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15 Great Time-Management Hacks For People Who Are In Their 30s

15 Great Time-Management Hacks For People Who Are In Their 30s

Not everyone has problems with time. There are a lot of people out there who have absolutely no problems with managing their schedules and do all that on instinct. Well, we are not here to talk about them. They are probably mutants, and while we can respect them, we can’t really identify with them. Most of my friends, including me, are quite lost when it comes to our schedules and time management. Now, being that we are in our 20s, we are a bit worried about what happens when we pass that 29 mark and step into our 30s.

We all know that that’s when things get a bit more serious in life, so I decided to do a bit of research in order to see how people in their 30s handle their obligations and keep their schedules tight.

1. Prioritize your obligations

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    It seems that when you are in your 30s, you really have to focus on getting things done in proper order, otherwise you might end up wasting your energy on less important things. If you do not prioritize and decide which tasks are important and which can wait, your work day is going to end up being much longer and, ultimately, less productive.

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    2. Adjust your schedule to fit you

    People in their 20s are just starting their careers, in a lot of cases grabbing any job they can get their hands on and lack any real control over their schedules. The longer you work, though, the more control you have over your work and your schedule, meaning that you can adjust your work hours and schedule based on your personal preference. In your 30s, you know your job well and want to make progress; you don’t have the time to  be unproductive due to a schedule that doesn’t work for you.

    3. Don’t sacrifice sleep

    This one is universal, but it seems that younger people can handle much more sleep deprivation without losing so much of their focus and energy. Sure, it is difficult to do your job when you are tired, but the older you get, the less you can take it. If time management is problematic for you, you have to establish a healthy sleeping pattern so you can focus on finishing all your obligations on time.

    4. Small things waste a lot of time

    When we are younger, we are scared of big obligations and commitments like getting a job, getting married, leading a project, and similar things. People who have entered their 30s would probably trade the thousands of micro tasks that they have on their plate for your trepidation of big obligations. In order to keep your schedule clean and tidy, you are going to have to find a way to organize your day in such a way that you can get rid of those pesky little tasks in bulk.

    5. Separate your workload into different types

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      Juggling different types of obligations during your day can destroy your efficiency. The reason why this is so important to realize in your 30s has a lot to do with the fact that your outside-of-work obligations become more numerous. Mindless automatic tasks become more frequent, along with the creative and inspiring work that you do. If you wish to have some time to yourself at the end of your day, it might be smart to focus on one type of work first and then on the other in order to avoid adjusting to them each time you switch.

      6. Always leave a little extra time

      For one, kids are very unpredictable and can cost you more than a couple of minutes more than you expected. Parents are having more and more trouble keeping up with their kids. Still, even if you don’t have kids, keeping a schedule very tight can make the whole thing fall apart by forgetting to take care of just one item on it. Give yourself time to breathe in-between tasks.

      7. Avoid dragging yesterday into today

      People in their 30s know that if they bring some leftover tasks from the previous day, they are going to have one hell of a day the day after. Clean up your schedule if you want to have a normal schedule tomorrow. Things that drag on tend to destroy your carefully populated itinerary.

      8. Separate big obligations into actionable chunks

      Some tasks may seem like climbing a mountain. When a big task is put in front of a twenty year old, he/she will start despairing about how to handle something that big. People in their 30s are aware that things take time and that you need to take it step by step. Identify the small steps you will need to take in order to complete the tasks.

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      9. Keep your plans realistic

      Another rookie mistake made by people in their 20s when it comes to time management is being overly ambitious and hyped when making a plan. No matter how motivated you are at the moment you are making your schedule, you need to be realistic about what you can actually accomplish, or you might end up in quite a mess, choosing the lesser evil tomorrow.

      10. Use your work hours properly

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        People in their 30s are, in most cases, married and have kids. You don’t have the time to tie up loose ends at home anymore by merely cutting into your leisure time. So keep fighting procrastination and do your work in due time.

        11. Set deadlines

        We can all plan things out, but unlike the vague, I’ll-do-it-when-I-get-to-it type of plans twenty-something people make, thirty-something people know that this is a sure way to get into a situation where you have more obligations than time and energy. Don’t just make a note that you need to do something, give yourself a deadline. It helps a lot. The first time I heard about this approach was when I was researching how to become a blogger. The most experienced bloggers advised setting deadlines for yourself, otherwise you might lose a battle to procrastination.

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        12. Stop thinking and start doing

        Bruce Lee once said: “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.” People in their 20s tend to think about each and every individual thing and how it impacts their lives, and they should. People in their 30s are a bit more occupied and don’t have the time to contemplate the philosophical value of each and every task. Do it first, think about it later, if you have the time.

        13. Don’t be a perfectionist

        Not everything you do needs to be a work of art. Make things work, don’t do everything to provoke awe and admiration. This kind of perfectionistic approach is going to frustrate you and waste a bunch of your time and energy. This is important to realize in your 30s because your obligations are piling up, and you will not have the time to retain this kind of approach. Put in that extra effort when it matters, do a decent job when nothing more is required from you.

        14. Ask for help on time

        Bravado and all-nighters are reserved for amateurs and younger people. If you can’t manage to do something and you realize that you are going to fail to meet a deadline, ask for assistance on time! Thirty something people are experienced enough to know that asking for help is no big deal, but failing to meet the deadline can be.

        15. Use the zone when you are in it

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          Nobody is super productive all the time. However, when you hit that productivity sweet spot, try to manage as much as you can. The more you do now, the less you need to do later. Ride the wave for as long as you can so you can chill out later and take your time. These moments are not as common as we would like them to be, and if you are in your 30s, you should be aware of this and how much these moments can shave off your workload by now. Use them wisely!

          I hope these were an eye-opening experience for you, as they were for me. There are tons more, but each schedule is different and generalizing tips can be quite dangerous. However, all of the above are pretty much universal for people in their 30s. Good luck!

          More by this author

          Aleksandar Ilic

          Blogger, Social Media Butterfly, Guitarist

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          Published on January 16, 2019

          How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

          How to Effectively Manage a Heavy Workload at Work

          We’re all busy, but sometimes we go through periods where the work piles up and it seems like it might never end.

          You might have such a heavy workload that it feels too intimidating to even start.

          You may have said yes to some or too many projects, and now you’re afraid you won’t be able to deliver.

          That’s when you need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and start looking at what’s working and what’s not working.

          Here’re 13 strategies you can use to get out from under your overwhelming workload:

          1. Acknowledge You Can’t Do It All

          Many of us have a tendency to think we can do more than we actually can. We take on more and more projects and responsibility and wear numerous hats.

          We all have the opportunity to have and take on more work than we can reasonably expect to get done. Unfortunately, our workload is not static. Even now, while you are reading this article, I’m guessing that your inbox is filling up with fresh new tasks.

          To make real, effective progress, you have to have both the courage and resourcefulness to say, “This is not working”. Acknowledge that you can’t do it all and look for better solutions.

          At any given time in your life, there are likely many things that aren’t going according to plan. You have to be willing to be honest with yourself and those around you about what’s not working for you, both personally and professionally.

          The more you exercise your ability to tell the truth about what’s working and what’s not working, the faster you’ll make progress.

          2. Focus on Your Unique Strengths

          Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a leader or working as part of a team, every individual has unique strengths they can bring to the table.

          The challenge is that many people end up doing things that they’re simply not very good at.

          In the pursuit of reaching your goals or delivering a project, people end up doing everything themselves or taking on things that don’t play to their unique strengths. This can result in frustration, overwhelm and overwork.

          It can mean projects taking a lot longer to complete because of knowledge gaps, or simply not utilizing the unique strengths of other people you work with.

          It is often not about how to complete this project more effectively but who can help deliver this project.

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          So, what are your unique strengths that will ensure your workload is delivered more effectively? Here’re some questions to help you reflect:

          • Are you a great strategist?
          • Are you an effective planner?
          • Is Project Management your strength?
          • Is communication and bringing people together your strength?
          • Are you the ideas person?
          • Is Implementation your strength?

          Think about how you can bring the biggest value to your work and the projects you undertake.

          3. Use the Strengths of Your Team

          One of the simplest ways to manage your workload effectively is to free up your time so you bring your highest level of energy, focus and strengths to each project.

          Delegation or better teamwork is the solution.

          Everyone has unique strengths. It’s essential to think teamwork rather than working in isolation to ensure projects can be completed effectively. Besides, every time you give away a task or project that doesn’t play to your unique strengths, you open up an opportunity to do something you’re more talented at. This will empower both yourself and those around you.

          Rather than taking on all the responsibilities yourself, look at who you can work with to deliver the best results possible.

          4. Take Time for Planning

          “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. – Abraham Lincoln

          One hour of effective planning could save hours of time. Rather than just rushing in and getting started on projects, take the time to map everything in.

          You can take the time to think about:

          • What’s the purpose of the project?
          • How Important is it?
          • When does it need to be delivered by?
          • What is the best result and worst result for this project?
          • What are the KPIs?
          • What does the project plan and key milestones look like?
          • Who is working on this project?
          • What is everyone’s responsibilities?
          • What tolerances can I add in?
          • What are the review stages?
          • What are the challenges we may face and the solutions for these challenges?

          Having absolute clarity on the project, the project deliverables and the result you want can save a lot of time. It also gets you clear on the priorities and timelines, so you can block out the required amount of time to focus and concentrate.

          5. Focus on Priorities

          Not everything is a priority, although it can often feel, in the moment, that it is.

          Whatever you’re working on, there is always the Most Urgent, Important or Most Valuable projects or tasks.

          One tool you can use to maximize your productivity and focus on your biggest priorities is to use the Eisenhower Matrix. This strategic tool for taking action on the things that matter most is simple. You separate your actions based on four possibilities:

          1. Urgent and important (tasks you will do immediately).
          2. Important, but not urgent (tasks you will schedule to do later).
          3. Urgent, but not important (tasks you will delegate to someone else).
          4. Neither urgent nor important (tasks that you will eliminate).

          James Clear has a great description on how to use the Eisenhower Matrix: How to be More Productive By Using the Eisenhower Box

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            The method I use with my coaching clients is to ask them to lay out their Top Five priorities for the day. Then to start with the most important priority first. At the end of the day, you review performance against these priorities.

            If you didn’t get everything accomplished, start the next day with your number one priority.

            If you are given additional task/projects during the day, then you will need to gauge their importance V the other priorities.

            6. Take Time Out

            To stay on top of a heavy workload, it’s important to take time out to rest and recuperate.

            If your energy levels are high and your mind and body is refreshed and alert, you are in more of a peak state to handle a heavy workload.

            Take time out of your day to go for a walk or get some exercise in. Leave early when possible and spend time with people who give you a lot of energy.

            In the background, it’s essential to get a good night’s sleep and eat healthily to sharpen the mind.

            Take a look at this article learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

            7. Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance

            Maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be tough. The balance we all crave is very different from one another.

            I’ve written before about 13 Work Life Balance Tips for a Happy and Productive Life. Working longer and harder doesn’t mean achieving more, especially if you have no time to spend with the people that matter most. The quality of who you are as a person, the relationships you have, the time you spend in work, deciding on what matters most is completely within your control.

            Work-life balance is about finding peace within yourself to be fully present, wherever you are, whether that be in the office or at home, right now. It’s about choosing what matters most and creating your own balanced life.

            If you feel there is not enough balance, then it may be time to make a change.

            8. Stop Multitasking

            Multi-tasking is a myth. Your brain simply can’t work effectively by doing more than one thing at a time—at least more than one thing that requires focused attention.

            So get your list of priorities (see earlier point), do the most important thing first, then move to the next item and work down your list.

            When you split your focus over a multitude of different areas, you can’t consistently deliver a high performance. You won’t be fully present on the one task or project at hand.

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            If you allocate blocked time and create firm boundaries for specific activities and commitments, you won’t feel so overwhelmed or overworked with everything you have to do.

            9. Work in Blocks of Time

            To keep your energy up to produce your best results it’s essential to take regular breaks.

            I use the 60-60-30 method myself and teach it to my coaching clients.

            Work on a project for a sustained period of 50 minutes.

            Then take a 10-minute break. This could be taking a walk, having a healthy snack or just having a conversation with someone.

            Then continue to work on the project for a further 50 minutes.

            Then take another 10-minute break.

            Then take a complete 30-minute break to unplug from the work. This could be time for a proper lunch, a quick bit of exercise, reading or having a walk.

            By simply taking some time out, your energy levels stay up, the quality of your work improves and you reduce the risk of becoming burned out.

            10. Get Rid of Distractions

            Make an estimation on how many times you are distracted during an average working day. Now take that number and multiply it by 25. According to Gloria Mark in her study on The Cost of Interrupted Work, it takes us an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to return to the original task after interruption.[1]

            “Our research has shown that attention distraction can lead to higher stress, a bad mood and lower productivity.”

            Distractions don’t just take up your time during the distraction, they can derail your mental progress and focus for almost 25 minutes. So, if you are distracted 5 times per day, you could be losing almost 2 hours every day of productive work and almost 10 hours every week.

            If you have an important project to work on, find a space where you won’t be distracted, or try doing this.

            11. Commit Focused Time to Smaller Tasks

            You know sometimes, you need to simply tackle these tasks and take action on them. But there’s always something more pressing.

            Small tasks can often get in the way of your most important projects. They sit there on your daily To Do list but are often forgotten about because of more important priorities or because they hold no interest for you. But they take up mental energy. They clutter your mind.

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            Commit to spending a specific period of time completing all the small tasks you have on your To Do list. It will give you peace of mind and the space to focus more on your bigger priorities.

            12. Take a Time Audit

            Do you know exactly where your time is going each day? Are you spending too long on certain projects and tasks to the detriment of bigger opportunities?

            Spend a bit of time to analyze where you are spending your time. This insight will amaze you and give you the clarity to start adjusting where you focus your time and on what projects.

            You can start by taking a piece of paper and creating three columns:

            Column A is Priority Work. Column B is Good Work. Column C is low value work or stuff.

            Each day, write down the project or task and the time spent on each. Allocate that time to one of the columns.

            At the end of the week, record the total time spent in each column.

            If you are spending far too much time on certain types of work, look to change things so your focused time is in Column B and C.

            13. Protect Your Confidence

            It is essential to protect our confidence to ensure we don’t get overwhelmed, stressed and lose belief.

            When you have confidence as a daily resource, you are in a better position to problem solve, learn quicker, respond to anything, adjust to anything, and achieve your biggest opportunities.

            Confidence gives you the ability to transform fear into focused and relaxed thinking, communication, and action. This is key to put your mind into a productive state.

            When confidence is high, you can clearly see the possibilities at hand and create strategies to take advantage of them, or to solve the challenges you face each day.

            Final Words

            A heavy workload can be tough to deal with and can cause stress, burnout and ongoing frustration.

            The key is to tackle it head on, rather than let it go on and compound the long-term effects. Hopefully, you can take action on at least one of these tips.

            If it gets too much, and negatively affects your physical and mental health, it may be time to talk to someone. Instead of dealing with it alone and staying unhappier, resentful and getting to a point where you simply can’t cope, you have to make a change for your own sanity.

            Featured photo credit: Hannah Wei via unsplash.com

            Reference

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