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10 Essential Hacks For Time Management

10 Essential Hacks For Time Management

Looking for useful time management hacks? Let’s look at ten easy hacks that you can use right away. Not only will they increase your productivity, they’ll also give you the confidence you need to achieve your goals.

1. Know Your Goals, and Organize Them by Their Value and Priority.

How many goals do you have? If you don’t have any goals, create at least one goal today. Goals are essential for effective time management. Perhaps you have too many goals. If so, organize them. You need one goal for each primary area of your life: a goal for your work or business, another for your health, and another to manage your finances, for example.

On any given day, one goal will have the most value and top priority. For many people, this is a work or a business goal. However, if you’re overweight, or have medical challenges, your health becomes your highest value goal, and your top priority. You can’t achieve anything, nor can you manage your time, if you’re in poor health.

2. Prioritize: Focus on One Important Task and Work on It Today.

You’ve created goals. However, you can’t “do” a goal. You can only do tasks that will lead to achieving your goal. Decide on your highest value goal, and work on an important task for that goal today.

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If you can, work on that task before you do anything else. Let’s say your most valuable goal today is improved health. Your most important task is to exercise. Get it done early. Many gyms open early, so you may be able to get your workout done before you go to work.

If your most valuable goal is a business goal, you’re aiming for promotion, for instance, then your one important task may be to complete a presentation. Get to work early, so you can get the presentation done before you read your emails.

3. Know Your Top Priority in Each Moment.

Prioritize your working day before you leave home in the morning. Your To Do list may be endless. Choose your top five tasks for the day, prioritize them, and work on them in order of priority.

If you’re not sure what to work on next, ask yourself what your top priority is in the moment. It’s rare that your top priority will be “Check Facebook.”

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4. Set a Dollar Value on Your Time.

Time management becomes easier if you know what an hour of your time is worth. If your time is worth $600 an hour, it’s useful to know that the 30 minutes you just spent on Facebook is worth $300.

If you’re not sure what your time’s worth, guess, or ask your boss. If you’re your own boss, you know how much it’s worth. Keep a time log so that you know where your time is going. Then cut down on useless activities.

5. Nothing’s Perfect. Just Get It Done. Your Best in That Moment Is OK.

You want to do your “best.” However, perfectionism wastes time. Nothing’s perfect. If you’re prone to perfectionism, be aware of it, and force yourself to let things go.

6. Get It Done in Half the Time You Think You Need.

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    If you’re a perfectionist, try setting hard deadlines. For example, let’s say it usually takes you three hours to complete a task. Set yourself a deadline of 90 minutes. You’ll be surprised that you usually complete the task within the deadline.

    7. Schedule Planning and Thinking Time Each Day.

    You’ll save many minutes each day when you have a prioritized task list and plan a project before you start working on it.

    Schedule time to plan your projects and tasks each day, either in the evening, or in the morning before you get to work. When you separate your planning time from your tasks’ execution, you get more done faster.

    8. Turn Big Goals Into Small Daily Tasks.

    As we’ve said, you can’t “do” goals. You can only do tasks. As soon as you set a goal, work out what it will take to achieve your goal. Then, turn those steps into projects and tasks. Create deadlines for each project, and create small daily tasks so you complete each project quickly.

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    9. If Someone Else Can Do It: Delegate.

    You’ve worked out how much an hour of your time is worth. Look at all the tasks you complete each day, and decide which ones you shouldn’t be working on. For example, let’s say you’ve set a dollar value on your time of $300 per hour. If it takes you an hour to go through your emails each day, is that the best use of your time? Perhaps you could outsource your email management.

    10. Set a Deadline for Every Project.

    We’ve discussed deadlines. Deadlines are essential. If someone else sets your deadlines, try setting your own deadline before the official deadline. This won’t be easy if you’re in an office where deadlines are looked on as general guidelines, but it will improve your time management.

    Try these time management hacks. They’re practical, and they work. You’ll be amazed at how much more productive you become.

    Featured photo credit: elcovs via Photopin via flickr.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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