When it comes to working, time management is probably the most important thing you can have. It keeps you from feeling overwhelmed and helps you to be more productive throughout the day so that you maximize your time and effort.
So many people struggle with managing time effectively because the world is at their fingertips through electronics. Today’s fast-paced society also supports instant gratification which does not work well with working long hours for a paycheck two weeks later. Luckily there are techniques you can use to improve your time management skills at work or home to enhance your productivity. Taking breaks, time blocking, using a daily planner, having an accountability partner, abolishing distractions, making priorities, using to-do lists, and more can help to support your productivity to get more done.
This suggestion may seem like the complete opposite of how you should manage your time, but taking breaks is actually a very important thing for productivity. You are going to take breaks anyways so scheduling them in at the right time keeps your day flowing and prevents you from getting so tired out that you need an hour-long “break.”
The Pomodoro technique offers a cycle of 25 minute working periods broken up by 5 min breaks. After four work cycles, you can take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes. This allows you to stay focused for a short amount of time and look forward to a well-deserved break. Techniques like the Pomodoro method help to prevent you from getting worn out and feel productive by reaching mini-goals each time you complete a cycle. Taking breaks may seem like a waste of time but in reality, they help to make you work smarter not harder.
Try time blocking
Time blocking is another productivity technique that helps you to plan out your day effectively. To time block you create blocks of time for all of the hours of the day. In each time block, you should include what you will be doing and for how long. You can plan everything from breaks, work, exercise, and activities. Time blocking can be done via paper or using an online tool. It may seem excessive to know that you will be brushing your teeth from 8:00 to 8:05 but it can help you to stay on track and have no wonders as to what you should be doing throughout the day. Many people also have timers set on their phones to alert them when it is time to switch activities. Time blocking may help you to stop making excuses and create a schedule that will help you to achieve your goals throughout the day and even has scheduled rest time to look forward to as well. Time blocking may also help to reduce feelings of anxiety on wondering if there will be enough time to dedicate to a certain project. By knowing there will be time for a certain activity you can focus your energy on the task at hand and spend less time worrying.
Get an accountability partner
Sometimes doing things alone can be uninspiring and difficult. This is similar to having a coach or personal trainer when you are beginning an exercise journey. Having someone there to keep you accountable when the going gets tough to encourage and support you can help you to get over the hump.
Having an accountability partner can be very applicable to staying productive throughout the day as well. Your accountability partner should be someone that is stern enough to put you in your place when you need that and will not take your excuses. Finding an accountability partner that is working towards a similar goal can be very helpful since you can both work together and achieve something great. Your partner can schedule work times with you, send you encouraging messages, make sure you meet your deliverables, or even help to create goals with you.
Distractions can come in many forms including phone notifications, tempting apps on your computer, other people, sounds, and even clutter in your room. Each time you become distracted you lose your flow of productivity and are taken on a tangent that does not serve you in your goals. Eliminating all distractions is pretty impossible but there are things you can do to remove a lot of them so you can stay focused.
One simple idea is to put your phone in a place that you cannot reach it, that way you can only access it during break times. You can also use applications on your phone or computer to block certain apps or websites like social media so you can remove the temptation. Finding creative ways to eliminate distractions from your day can help you to stay on track and calm your wandering mind.
Make a priority algorithm
You may find yourself getting stuck doing things in your life that you do not even find important instead of doing the things that matter most. This can lead to regret in your life and prevent you from cultivating a life you love. To prevent this from happening you can make a priority algorithm to identify what is most important to you and make plans accordingly. For example, if you identify that family time, writing a book, and eating healthy are the three most important things to you then those are the things you should spend most of your time doing. Make each of these a goal that you hope to achieve since goal setting is linked with productivity. With every opportunity that comes your way use your priority list to help guide a good decision on if you should do it or not. This should help to keep you focused and prioritize your time wisely.
Utilize phone apps
Phones are not all bad when it comes to being productive, they can be used to your advantage if you know how to use them effectively. Certain apps have been developed to maximize your productivity like timers, app blockers, planners, and motivation apps. One great productivity app allows you to set a timer for the amount of time you want to work. During the time that you should be working it grows a virtual plant. If you exit from the app the plant stops growing. If you really need to stay focused you can pay money into the app when you set the timer. If you log out before the timer is over you do not get your money back, if you complete the whole time you get your money back. This helps you to stay focused for a certain amount of time, minimize distractions, and work towards the goal of growing a plant. Using little tricks like this can help tremendously in boosting your productivity and making use of your technology.
You can’t drive your car with an empty gas tank, so why would you be able to work efficiently with your tank on empty? To be productive throughout the day you have to feel well-rested and well-fed, both of which contribute to filling your tank. When you are tired your brain is not working at full capacity and your productivity can decline. To help boost your energy and mood you should set some time aside and schedule some self-care. Take some time to do the things that help you to rest and relax. Some good activities may be heading out to the beach, taking a nap, playing cards with your loved ones, or listening to your favorite music. By taking the time to do things for yourself you will be better equipped to pour yourself into the things that you love. Self-care should be done regularly to prevent you from becoming worn out, instead of working to the bone and needing a long time to recover.
Not all techniques will work for everyone so you can mix and match these suggestions to find exactly what works for you. For example, you can use the Pomodoro method and utilize phone apps to help you keep track of time for breaks and work cycles. There are also other ideas you can use such as taking more off of your plate by learning to say no, create a daily routine that you follow, using good old-fashioned checklists, and even using a traditional planner. Regardless of the method, when you decide to take charge of managing your time you can spend more time being productive and less time wishing you were productive and wasting precious time that you could be spending with those you love.