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Last Updated on December 14, 2020

What Is Time Management and How To Manage Your Time Wisely

What Is Time Management and How To Manage Your Time Wisely

Time is money, isn’t it?

If you learn to manage your time efficiently, you can conquer any task in the world. From inner peace to productivity to work efficiency, time management is the one skill that can help you achieve them all.

So what does all of this mean and how can you achieve it?

Read on to find out everything you need to know.

What is Time Management?

The term ‘time management’ is pretty self-explanatory:

It means managing your time.

At the end of the day, all you got are 24 hours.

Of these, at least 6 to 9 hours are spent sleeping, as recommended by experts.[1] A couple of hours are used to prep and eat meals. Add in 3 to 4 hours of commute, being stuck in traffic, and other minor unexpected challenges.

So, all you are left with is 10 to 12 hours or sometimes even less.

Within this time, you need to complete your work tasks, study, manage a hobby, take care of yourself, socialize, and spend time with your family. Events and special occasions are a whole other story.

How does one cope with so much in such little time?

The art of doing this without losing your mind is exactly what time management is.

Why Does Time Management Matter?

Fortunately, or unfortunately, you cannot choose to skip time management.

Living in a social world also means having some responsibilities. Without fulfilling these, you cannot survive.

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You have to work to earn money. You need money to be able to eat. If you do not eat, you will starve to death. If you completely isolate yourself, your mental health will suffer. You have to have some source of entertainment to keep your mind fresh.

This is why time management matters. You have to learn to cope with time restraint for your own good.

Without time management, you will only stress yourself out. You will have to sacrifice a meaningful life, which results in everything going downhill, mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Therefore, you are the one who needs to manage time like a pro.

Find out more about why time management matters: When Does Time Management Matter Most?

Time Management Techniques

No matter how elaborate your to-do list is or how minimal your time is, if you follow the right techniques, there is always enough room to fulfill your tasks in one day.

1. Delegation

Delegation is a remarkable technique to manage huge projects at work. It is specifically suited for work-related tasks. This technique requires the distribution of minor tasks among a group of people to achieve bigger goals in the end.

If you aim to create a digital marketing campaign, you can break the task down into several components. Assign individual, small tasks to different employees so that everyone can work simultaneously to produce a great campaign in minimal time.

If one person were to work on an entire project, it will take weeks to develop. However, with the delegation, this project can be done within hours.

Learn more about how to delegate effectively: What Is Delegation and How Does It Enhance Team Management?

2. Prioritizing

Sometimes, when you have a lot to do and little time to do it, you may dive right into the workload without thinking about it first.

Never do this.

First, go through your list of tasks for the day and prioritize. This way, even if you run out of time by the end of the day, you will not be missing out on anything super important.

The best way to use this technique is by learning how to prioritize, especially when everything seems to be equally important and you do not have hours to ponder on the list.

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Take a look at how to prioritize right: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

3. Block Scheduling

What is a better way to manage time than creating a schedule? And not just any schedule, but a block schedule.

So what you do it divide your time into blocks of hours or minutes however you want.

Then you assign one task to each block.

The main aim is to tackle fewer tasks per day but get done with them within the assigned time-frame. This is a method to keep the brain focused.

If you do a little bit of everything every day, your brain will be all over the place. Therefore, block scheduling technique recommends getting on with one thing, finishing, and then moving onto the next.

Learn more about block scheduling: How to Boost Your Productivity with Block Scheduling

4. Stay Focused

Truth be told, if you could keep yourself focused, you can finish any task faster.

A major part of time management is utilizing every single second productively. You can do this best if your mind is focused on the task at hand and without any distractions.

There are little things you can incorporate in your routine to improve your focus, such as choosing a structured environment to work on. Here’s how: How to Stay Focused and Not Get Distracted

5. Overcome Procrastination

Having 10 hours to do 10 things might sound impossible.

But the truth is that you can very easily squeeze in all the necessary tasks within this time-frame if you stop wasting your time.

Believe it or not, procrastination is the biggest enemy of time management.

You probably already knew that. But what you may not know is how to overcome this bad habit.

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Well, you will have to start by identifying when you are procrastinating. You can follow guides available online to stop procrastinating and improve your productivity.

However, one thing you must keep in mind is that it takes a conscious effort to eradicate procrastination from your routine. You will have to figure out when you are doing it and then forcefully stop yourself from putting off important things.

Here you can learn some tips on overcoming procrastination: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

6. Learn to Say No

Just because you are learning to tackle more in less time does not mean you should over-burden yourself.

Once again, prioritize what you are assigned with. If something is out of your job description, not your passion, or not manageable for you, simply say no.

It may come out as rude, and you may feel a pang of guilt. But, you can always learn to say no in a polite way to tackle both these issues without causing any extra stress to yourself.

Find it difficult to say no? This article can help: How to Say No When You Feel You Can Only Say Yes

7. Use the Pomodoro Method

The Pomodoro method is a technique of working in short intervals.[2]

Basically, you set a 25-minute timer and focus on the single task at hand without any distractions.

After one Pomodoro, or 25-minute interval, is over, you take a break of no longer than 5 minutes.

The 5-minute break is enough to recharge your productivity but not long enough to break your work tempo. It gives your mind the satisfaction of taking a break without letting your brain lose its trail of focus.

Moreover, after 4 Pomodoros, you can treat yourself to a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes. You can indulge in a small activity, eat a snack or simply relax. This is an excellent way to keep you from getting bored with tasks that you have been working on for a long time already.

By setting a timer, you are giving your brain a direction. Your mind knows that it has to focus on one thing for a set amount of time.

You can also view the 5-minute break as a treat for your mind looks forward to. Hence, you boost your overall focus and productivity.

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Find out Why the Pomodoro Method Is the Best Productivity Timer.

Useful Tools and Resources to Master Time Management

Sometimes, just knowing is not enough.

Constant reminders, a budge here and there, and a support system are necessary to keep you pushing on the right track.

This is where time management tools come to the rescue.

Your brain may agree with everything you have read so far. But constant repetition is needed to imprint this on your mind to make it a habit. This is why time management guides and books are lifesavers.

Here is a long list of relevant time management books that can help you out in this regard: 10 Best Time Management Books for Maximized Productivity 

Each one has a different approach and suits different individuals’ reading and learning styles. Choose whichever one you like best, and take advantage of an expert’s opinion.

Now, even when your mind has all the knowledge, you still might not be able to manage time well enough. This is why you need the help of applications.

Certain applications serve the purpose of accountability while others keep your to-do list organized to save you the stress.

Some apps, like Focus Booster, focus on the Pomodoro Technique. So, if you find that to be useful, an app like this one will help you save a lot of time.

Similarly, some tools will allow you to record how much time you are wasting and where you spend the rest of your time. Once you have this information in front of you, you can then prioritize and shift your routine to accommodate more productivity.

Summary

If you want an organized, stress-free life without compromising your relationships, work-life or mental health, you should start applying these recommended time management techniques in your work and personal life.

Download applications that will boost your productivity, and read books that encourage you towards a better life.

Conclusively, you are the one in control of how your life goes by.

Luckily, it is pretty easy to follow along with these tips, and anyone can avail of their benefits.

More Time Management Tips

Featured photo credit: Simon Daoudi via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] HelpGuide: Sleep Needs
[2] Francesco Cirillo: The Pomodoro Technique

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on February 17, 2021

50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

If you feel like you don’t have enough time to do everything you want to do, maybe it’s time to check-in with your time management skills.

No one is born to be very good at time management, so that’s okay if you think you’re bad in it. But everyone can learn to boost their productivity and achieve more!

Here are 50 ways to increase productivity and add hours to your day.

1. Set a Timer

Estimate the time you need to tackle different tasks and set a timer for each of your tasks. How you go about this is up to you as there are many different ways. There is the Pomodoro technique where you focus on a task for 25 minutes followed by a five minute break afterwards.

In the event that you have a task that will take much longer than that, you can consider one of the many timer-based apps. One that comes to mind is Clockify. It’s used for freelancers and entrepreneurs alike, however it’s a good way to be setting yourself a timer. It provides reports and you can serve as a project manager of sorts too. Best of all, it’s free.

2. Eliminate All Distractions

Distractions include the phone, email notifications and having multiple web browsers open on the desktop. Just as it’s important to be organized offline, it’s key to have things organized online as well. This free guide End Distractions And Find Your Focus is a good tool to help you. With this guide, you’ll learn how to get rid of distractions and boost productivity. Grab your free guide here.

You can also learn more on how to get rid of all distractions in this guide: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

3. Listen to Music That Boosts Productivity

Distractions should be avoided, but sometimes a bit of music in the background can help you focus.

Of course, it doesn’t need to be heavy rock music, but a bit of Beethoven may do you some good.

Here’s a complete guide to help you pick the right music for better productivity: How To Maximize Your Productivity With Music: A Complete Guide

4. Find Meaning in What You Do (And Love What You Do)

Enjoying what you do is the ultimate way to increase your productivity.

If you aren’t sure what you love doing yet, don’t worry. Leo Babauta has some unique ways to help you: How to Find Your Passion

5. Prioritize your tasks ahead of time.

By listing your tasks in order of importance, you can make sure that you finish all of your most important tasks during the day.

Learn a unique technique to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster.

6. Batch Similar Tasks into a Single Batch.

Tasks like blog writing, phone calls, email and errands can be grouped into a single batch. You will save time by completing similar tasks in one session. One way to help you with organizing all of those things is through the app Todoist. It’s an easy and simple way for you to plan out your day, set reminders, and group all of your most important tasks in a convenient spot.

7. Complete Your Most Dreaded Tasks First Thing in the Morning.

Whichever activity you are dreading the most is probably the one you need to complete first thing in the morning.

Many people tend to check emails in the morning because after checking a list of emails, they feel fulfilled. But that’s just an illusion of having achieved more.

Doing simple tasks like checking emails first in the morning is bad for you. Instead, do the difficult tasks because you have more energy in the morning to tackle them!

8. Reward Yourself for Finishing a Big Task

To stay motivated for whatever you do, reward yourself every now and then.

Keep track of your small wins and milestones and celebrate them. So whenever you struggle about your progress, you see how far you’ve come!

Find out more about this 2-Step Approach to Self-Motivation: Track Small Wins and Reward Yourself.

9. Don’t Multitask

Research has shown that multitasking is not productive. If you think you can multitask, think again.

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For optimum productivity, focus on one thing at a time.

10. Step Away from the Computer

The Internet has become one of the number one distraction. To increase your productivity, try to do as much of your work offline as possible.

I do this a lot when I try to brainstom new ideas and have found it to be very beneficial to simply unplug.

11. Use Focus Tools

Make good use of apps and technology to help you remove distractions.

Here’re 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools to help you stay focused. This way, you’re not distracted by the web, e-mail, or IM.

Also, join the free Fast-Track Class – Overcoming Distraction, and you’ll learn the one simple method to work even when you’re surrounded by distractions. Join the free session now!

12. Just Start

Often times, starting is the hardest part. People tend to wait for the perfect time with perfect condition to start. But there’s no perfect condition.

Once you get going, you will quickly get into a rhythm that could last for hours.

13. Find out Your Productive Hours

Everyone has a certain time of the day in which they are more productive than others. For me, it’s the morning.

Find out when your prime time is for productivity and optimize your work schedule accordingly.

14. Keep a Notebook and Pen on Hand at All Times

This way, you can write down your thoughts, to-dos and ideas at any time. The key is to get everything out of your head and onto paper. Your subconscious mind won’t be reminding you about it every other second. Another consideration is getting the app Evernote. Not only does this save you on ink and paper, Evernote is a convenient place for you to jot down notes and thoughts and then share them with the team. In certain circumstances, this can prove useful if you’re the type of person that has a lot of ideas that you want to share.

15. Write a Blog to Chronicle Your Own Personal Development and Achievements

The blog keeps you accountable and always working towards self improvement and personal growth.

When you write down all the small achievements you’ve been having, you’re also more motivated to move forward.

And you know what, this is how I started Lifehack too! What also helped me in starting Lifehack is WordPress, which allows people to set up a website for free. WordPress has simplified a lot of the process of building a site to the point that virtually anyone can build a website now.

16. Write out a To-Do-List Each Day

I like to plan my day the night before. This way, I can get started on my most important tasks as soon as I wake up. The Full Life Planner is a nice tool to help you organize your days and get things that matter done. Check out the planner here and start to plan your day ahead easily!

Make sure you don’t make any of these common to-do-list mistakes!

17. Write Your Most Important Tasks and To-Dos on a Calendar.

The key to good time management is knowing where to be and what to be doing there at any given time. Effective calendar management goes hand in hand with good task list management.

Learn here How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space.

18. Reflect on Your Productivity Constantly

As you go throughout your day, repeatedly ask yourself:

“Am I currently making the best possible use of my time?”

This one simple question can be an excellent boost to your productivity.

19. Get up Early Before Anyone Else

I know it could be difficult for some to wake up early in the morning but nothing beats a quiet house!

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Here’s How to Start Your Day at 5:00 AM and some Simple Things Early Risers Do to make waking up early easier.

20. Get Plenty of Sleep

When you work online, sleep can become a long lost memory. However, it’s important to get plenty of sleep so that your working hours can be as productive as possible.

Try out this night routine which I highly recommend for productivity: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

21. Exercise

Research has shown that midday exercise boosts productivity and morale in the workplace.

Take a short walk at lunch or do some simple stretches during your break to maximize your productivity.

Here I have some exercises recommendations for you:

22. Outsource as Much as Possible

If you want to achieve more in less time, learn to delegate or outsource work. Here are just a few of the companies that will help you outsource your everyday tasks:

Also, read this guide to learn how to delegate effectively: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

23. Set Some Exciting Goals

Without worthy goals, you will never be motivated to get things done.

Set goals that are challenging and achievable. The best goal setting framework is a SMART goal. That said, there are other tools that can help you out as well. For example, The Dreamers’ Guide To Reaching Your Goal is a great guide to help you set and reach goals effectively. Grab your free guide and learn how to make your goals happen this year!

24. Tell Other People About Your Goals

When you tell others about your goals, you will instantly be held accountable.

25. Listen to Podcasts

Listen to educational podcasts or audio books while you’re driving to work, cleaning the house, exercising, or cooking dinner.

Audio learning has the power to add hours to your day. Not to mention, your cranium is sure to thank you for it.

Some recommendations for you: 11 Podcasts To Inspire Yourself

26. Read David Allen’s best-selling book Getting Things Done

This is one of the most important productivity books you will ever read. Read it, apply the tips in your daily lives and get more things done.

Here’re more great books about productivity too: 35 Books on Productivity and Organizational Skills for an Effective Life

27. Learn to Speed Read

When you can read faster, you will read and learn more! Check out these 10 Ways to Increase Your Reading Speed.

You can also make use of the app OutRead to help speed up your reading speed!

28. Learn to Skip When You Read

When you’re reading a book, just read the parts that you need and skip the rest. But you have to read with a purpose.

Learn how to make it work here: How to Read 10X Faster and Retain More

29. Focus on Result-Oriented Activities

Pareto’s law (also known as the 80 20 rule) states that 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. This means that 20% of our actions result in 80% of the results.

We must find the 20% that is creating the 80% of our desired outcomes and focus solely on those activities.

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30. Take a Break

You can’t always be working at optimum productivity. Instead, you should shoot for working in short bursts at your most productive times.

31. Start a Polyphasic Sleep Schedule

What is polyphasic sleep?

Polyphasic sleep is a sleep pattern specification intended to compress sleep time to 2-5 hours daily.[1] This is achieved by spreading out sleep into short (around 20-45 minute) naps throughout the day. This allows for more waking hours with relatively high alertness.

While you can learn more about it here, you’re recommended to take some naps during the day to recharge your energy too.

32. Learn to Say “No”.

We can’t do everything and therefore we must learn when to say no in order to save our sanity.

Learn the Gentle Art of Saying No from Leo Babauta.

33. Go on an Information Diet

Most of the world lives on information overload. We must eliminate mindless Internet surfing.

Stop reading three different newspapers a day and checking your RSS feeds multiple times a day. Otherwise, you’ll never get anything done.

The key is to limit yourself only to information that you can immediately take action on. Here’re some simple tips you can try: 10 Simple Productivity Tricks To Manage Overloaded Information

34. Organize Your Office

The piles of paper around your desk can be a huge barrier on your productivity. Optimize your time by organizing your office, setting up a system and dumping the junk.

Check out these 21 Tips to Organize Your Office and Get More Done and 20 Easy Home Office Organization Ideas to Boost Your Productivity.

35. Find a Mentor

By modeling after those who have already achieved success, you will save yourself a lot of time and energy.

A good mentor is hard to find, so here’s a guide to help you: What to Look for in a Mentor

36. Learn Keyboard Shortcuts

With technology’s help, you can double your work efficiency. Even better, you learn all the shortcuts when using technology, for example keyboard shortcuts.

When you use keyboard shortcut, you gain 64 hours every year!

Not sure what shortcuts to lear? Check out these 22 Tricks That Can Make Anyone A Keyboard Ninja.

Besides learning the shortcuts, you can also create keyboard shortcuts with AutoHotKey.

37. Improve Your Typing Speed to Save Time

Do you know you can save 21 days per year just by typing fast?

You don’t really need to take some serious courses to type faster, try these typing games online:

38. Work from Home and Avoid the Daily Commute

If your job is a flexible one, consider working from home. This saves you the commute time and you’ll find yourself more energetic throughout the day as you have saved the long ride.

Take a look at these tips to help you stay productive while working from home:

How to Work from Home and Stay Ultra-Productive

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39. Get Rid of Time Wasters

Common time wasters include Instant Messenger, video games, Flickr, checking your stats 10 times a day, television and extraneous Internet surfing.

Don’t rely on your willpower, make use of some of these useful tools to help you stay focus: 10 Online Apps for Better Focus

40. Plan Your Meals in Advance

Plan out all of your meals a week ahead and make your grocery list accordingly. This allows you to focus on the necessary – saving you time and money. You can also save yourself even more time through a wide variety of apps. One app that I find helpful is Mealime. It’s an app that provides you with a wide selection of recipes and also a convenient spot for your grocery list as well.

Considering the fact that over 4 million users have this app, it goes to show that there is a good selection of meal plans that you can follow and that the app is friendly to use.

41. Cook Your Meals in Bulk

When you cook your meals in bulk, you will have plenty of leftovers. This can avoid having to cook everyday.

Find out more about how to make cooking in bulk works: Once a Month Cooking: Productivity Hack or Overrated Time Suck?

42. Protect Yourself from Unnecessary Phone Time with Caller ID

The minutes you spend on picking up unnecessary phone calls are time wasted. You can prevent that from happening.

Check out this detailed guide how you can deal with those unnecessary phone calls: How To Lose the Useless Items that Weigh Down Your Day – Cellphone Calls

43. Take Shorter Showers

This one may sound silly but it’s actually something I struggle with. I spend up to 30 minutes in the shower. Think of the time I could save simply by speeding up a bit.

44. Save the Trips to Bank by Taking Direct Deposit

Many employers now offer direct deposit. If yours does, then be sure and take advantage of it and save yourself from a number of trips to the bank.

45. Auto Pay Your Bills

How many times have you been worried about whether you missed the bills deadline?

Auto paying your bills will save you time and eliminate late fees and increased interest rates.

46. Shop Online

Whenever possible, avoid going to the store. When you shop online, you can be more focus about what you’re getting.

47. Speed up your Internet With a Broadband Connection

Many people are aware of the slow speed of internet but aren’t doing anything about it. In fact, this is the number one Internet time-saver!

If you must use dial-up, then you can use accelerators like Propel and SlipStream to double or even triple your speed.

48. Keep up the Speed of Your Computer

If you’re a Windows user, use Windows hibernation feature to avoid the slowdown of exiting and restarting Windows.

Or maybe, consider switching to Mac as there’re plenty of Advantages You Probably Don’t Know About Switching To Mac From PC.

49. Turn off the TV

The average American watches more than 4 hours of television every day. Over a 65-year life, that’s 9 years glued to the tube.

For better health and productivity, turn off the TV. Here’re 11 more reasons to tell you to stop watching TV so often.

Turn off the TV and you are sure to get more out of life.

50. Use a Tivo or DVR

This can help you cut an hour-long television show down to just 40 minutes. You can save time while not missing the fun.

So, here’s the ultimate list of techniques you should learn to boost productivity. Pick the techniques that work for you and make them your daily habits. As time goes, you’ll find yourself being a lot more productive.

More Time Management Tips

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

[1] Medical News Today: What is biphasic and polyphasic sleep?

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