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5 Time Management Tips That Will Improve Your Productivity And Your Health

5 Time Management Tips That Will Improve Your Productivity And Your Health

Life can get hectic; that is something all of us will admit. With the endless amounts of deadlines needing to be met, dishes piling up in the sink and taking care of your younger brother, sometimes you wonder, “Why are there only 24 hours in a day?”

Truth be told, not many of us spend the time we have wisely. Chances are, too much time is spent on Facebook or any other form of social media. And I’m sure you’ve been distracted while doing work before. This is why I’m sharing tips that will improve productivity and health—because I’m confident everyone could benefit with more productivity. So here are 5 time management tips that might just help you maximize the 24 hours you have in a day!

1. Use lists.

For some, using lists is a great way help increase productivity. However most of the time, people create to-do lists that don’t work at all. While to-do lists might be a valuable tool, I like to complement my to-do list with some other list to make them work better.

Here are some examples:

The 3 Task List

Write down the 3 most important task that you need to complete. I like to split them into 3 different categories, the first would be work related, second would be something health related and third would be any other task you can think of.

An example would look like this:

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1. Write the first draft of an article.

2. Perform a 30 minute run.

3. Buy a present for Sarah.

The goal here is to finish all 3 task before sunset and 2 of the tasks need to be finished by the afternoon. Using this list will ensure that even if your productivity level is bad, you get the three most important things done in one day.

The “Don’t Do” List

This list is simple, all you have to do is write down three bad habits that might be preventing you from completing your task. Stick a reminder on your wall or computer and try not to do any of the 3 items on the list.

Here’s an example:

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1. I won’t check my emails first thing in the morning.

2. I won’t go on Facebook when I’m writing an article.

3. I won’t leave my chair unless performing work for 30 minutes.

The key here is to set a specific time frame to those list. By doing so, it gives you a solid idea of how your time is being  managed. This will vastly improve your productivity.

2. Turn off notifications on your smartphones and tablets.

With the rise of smartphones and tablets, accessing social media has never been easier; however, this convenience can come with a price. Most people find it hard to concentrate because they are so famous, they get Facebook notifications every 10 minutes.

Keeping your notifications turned on can potentially be distracting. So by turning them off, you can ensure nothing will distract you once you are performing work. If you want to take it a step further, you can always uninstall all your social media apps on your phone.

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3. Using specific software and apps.

While social media apps can be potentially distracting, there are apps and software that can help you manage your time better. Sometimes even if you have an iron clad will, it’s hard to resist the temptation of constantly refreshing your news feed. If that’s your problem, this might just be your solution.

1. Cold Turkey & Self Control

This software for your computer let’s you set a specific time period to block popular social media sites that might be distracting. There is also a function which allows you to white list or restrict specific sites.

The beauty is that unless you are a genius hacker, it’s almost impossible to bypass the the lock once it’s activated. In that way, you might be forced to do something productive.

Cold Turkey supports Windows, while Self Controls supports Mac.

2. Self Control (android)

This app prevents you from using any apps on your smartphone for the amount of time you’ve set. Despite the same name, it’s completely different from the one which works on Mac.

3. Focus@Will

Focus@Will plays music that is scientifically proven to help you focus. It definitely helped me stay focused and the tunes are pretty calming. The best part is, there is a free version too!

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4. Include breaks.

Time management doesn’t necessarily have to be all work and no play. As a matter of the fact, including breaks in between work is a great way to maximize your productivity. Working on something for too long, especially when you hit a mental block is not an efficient way to use your time.

Instead of sitting down and pulling your hair, scheduling breaks in between is a good way to hit the reset button. I like to have a 10 minute break for every 50 minutes of work I do. During that time, you are free to do anything.

Some good ideas would be to incorporate a few bodyweight exercises such as squats or push ups, watch a short funny clip or even surf Facebook or Twitter. Just do something that will take your mind off work. This will help your mind stay fresh.

5. Get enough sleep.

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    Sleep is a highly overlooked aspect when it comes to productivity and health. People who lack sleep have an increased chance of storing fat and falling sick, and decreased cognitive performance. Doesn’t exactly sound like the way to become a productivity doesn’t it?

    So aim to get roughly 8 hours of sleep per night.

    Incorporating short power naps lasting 20–30 minutes into your day is also another fantastic way to keep fatigue at bay. Optimizing your sleep is definitely one of the easiest way to start helping you lead a healthy and productive lifestyle. Since it’s that simple, start doing it right now!

    Featured photo credit: Productivity via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on July 13, 2020

    How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

    How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

    Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

    If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

    1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

    The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

    Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

    For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

    The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

    2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

    Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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    As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

    Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

    3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

    Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

      This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

      We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

      Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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      When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

      Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

      4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

      Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

      For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

      Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

      5. Make Decisions

      For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

      If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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      If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

      Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

      I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

      This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

      The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

      6. Take Some Form of Action

      Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

      The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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      It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

      Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

      The Bottom Line

      Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

      When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

      More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

      Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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