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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 February 18, 2019

    How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

    How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

    These days, in a world with cognitive, AI, and extraordinary advances, we have failed at the most basic stimulus: motivation. Why do I say so? Just take a look at these statistics:

    58 percent of managers said they didn’t receive any management training as per a CareerBuilder.com survey. Only 12% of employees leave their jobs because of more money. Research indicates that around 80% of employees leave their jobs due to “lack of appreciation”. Due to fear of failing, more than half of American workers don’t take their paid vacations. 53% of Americans are unhappy at work (not engaged). And 1 in 3 are working in a field they don’t like.[1]

    Archaic people management and HR structures are the root cause.

    “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    So how to motivate employees and boost team productivity?

    Here are 3 key things that you can do to motivate your employees and boost team productivity:

    1. Run Your Team/Group/Company like a Lean Startup

    The Lean Startup phenomena by Eric Ries has been socialized across millions all over the globe. In a nutshell, it is a methodology for developing businesses and products, which aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable; this is achieved by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning.[2]

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    Encourage Your Employees

    When you empower your employees (or family members) to do what they deem to be best for a particular roadblock, idea, or improvement, you create magic. You create genuine trust. You enable innovation. The result is happy, inspired employees who feel they have a say in the grand cosmic stage at work.

    Note that increasing the competency level of employees and coaching and mentoring them along the way is key. You yourself, need to do the same. Nourish your brain – and get a mentor that will keep you at the edge of your game.

    Offer Rewards

    Motivation is also intrinsic. The startups I have worked at offered instant rewards — not just fat checks or equity increments, but Oscar-style nominations.

    The non-monetary rewards were actually more coveted, and grandiose: lunch with the CEO, tickets to an Obama fund-raiser, horse-back riding with a world-class equestrian.

    Compare this to a dodgy, corporate, white-cubicle dinosaur that had a “yearly performance review” where both parties dread the conversation. In a world of instant WhatsApp messages, having a conversation about performance, likes and dislikes cannot just happen annually in 60 minutes. Employees need to be rooted in the belief that their manager genuinely cares about them.

    Give Autonomy

    Another key attribute is autonomy. Most employees start brushing their resumes and cruising LinkedIn when their hands are tied in their current positions: approval forms, long meetings, escalations, and more meetings. In the world of agile and scrum masters, deliberating for the sake of deliberating is poison. You will choke the very employees that giddily accepted the job initially to “change the world”.

    Within a reasonable realm of assessment and deep-dives, trust your employees to do the heavy lifting. Give them access to the knowledge, people and resources that help them directly make the choices that will shape the future of your team, and your company.

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    Eliminate yourself as the bottleneck – and interject yourself as a benevolent, servant leader that is the symbol of high-performing organizations.

    2. Apply the 90/90/1 Rule

    I recently saw a video by Deepak Sharma (a leadership adviser) about productivity and this principle stuck with me. Here’s what it’s about:

    Devote the First 90 Minutes of Your Day to Important Project

    For the next 90 days, devote the first 90 minutes of your day to your most important project—nothing else. Do this for yourself and your employees.

    We usually get sucked into the most wasteful, operational activities in the morning which robs our focus, and steers us into an unwanted rabbit hole. So mute your notifications, avoid the temptation to check your exploding inbox, and scroll your Instagram feed later. Instead, focus on that ONE thing that will provide real value to you, your team, or your business/company/home.

    Apply this rule to yourself – and your team. Your team will thank you. Note: If you’re feeling really stretched for time, you can always hack the rule by testing out a “45/45/1” version.

    A To Do Scheduling System

    Another version of this is to use the Kanban concept, developed by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota. Kanban is a scheduling system employing boards and cards.

    The most basic version is a canvas with “To-do”, “Doing”, and “Done” boards (or columns). Each activity or task is a “card” that moves from one column to the other. I use Trello (a Kanban-inspired app) that is a key system for my personal and professional life. It allows me to understand my workload, their priority, and due dates.

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    I use importance and effort metrics (scores) for each task to understand what is truly necessary in my life to work on. It negates the FIFO (first-in, first out) paradox that has plagued millions of people. Instead, it allows me to take stock of what is on my plate, and then bite on what truly will move the needle for me, my team, my life, and my company.

    With a limited appetite (at least for some), would you eat the veggies, fries, mashed potatoes and leave the sizzling steak? No, you wouldn’t (unless you are a vegan and ended up in the wrong restaurant).

    Approach your work with a weighted vengeance – and encourage your team to do the same.

    3. Align Passion and Skills to Purpose

    The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, and gives you a sense of meaning, joy and passion.

    “The most fortunate people on earth are those who have found a calling that’s bigger than they are—that moves them and fills their lives with constant passion, aliveness, and growth.” — Richard Leider

    An ace team-member once told me that while she enjoys working for the company we both used to work at, she really hated anything to do with technology. She was more of a “people” person, and did not want to sit behind a desk sifting through lines of code.

    What struck me was that she was in that role for more than a decade and had just spoken up. The good thing is she spoke up. She expressed her desire and interests. And it allowed her to get into a role of her liking within 30 days.

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    Ask If They like What They’re Doing

    If you, or a team member is frustrated, demotivated, or not performing at their best – one of the questions you should ask is whether they like what they are doing. Then genuinely try to help them get to the role they should be in (whether in the same team/company or not).

    There’s a reason why 53% of Americans (and perhaps more or same across the globe) are unhappy at work. A butcher cannot be an ace salad maker. Pursue your passion – and help pave the way for your team. Unlock your potential and theirs. You will command and lead a supercharged team.

    “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

    The Bottom Line

    Sometimes, passion has to be ignited. It is dormant, clouded by busy-ness, buried by wrong career choices, and plagued by non-supportive eco-systems. Some will climb out of it, but we as society — and in the case of business teams — incumbent upon the manager/CEO/leader to foster, grow, and nurture the employee.

    Teach her the ropes. Show her the path. Advise him as you would yourself. Let them lead, and make mistakes. Do not fear them, rather make them the leader you would want to become.

    For your not-so-great team members, understand that it is not personal, it is just not a good fit. Help them move on to the pastures they would be fit to graze on. Hence, hire slow (and fire fast).

    Your team is a reflection of you. Boosting their confidence and helping them achieve the impossible is motivation. Focus on that, and you will have a productive team that you and your company will be proud of.

    More Resources About Team Management

    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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