Whether you own your own business, freelance or work for an employer, your productivity often carries significant weight in your career and income success. Learn to maximize your schedule each day, and achieve your goals with time management tips.
The following is a look at five of the most important time management strategies to reach your highest daily productivity levels.
1. Prioritize High-Value Tasks
Successful professionals are usually creative people with vision. If that’s you, it’s likely that you want to accomplish more each day than time and practicality allow. Sound familiar? There’s an easy escape, and it’s relatively simple.
Step one is to prioritize critical tasks in your calendar, which helps you achieve the greatest benefits from the time you do have. As you contemplate which tasks to rank at the top of your list, focus on the impact to your bottom line and your personal satisfaction. Ideally, spend more of your time on high-value tasks that you give you great personal satisfaction when you complete. Then delegate the smaller and less enjoyable activities, or figure out ways to eliminate them altogether.
2. Minimize Your To-Do List
A to-do list is an important time-management tool because it helps you identify tasks and create an order for their completion. To streamline your workday, complete the quick and easy tasks right away to avoid building up your list. As soon as you cross a couple lines off your list, you’ll be mentally in the groove to keep going. Then start to tackle the bigger items by aiming for at least one major task before lunch and one after.
But a word of warning – don’t get too carried away with the small tasks. From a psychological standpoint, piling little items on your day increases the likelihood that you will feel overwhelmed. If it takes almost as long to record the task than it does to do it right away, just cut to the chase and get it done immediately.
3. Plan Ahead
Know what you want to accomplish at the start of each workday. Depending on when your mind works best, you could start your morning early or prepare your to-do list at the end of each day.
If you try to think of things to do one at a time, you slow down your productivity because you aren’t able to ramp up to full speed. Instead, use a tasks list in your email software like Outlook tasks, or try a free online task list that syncs with your phone and tablet, like Any.do or Wunderlist.
4. Include Your Breaks and Non-Work Activities
Finding balance in your daily schedule is an important, often overlooked factor in entrepreneurial efficiency. This point is especially true if you work from home. Integrate your work, individual and family responsibilities into your plan.
Specific to your work regimen, plan in time for breaks so you aren’t stuck at the desk all day. Taking periodic breaks to move around and refresh yourself helps you sustain adequate energy. Scheduling rests helps keep you fresh and mentally looking forward to breaks in the day, as opposed to developing a tendency to routinely distract yourself from work that needs to be completed.
5. Turn Off All the Notifications
Ever catch yourself reaching for your phone with no real purpose? Our phones have turned into the biggest distraction and time vampire of the modern age – and the constant notifications aren’t helping.
It’s time to cut them from our workday. That means turning off or muting any non-critical app notifications like Facebook, Instagram, games, weather and sports updates. Without the constant pings telling you about a friend’s status update, the latest scores and reminders to play your daily Lumosity game, you’ll be less inclined to check your phone and then waste more time staring at your screen without a purpose.
Business critical apps and functions like your email, calendar, Slack, text messages, phone calls and even What’s App (if you use it to collaborate with team members) can be left on so you don’t miss out on important events and conversations. But cutting the mental clutter of all the countless other notifications will help you break away from that phone addiction.
Bonus tip: Schedule your tasks and stick to the plan
If you’re a natural planner, you’ll find this tip very easy to stick to. However, if you’re struggling with time management, odds are you’re likely to benefit from having a predetermined schedule. You can start by writing down your tasks, block time to work on them, and get cracking.
These agenda and schedule templates from HubSpot will help you organize your commitments, meetings, employees’ schedules, and skyrocket your productivity.
Time Management Tips Take-Away
Take the time to implement these five primary time management tips into your daily routine and you’ll be amazed at the difference in what you can accomplish. New habits take as much as three weeks to become part of your natural routine and prove effective. But you will never regret working hard at improving your time management and productivity.
Grow your business, satisfy your clients or employer, reach your professional goals and earn optimum income.