Can’t get it together? Projects not on schedule? Life moving at a snail’s pace?
You may just need to get your mind around managing your time. Following just a few of the time management lessons below can make a huge impact on your projects and your life.
1. Labor over the important parts of your project.
Avoid fussing over the details until you’ve got the main points and parts down. Most of us don’t complete projects because we get bogged down in the weeds.
2. Say no.
Most things coming your way (via your inbox, for example) are other people’s requests to meet their agendas. You don’t have to say yes. You don’t even have to answer.
3. Stay true to your vision.
Get present to your Why. This may involve a visual display you see every day or a daily meeting with your colleagues or teammates.
4. Ask people to hold you accountable.
Some people adopt accountability buddies. Others hire coaches. It’s been proven having other humans remind you of what you said you’d do is the key to getting things done.
5. Notice if you are keeping yourself busy or doing things that move your commitments forward.
If you take a look at each of the things you do throughout the day, are they time-consuming activities or actions that make a difference for your projects? Keep your eye on the actions, not on busywork. Course-correct throughout the day.
6. Get up early.
You’ll feel like you got a head start on the day. Early-morning hours are dim and quiet, perfect for clearing your mind, getting present to your priorities, and taking care of yourself before you start work or take care of the kids.
7. Write down your top priorities for the next day.
Keep it to a consistent number, like the top 3 things or top 5 things. Doing so demands that you look into the future. You’ll be at ease because you’ll know what you need to get done when you wake up.
8. Tackle small and large things in a day.
By getting through the smaller tasks, you’ll feel like you accomplished something. That will give you the momentum to do the complicated or time-intensive things.
9. Work on one thing at a time.
Multi-tasking is overrated. Studies by experts like Clifford Nass at Stanford University show that we are way less productive when we’re jumping between our smartphones and the work before us.
10. Get the “hard” work done as early in the day as you can.
Then you can fool around and “procrastinate” as much as you want.
11. Practice clearing your mind before you work.
Write down the sad stuff. The angry stuff. The happy stuff. All of it.
12. Take naps.
Just under 30 minutes will refresh you, without sending you into deep sleep mode. Any more than that and you may be at risk for an early death, according to a recent study.
13. Plan breaks (or vacations).
And have them be actual breaks, instead of answering business calls or emails. You may have to unplug from those devices if you’re addicted.
14. Keep the distractions you love out of your sight.
That means placing your phone somewhere other than your workspace and logging out of all social-media accounts before working on your projects.
15. Practice Hours of Power.
Do this with a buddy. Start at the beginning of the hour sharing declarations with your buddy. Work to create those results and get back on the phone to report what you created.
16. Work on a team.
In doing so, you can delegate priorities to people you trust to keep your time focused on things only you can do.
17. Keep travel to a minimum.
Work from home. The effort put into moving around, driving, packing, unpacking, checking into hotels and so on leeches energy.
18. Keep the number of choices you make each day to a minimum.
Take a cue from President Barack Obama, who was quoted in a Vanity Fair interview: “I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing because I have too many other decisions to make.”
19. Keep the same morning routine, even on weekends.
Do you get up at 5 a.m. on Fridays? Do the same on Saturdays and Sundays. It’ll make waking up again on Monday morning easier.
20. Think of time like money.
You have a budget for money: Money comes in. Money goes out. And you have money left over. Consider creating a “time budget.” How much for working on things that make move your commitments forward (or make money)? How much time for things that don’t move your commitments forward?
21. Be self-centered like Benjamin Franklin.
Create a daily routine that focuses on you, so you get your work done. Be unwilling to give away those chunks of time (like Ben Franklin), so you can be flexible to handle emergencies and interruptions (like Ben Franklin). Read this LifeHack article to learn more about his schedule.
22. Create artificial urgency.
Most of us set deadlines for when the project needs to be done. When we get too close to the date or don’t meet the deadline, we can get desperate and finish off a product in poor quality. Or we quit. Practice creating deadlines that are way ahead of the time the projects are needed to prevent the last-minute rush.
Featured photo credit: Creative Commons/Dennis Hamilton via flickr.com