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10 Practical Ways to Improve Your Time Management Skills

10 Practical Ways to Improve Your Time Management Skills

Do you often feel stressed out with too much of workload? As time passes by, do you feel like you have more tasks on hand than you have time to do them or you could have effectively use your time to complete all the given tasks?

The trick is to organize your tasks and use your time effectively to get more things done each day. This can help you to reduce stress and do better at workplace. Time management is a skill that takes time to develop and is different for each person. You just need to find what works best for you. Use few strategies listed below for few weeks and see if it can help you.

Here are 10 ways that you can use to improve your time management skills and increase productivity:

1. Delegate tasks

It is common for all of us to take more tasks than our desired potential. This can often result in stress and burnout.

Delegation is not running away from your responsibilities but is an important function of management. Learn the art of delegating work to your subordinates as per their skills and abilities and get more achieved: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

2. Prioritize work

Before the start of the day, make a list of tasks that need your immediate attention. Unimportant tasks can consume much of your precious time. Some tasks need to be completed on that day only while other unimportant tasks could be carried forward to next day.

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In short, prioritize your tasks to focus on those that are more important.

Here’s an effective technique to help you Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster.

3. Schedule tasks

Carry a planner or notebook with you and list all the tasks that come to your mind.

Make a simple ‘To Do’ list before the start of the day, prioritize the tasks and focus on the essentials. Make sure that these tasks are attainable too. 

To better manage your time management skills, you may think of making 3 lists: work, home and personal.

4. Set up deadlines

When you have a task at hand, set a realistic deadline and stick to it.

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Try to set a deadline few days before the task so that you can complete all those tasks that may get in the way. Challenge yourself and meet the deadline; reward yourself for meeting a difficult challenge.

To make setting and meeting deadlines work for you, learn these 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines.

5. Avoid procrastination

Procrastination is one of the things that badly affect productivity. It can result in wasting essential time and energy. It could be a major problem in both your career and your personal life.

Avoid procrastination at all cost, learn from this step-by-step guide on how to stop procrastinating.

5. Avoid stress

Stress often occurs when we accept more work than our ability. The result is that our body starts feeling tired which can affect our productivity.

Besides delegating tasks to your juniors to help reduce your burden, try these 5 Ways To Turn Stress Into Productivity.

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7. Avoid multitasking

Most of us feel that multitasking is an efficient way of getting things done but the truth is that we do better when we focus and concentrate on one thing. Multitasking hampers productivity and should be avoided to improve time management skills.

Make use of to-do lists and deadlines to help you stay focus! This way you can do better at what you’re doing. Find out more about how to stay focus in this guide: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity.

8. Start early

Most of the successful men and women have one thing in common — they start their day early as it gives them time to sit, think and plan their day. Here’s the reason why productive people always wake up early.

When you get up early, you are more calm, creative and clear-headed. As the day progresses, your energy levels starts going down which affects your productivity and you may not perform as well.

To wake up early, it’s actually easier than you thought, check out these 10 Simple Things Early Risers Do.

9. Take regular breaks

Whenever you find yourself for 10-15 minutes, take a break. Too much stress can take a toll on your body and affect your productivity.

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Even better, schedule your break times. It helps you to relax and gets back to work with energy again later.

Take a walk, listen to some music or do some quick stretches. The best idea is to take off from work and spend time with your friends and family.

10. Learn to say no

Politely refuse to accept additional tasks if you think that you’re already overloaded with work. Take a look at your ‘To Do’ list before agreeing to take on extra work.

If you have problems saying no, these 11 Ready Tips to Say No To Others will be useful for you.

Now that you’ve learned all these practical time management tips, start from listing out everything you need to do, prioritize them and decide what can delegate to others. Then schedule the tasks with deadlines set and schedule your break times too.

When you get clear about what’s on your plate, you’ll not get distracted by others and you’ll get more done in less time!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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How to Fight Information Overload

How to Fight Information Overload

Information overload is a creature that has been growing on the Internet’s back since its beginnings. The bigger the Internet gets, the more information there is. The more quality information we see, the more we want to consume it. The more we want to consume it, the more overloaded we feel.

This has to stop somewhere. And it can.

As the year comes to a close, there’s no time like the present to make the overloading stop.

What you need to do is focus on these 4 steps:

  1. Set your goals.
  2. Decide whether you really need the information.
  3. Consume only the minimal effective dose.
  4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming too much information.

But before I explain exactly what I mean, let’s discuss information overload in general.

The Nature of the Problem

The sole fact that there’s more and more information published online every single day is not the actual problem. Only the quality information becomes the problem. This sounds kind of strange…but bear with me.

When we see some half-baked blog post we don’t even consider reading it, we just skip to the next thing. But when we see something truly interesting — maybe even epic — we want to consume it. We even feel like we have to consume it. And that’s the real problem.

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No matter what topic we’re interested in, there are always hundreds of quality blogs publishing entries every single day (or every other day). Not to mention all the forums, message boards, social news sites, and so on. The amount of epic content on the Internet these days is so big that it’s virtually impossible for us to digest it all. But we try anyway.

That’s when we feel overloaded. If you’re not careful, one day you’ll find yourself reading the 15th blog post in a row on some nice WordPress tweaking techniques because you feel that for some reason, “you need to know this.”

Information overload is a plague. There’s no vaccine, there’s no cure. The only thing you have is self-control. Luckily, you’re not on your own. There are some tips you can follow to protect yourself from information overload and, ultimately, fight it. But first…

Why information overload is bad

It stops you from taking action. That’s the biggest problem here. When you try to consume more and more information every day, you start to notice that even though you’ve been reading tons of articles, watching tons of videos and listening to tons of podcasts, the stream of incoming information seems to be infinite.

Therefore, you convince yourself that you need to be on a constant lookout for new information if you want to be able to accomplish anything in your life, work and/or passion. The final result is that you are consuming way too much information, and taking way too little action because you don’t have enough time for it.

The belief that you need to be on this constant lookout for information is just not true.

You don’t need every piece of advice possible to live your life, do your work, or enjoy your passion.

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So how to recognize the portion of information that you really need? Start with your goals.

1. Set your goals

If you don’t have your goals put in place you’ll be just running around grabbing every possible advice and thinking that it’s “just what you’ve been looking for.”

Setting goals is a much more profound task than just a way to get rid of information overload. Now by “goals” I don’t mean things like “get rich, have kids, and live a good life”. I mean something much more within your immediate grasp. Something that can be achieved in the near future — like within a month (or a year) at most.

Basically, something that you want to attract to your life, and you already have some plan on how you’re going to make it happen. So no hopes and dreams, just actionable, precise goals.

Then once you have your goals, they become a set of strategies and tactics you need to act upon.

2. What to do when facing new information

Once you have your goals, plans, strategies and tasks you can use them to decide what information is really crucial.

First of all, if the information you’re about to read has nothing to do with your current goals and plans then skip it. You don’t need it.

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If it does then it’s time for another question. Will you be able to put this information into action immediately? Does it have the potential to maybe alter your nearest actions/tasks? Or is it so incredible that you absolutely need to take action on it right away? If the information is not actionable in a day or two (!) then skip it. (You’ll forget about it anyway.)

And that’s basically it. Digest only what can be used immediately. If you have a task that you need to do, consume only the information necessary for getting this one task done, nothing more.

You need to be focused in order to have clear judgment, and be able to decide whether some piece of information is mandatory or redundant. Self-control comes handy too … it’s quite easy to convince yourself that you really need something just because of poor self-control. Try to fight this temptation, and be as ruthless about it as possible – if the information is not matching your goals and plans, and you can’t take action on it in the near future then SKIP IT.

3. Minimal Effective Dose

There’s a thing called the MED – Minimal Effective Dose. I was first introduced to this idea by Tim Ferriss. In his book The 4-Hour Body,Tim illustrates the minimal effective dose by talking about medical drugs. Everybody knows that every pill has a MED, and after that specific dose no other positive effects occur, only some negative side effects if you overdose big.

Consuming information is somewhat similar. You need just a precise amount of it to help you to achieve your goals and put your plans into life. Everything more than that amount won’t improve your results any further. And if you try to consume too much of it, it will eventually stop you from taking any action altogether.

4. Don’t procrastinate by consuming more information

Probably one of the most common causes of consuming ridiculous amounts of information is the need to procrastinate. By reading yet another article we often feel that we are indeed working, and that we’re doing something good – we’re learning, which in result will make us a more complete and educated person.

This is just self-deception. The truth is we’re simply procrastinating. We don’t feel like doing what really needs to be done – the important stuff – so instead we find something else, and convince ourselves that “that thing” is equally important. Which is just not true.

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Don’t consume information just for the sake of it. It gets you nowhere.

In Closing

As you can see, information overload can be a real problem and it can have a sever impact on your productivity and overall performance. I know I have had my share of problems with it (and probably still have from time to time). But creating this simple set of rules helps me to fight it, and to keep my lizard brain from taking over. I hope it helps you too, especially as we head into a new year with a new chance at setting ourselves up for success.

Feel free to shoot me a comment below and share your own story of fighting information overload. What are you doing to keep it from sabotaging your life?

(Photo credit: Businessman with a Lot of Discarded Paper via Shutterstock)

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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