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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

10 Practical Ways to Improve Time Management Skills

10 Practical Ways to Improve 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 lower stress level 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.

Here are 10 ways that you can use to improve 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: The Careful Art of Delegation

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 urgent 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 important 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.

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.

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

5. Overcome 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 and stop procrastinating: What Is Procrastination (And the Complete Guide to Stop Procrastinating)

6. Deal with Stress Wisely

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.

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 techniques.

Make use of to-do lists and deadlines to help you stay focus! This way you can do better at what you’re doing.

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If you have a lot of tasks to handle, try these techniques: 9 Tips on Multitasking Management That Will Improve 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: This is Why Productive People Always Wake Up So 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 stop dragging from bed and start waking up energetically, take a look at this guide: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

9. Take Regular Breaks

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

And 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.

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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 tips from Leo Babauta will be useful for you: The Gentle Art of Saying No

Final Thoughts

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 be more focused and get more done in less time!

Good time management requires daily practice of prioritizing tasks and organizing them in a way that can save time while achieving more. Use the above strategies for few weeks and see if they can help you!

If you want more recommendations on improving different aspects of productivity, check these out:

Articles Recommendations:

Books Recommendations:

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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Rinkesh Kukreja

The founder of Conserve Energy Future, trying to educate people how to save energy and sharing entrepreneurship and management tips

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

15 Best Productivity Hacks for Procrastinators

15 Best Productivity Hacks for Procrastinators

Let me guess.

You should be doing something else rather than reading this article. But due to some unknown force of nature, you decided to procrastinate by reading an article about how to hack procrastination. You deserve a pat on the back.

Fortunately, procrastination is not a disease. It’s just a mindset that can be changed, however, here are some productivity tips you need to start getting work done:

First, you need to acknowledge that procrastinating is an unhealthy habit. Not only you’re prioritizing unimportant things, basically, nothing gets done. Still unsure if you’re a procrastinator? Check out this article: Types of Procrastination (And How To Fix Procrastination And Start Doing)

Second, your commitment to change is very important. You should be physically, emotionally, and mentally determined to change this habit. If not, then you’ll just succumb to the tempting lure of doing other things rather than your tasks or chores.

Here are sthe best productivity hacks to improve productivity and keep yourself from procrastinating at work:

1. Give (10+2)*5 a Try

Let’s start with a classic but very effective hack called (10+2)*5 created by Merlin Mann,[1] author of 43Folders.com. Don’t worry. This is not a complicated Mathematical formula you need to solve.

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The (10+2)*5 simply means 10 minutes work + 2 minutes break multiplied by 5, completing 1 hour. It is crucial to stick with the time limits and not skipping work and break schedules. The point of this is for you to create a jam-packed routine of work and break schedules. The result? You will eventually skip your break schedules.

2. Use Red and Blue More Often

Clean your desk and remove things that might distract you. According to a Science Daily study[2] about which colors improve brain performance, red was found out to increase attention to details while blue sparks creativity. Surrounding your workplace with these colors not only benefits your brain, it’s also pleasing to the eye.

3. Create a Break Agenda

List all the things you want to do on your break, be it surfing the web, checking your emails, snack time, taking selfies, Facebook/Twitter—everything.

Like the (10+2)*5 hack, squeeze these in between work time but the difference is you schedule these activities for ONLY 20 minutes. Eventually, you’ll take your break minutes wisely. You’re finishing tasks while sidetracking to doing the things you enjoy.

4. Set a Timetable for Your Tasks

Like any other habits, procrastinating is a tough wall to break. Replace this habit with another habit. When you’re assigned a task, set a timetable for each step. Let’s say you have a big research task. Here’s a sample timetable:

9:00 – 9:10 am – Set up all your tools, browser tabs, emails, coffee, etc..
9:10 – 10:00 am – Internet research
10:00 – 10:45 am – Look through existing files
10:45 – 11:00 am – Break time!
11:00 – 12:00 pm – Outline the research report

Deadlines are the best hack for getting things done. Setting a specific time to finish a task creates time pressure even if the deadline has passed.

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5. Take It Outside!

Do yourself a favor and don’t ruin the comfy vibe of your home. If you need to work on a stressful project, do it in a library or coffee shop. You’ll never finish it anyway. Your cozy sofa and toasty bed will just lure you into napping yourself to doom.

6. Become Productively Lazy

Instead of finding all sorts of ways to unproductively procrastinate, use your habit to look for shortcuts and new ways to finish your tasks. Staple multiple papers at a time or master the 3-second t-shirt folding technique. A strong drive combined with laziness sometimes bring out the productive and creative side you never knew you have!

7. Assign a ‘Task Deputy’

It could be your colleague, your supervisor, or your significant other, anyone who has the unforgiving guts to reprimand you when you procrastinate. You could go the extra mile by paying up unfinished tasks or times you open your Facebook or watch a funny cat video on YouTube. Let’s see how five bucks every time you procrastinate will change you.

8. Consider a Gadget-Free Desk

According to a study by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, average users check on their phones 150 times per day and having your phone just an elbow away just creates sizzle to this habit.[3]

Removing mobile devices and gadgets allows you to focus on your work without the constant interruption from notifications, calls, and text messages. It eliminates the very distracting ambiance and the urge to unlock your phone just because.

9. Prepping the Night

Before hitting the sack to oblivion, prepare everything you’ll need the next day. This will probably take you 15 minutes tops, saving you more time for coffee in the morning.

Spin class at am? Pack up your gym clothes, shoes, socks, etc. or better, create a checklist so you don’t miss anything. You can also prep your food into containers and just grab one before leaving.

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10. Do a 7-Minute Workout in the Morning

Exercising is proven to increase productivity and stimulate release of endorphin or “Happy Hormones”.

Take a jog outdoors and get warmed up for the day. Don’t feel like running outside? Hop on a treadmilli. It’s a great investment and there are a lot of ways you can use a treadmill like endurance running and metabolism training. On a budget? Here’s a 7 minute, no-equipment needed workout you can do at home:

11. Set-up Mini Tasks

If you’re given a big project, break it down into mini tasks. Create a checklist and start with the easy ones until you finish. Got an article to write? Just start with the title and the first sentence. Or perhaps you have a visual presentation to make?

Spend 15 minutes on your outline, take five minutes coffee break, then finish the first two slides. Accomplishing something, no matter how tiny, still gives you that sense of fulfillment.

12. Create an Inspirational Board or Reminder

I found these mini desk chalkboards from Etsy you can use to write motivating quotes.

Or you know what? Simply write “Do it now!” and stare at it for 10 seconds every time you feel like dropping by on Reddit.

13. Redecorate Your Room

Redecorating my room motivates me to maintain that ‘new’ look for some time until I get use to it and eventually stop. So I redecorate again and again, it became a monthly habit really. Here are some DIY ideas you can do to any room without spending much.

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14. Ready Your Nibbles

You know that trip to the pantry? It’s just seconds away but it took you several minutes just to get your fruit snacks in the fridge. Before starting a task, prepare your nibbles on your desk to avoid zoning out and losing yourself on the way to the pantry.

Bonus productivity hacks you can do at home:

15. Schedule Your Chores

Write down your chores in a weekly basis with matching day and time when you should be doing these.

For the artsy folks, you can create fun chore charts like these or simply stick the list somewhere visibly annoying e.g. mirrors, doors, TV. The trick is listing as many chores as you can for the week and including unfinished chores the following week. Who likes seeing a long list of chores first thing in the morning?

More Tips to Overcome Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters via unsplash.com

Reference

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