the task will increase in complexity and become more daunting so as to fill that week.

                    So set time limit. If you can finish a task within an hour, then next time, try to finish it with 50 minutes. By allocating less time to a task, you would gradually figure out the actual time needed for you to finish it without wasting any time.

                    Identify Your Peak Hours And Schedule The Most Important Tasks For Those Hours

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                    Everyone has different working patterns. What’s important is to identify your own peak hours.

                    Our brain has limited attention span and it varies among people. So it’s important to organize your day around your body’s natural rhythms. Try to schedule your most important task for this period and work on minor tasks during your non-peak times. For example, arrange an appointment with a client during your peak hours and check emails during your non-peak times.

                    And Here Are The Don’ts:

                    Make Checking Email The First Thing To Do At Work

                    Checking email seems to be the vert first thing you have to do at work. But that’s not the case.

                    It is not the most important thing at work and it gives you an illusion that you’re achieving something. Think about it: what have you achieved actually after marking all emails read? Probably you have something more important to work on.

                    Multitask And Think That Would Make You More Efficient

                    Some people believe multitasking do work. But expert tells us that it brings harm to our brain: [2]

                    In fact, multitasking was found to increase the production of cortisol, a stress hormone, as well as adrenaline, which can overstimulate the brain and cause “mental fog”.

                    Put simply, the more information you have to handle, the less time you have to give it the thought it deserves. When you enter a “mental fog”, you start making poor decisions or responding irrationally. So don’t try to do research for an article and write it at the same time. This probably takes you a longer time.

                    Not Taking Breaks

                    Taking breaks is not a waste of time. In fact, it boosts our productivity.

                    As we know our brain has a limited attention span, there is no use in working for consecutively for a long period. After an hour or two, we begin to lose focus. That’s the time for you to take a little short break and give your brain some fresh air to recharge. Have a cup of tea or grab some snacks to eat. The valuable down-time enables you to think creatively and work effectively.

                    It is fair for everyone. Regardless of age, gender, occupation, and anything, everyone has 24 hours a day. But why some people can do that much within just a single day? The key is time management. With suitable tools and smart tricks, you can maximize your productivity and succeed in whatever your goal is.

                    Reference

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                    Sheba Leung

                    Translator. Sport lover. Traveler.

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                    Last Updated on September 18, 2020

                    How to Be More Self-Assured and Get More Done During the Week

                    How to Be More Self-Assured and Get More Done During the Week

                    Time is a great leveler isn’t it? We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Even if you’re self-assured, the day may never feel quite long enough.

                    Why is it that some people can be so much more productive and achieve so much more in a typical day, while others struggle to achieve anything apart from feeling time crunched and overwhelmed?

                    Everyone I know and work with wants to make the best use of their time. They want to learn how to be more self-assured, happier, and work less—all while growing in their career.

                    How effectively we use our time—and how we actually work in our business—can make a huge difference to the amount we accomplish in a day or week. It can also make us more focused and more confident.

                    Do you want to have more thinking and creative time? Do you want to spend more time working on your business rather than working at or in your business? In this article, we’ll show you how.

                    Get More Done by Gaining Confidence

                    What if you had a strategy for making the best use of your time that brings you more joy and allows you to focus on the biggest activities and opportunities in your business? You may find the following outline below to be helpful:

                    1. Create an Exciting Vision

                    If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know when you get there?

                    You want to be more productive and spend more time getting the right stuff done. Well, you need to create a compelling and exciting vision of your future.

                    What does this future look like? How will you feel when you get there?

                    Creating a new vision, especially one that is a lot bigger than where you are right now, has a way of igniting your passion. It may be something that feels hard to achieve, but every step you take towards that bigger vision will certainly build your confidence.

                    Create a vision board to feel more self-assured.

                      Commitment to this vision, and accomplishing continual daily progress depends on your ability to look at any situation you’re faced with or currently in, feel self-assured, and see something bigger ahead.

                      Also, when you know where you’re headed, you will instinctively start to see all the new opportunities and connections that will get you there.

                      Make a vision map to get you started on the path to better productivity. This doesn’t have to be fully actualized, but you should know at least what direction you are heading.

                      2. Build a Strategic Plan

                      Once you have your future vision mapped out, the next step is to build a strategic plan to get you there.

                      Your future vision may be for 3 years or 5 years, or you may choose a longer time frame. Any timeframe over 3 years may feel like a long way away.

                      You may wonder how you are ever going to feel confident and motivated on this bigger future years from now when you feel as though you have so much to accomplish today.

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                      The first step is to decide on some specific goals for the next 12 months. Don’t list too many or you may begin to feel overwhelmed.

                      The magic number for me and my clients is usually five annual goals.

                      These are big goals that will create massive change in your business and life and bridge your current situation to your bigger future; accomplishing these goals one by one will help to increase your confidence on a daily basis.

                      3. Get on Goal Planning

                      Get yourself a piece of blank paper and a pen and divide the paper into 4 columns: A, B, C, and D.

                      Ask yourself the question: What is great in my business and life right now? Write these things down in Column A. This might be a couple of things, five things, ten things, whatever feels right to you.

                      Then ask yourself: What things are happening right now that I don’t want in my future? Write these things down in Column B.

                      This is your opportunity to take a step back and look at the things that are simply not working. You may list people that are bringing you down or projects that you don’t want to work on any more. Maybe you’ll include a service offering that’s going nowhere. It could be the people you’re working with, or it could be your pricing.

                      Now, let’s look at your personal strengths. Write down everything that you’re great at in Column C.

                      These could be things that you’re doing right now and having success with. It could also be things you know you’re awesome at but you’re not spending enough time on.

                      Column D is for your biggest opportunities. Is there a new service/product you could offer your ideal customers? Is there a new innovation you could bring to market? Just take some time out and really think and list these things in Column D.

                      Once you’ve analyzed everything you’ve written down, take some time to really think about what goals you want to set for your business and life in the next 12 months.

                      4. Set Outcomes to Build Confidence

                      You now have your goals, and you’ll feel self-assured and raring to go. They are written down and you’re committed to achieving them. You feel self-assured and motivated.

                      But how do you ensure that you stay on the correct course to achieve these goals?

                      Managing and juggling day-to-day projects can get in the way. Dealing with problems can get in the way. Staying on top of orders, managing cash flow, and handling day-to-day stuff can move your ship off course.

                      You want to be productive and achieve your goals, but you also need to ensure the day and week runs smoothly.

                      One way to ensure this happens is to set 90 Day Outcome Goals; within those Outcome Goals, put some specific process goals that need to be undertaken.

                      Let’s say you want to get 10 more speaking jobs in the next 90 days, and you know that you typically convert 50% of opportunities.

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                      Therefore, your process goal needs to be to have 20 conversations in the next 90 Days to deliver the 10 new pieces of work. You will then work out who you can have those conversations with.

                      It’s smart to overshoot, so you will more easily hit your target. This is a clear plan to work through because with every win, your confidence will grow.

                      5. Completely Commit to Your Success

                      If you are not truly committed to achieving your goals, then chances are that you won’t reach them.

                      Motivation can only take you so far. It is the intentional commitment[1] and emotional investment in your future success that will move you forward.

                      Think back to any time that you really committed to achieving something. There must have been a reason you actually achieved what you set out to achieve. What motivated you?

                      Were you fully invested? Why did it matter? Did you have to be really courageous to achieve it?

                      How did it feel when you achieved it? What difference did it make?

                      When have you felt truly self-assured? When you are committed to something, then you are propelled into action. Your mindset is focused, and your body follows; you want to get it done.

                      And, when you do get it done, your confidence goes through the roof. You feel a level of certainty in achieving the goal you set out to accomplish.

                      6. Focus on Your Strengths

                      To feel self-assured and build up the confidence needed to achieve our biggest goals, we need to focus on our strengths.

                      What are you best at? What are your unique skills? You want to spend as much time as you can working in the areas that you’re great at.

                      Multiply your strengths. These areas are where you add the biggest value. They often bring you the biggest amount of joy, and you feel more and more confident when you are using your unique skills.

                      If you think there is a specific capability you need to learn or be better at, spend more focused time in that area.

                      Many of us want to do it all. We want to be good at everything. We want to offer a lot of services. But, in reality, there are some very specific things we are great at; nobody is good at everything!

                      Spending more time adding value in the areas where you excel can create breakthrough results and boost confidence.

                      7. Embrace the Present

                      Sometimes we spend so much time thinking about the future or worrying about the past that we forget the present moment[2].

                      Are you spending most of your day reacting to things, or have you taken the time to think about what your perfect day looks like?

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                      We all have the opportunity to create rather than react, to decide what we do with our day. All of our future success can be created in the present moment if we just take a step back and take action.

                      Sometimes, doing it now is more important than doing it perfectly. There are hidden opportunities in every moment. We need to make sure we don’t miss them if we want to feel self-assured.

                      8. Calm the Whirlwind

                      The day-to-day life in business and life can be hard, which leads us to feel less self-assured.

                      Your mind may be full to bursting with all of the things you feel you have to do. The phrase “I don’t have time” has almost become an instant reaction by so many people when new opportunities are presented.

                      There is a whirlwind happening inside our minds.

                      Appointments, notifications, tasks, phone calls, errands, cash flow, staffing issues, networking, marketing all can clutter up our timeline. The sheer volume of things we feel we should do creates procrastination, stopping us from pursuing the projects and people that matter.

                      Many of us feel we have to do everything within our business.

                      Rather than simplifying things and doing less, we do more. We work longer, which creates a lack of energy and focus. Because of this, we lose clarity on our biggest opportunities. If you feel this way, take some well-deserved time off.

                      Look at where you’re spending your time. How much of your time is being spent moving your ideas forward?

                      In the next 90 days, if you could delegate or outsource more daily tasks and spend more time focusing on where you add the biggest value, what difference would it make?

                      Calm the whirlwind by slowing down and doing less.

                      Focus on areas that you add the biggest amount of value. By doing this, your energy levels will increase, your confidence will grow and you will have more success.

                      9. Take More Time off

                      This may seem counterintuitive, but taking more time off to recharge and refocus can pay huge dividends.

                      If you are constantly fighting fires and caught up in the myriad of different activities that you have to do each day, then how can you move your business forward?

                      You may be being pulled in difference directions without any focused time on your biggest projects. If that’s the case, then it’s almost impossible to gain any real momentum in moving your business forward and hitting your goals.

                      The best way to get off that treadmill is to take more creative time out of the business.

                      Could you realistically take one day off per month to work on your business? If you could, what would you do with this time?

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                      Just imagine no distractions, only focused time on the strategic development and growth of your business.

                      Every day off per month could have a different focus: New product innovation; Thinking about your biggest clients; Improving operations.

                      Add to this a quarterly review to check in with your goals progress, and this could have a dramatic effect on where you spend your valuable time.

                      10. Celebrate Wins

                      Sometimes you just want to get through the day, right?

                      You have so much to do. There are so many things on your task list that you just complete what you can and then start another day. But what would happen if, at the end of each day, you took some time out to look at what you’ve accomplished?

                      Celebrating success keeps you motivated and helps you become more self-assured. It is not just another day. It’s a day that included things that should be celebrated.

                      If you’re struggling to feel motivated, try celebrating a couple of wins each day.

                      Celebrating success combined with the gratitude you have for achieving those wins will boost your confidence and inspire you for the next day.

                      11. Give Yourself More Space

                      When was the last time you gave yourself time to think?

                      Within the hustle and bustle, it can be difficult to give yourself a little bit of space and time to just think[3].

                      Imagine giving yourself just an hour a day to just let your mind wander or think about a specific thing.

                      If you think about it, we can all free up an hour a day for something without really losing any efficiency or really impacting our business.

                      In fact, that hour could be transformational for your business and life.

                      A new idea for a product could form, or an idea for adding value to your existing clients could materialize. Perhaps you could do a check in to your ideal future and your goals. You could decide that you want to take your business in a new direction.

                      Try this: Just sit alone for an hour with a notebook and let it be your creative thinking time. See what happens.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Ultimately, being self-assured happens when you have a clear direction.

                      This, coupled with having clear goals and working in your unique skill-set, gives you the biggest opportunity to be more productive and get more of the right things done.

                      The old mantra that “less is more” is right on the money. By giving yourself more time to work on your goals, you will inevitably increase your confidence; at this point, your ideal future can be anything you want it to be.

                      More on How to Be Self-Assured

                      Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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