If you’re like me, you learn things the hard way: by trial and error. That’s how most of us learn about time management. Managing our time appropriately is something that should really be done as early as possible. The earlier you start, the better those skills stick with you.
Start that change today! Try to do one hack a day and you will make it through this list in a month! More than one hack recommends actually working LESS (what?!) and exactly how to accomplish that.
If you try to keep all your appointments in your head, you’re bound to let something slip. Successful people use calendar tools.
Consider using Google Calendar. It’s free and you can set it up so that it sends you email reminders for important activities. It’s incredibly useful to receive a reminder email about an upcoming trip just a few days in advance.
29. Always Take Notes
Keep a to-do list. It’s vital to successfully manage your time. Even if you have to use scraps of paper at first, it’s important.
However, it’s a lot more effective to use a dedicated task management tool. Consider using a well-made paper notebook such as Moleskin, or even a digital tool such as Microsoft Outlook.
28. Respect Your Need for Sleep
Try not to cut out any sleep to have more fun or get more work done. It’s a shortsighted strategy. In our 20s, most of us could pull it off to some degree, but it’s a destructive habit to form.
If you’re tired all day, you will more than likely be unable to make effective use of your time, no matter how organized you are. You need seven to eight hours of sleep each night, so make that a habit.
27. Plan Four-Five Hours of Work Per Day
Project managers often assume people will be less than 100% productive in a day. That’s right! That means out of your standard eight-hour workday, you’re only likely to be highly productive for half of it.
Meetings, responding emails, browsing the Internet, and related activities will most likely take up the rest of your day. So, work smarter (not harder!) and plan only what you know will get done. Let’s be realistic… You also don’t have to go it alone – but more about THAT later…
26. When to Schedule Important Meetings
Schedule your most important meetings or other high value takas in the morning. Try to get them out of the way before you get tired.
Time leading up to events like important meetings is often wasted. By organizing meetings early, you’ll be more productive afterwards.
25. Focus on a Single Task at a Time
If you try to multitask, you’re more than likely to waste your workday. Consider achieving more by choosing one activity at a time.
Multitasking kills your focus. Consider the following example; allocate one hour in the morning to work on a proposal for a client, and then give yourself a short break.
24. High Value Tasks
Companies and clients pay for high value strategic tasks. They want you coming up with new product ideas, ways to reduce costs and other improvements. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to deliver creative insights all day long.
When the end of your workday approaches, consider working through “brain dead” tasks. Work on tasks such as installing security updates or tossing out old papers.
23. Large Projects
Try to break down large projects into smaller tasks. This is one of the most important time management hacks.
If you’re assigned with organizing a corporate conference in six months, the effort may feel impossible.
Consider starting by writing a plan and asking for advice from people who have accomplished similar projects. Big goals are usually achieved when little things you do every day will get you closer to the end goal.
22. Three Tasks Per Day
It’s easy to come up with a list with dozens of items at the beginning of your workday. Unfortunately, requests from your boss, unplanned phone calls and other things quickly overturn your best plans.
Consider choosing three important tasks per day. Set that as your maximum per day.
The most effective managers know how to delegate tasks so they can focus on their work better. Learn to make use of other people. John Maxwell says, “If something can be done 80% as well by someone else, delegate!”
The best way to delegate is to describe the task and deadline. Explain it to the person who will be performing the tasks and ask to be kept informed. Working less hours and getting help = easy peasy.
20. Review Your Past
No one likes repeating past mistakes. It’s one of the worst ways to misuse limited time. Review your projects, work deliverables and habits regularly. It makes sense.
If your smart phone always runs out of battery during your workday, consider buying a charger for the office. Putting improvements like that will save you time and frustration in the future.
19. Set Deadlines
The best way to stay organized is to give yourself deadlines. Set deadlines for everything so that tasks don’t go on indefinitely. A task without a deadline will most likely frustrate you after all.
When your boss gives you a deadline for Friday, consider getting the work done on Thursday instead so you have time to go over it.
18. Schedule Travel Time
We all need to learn to manage Travel time. If it takes you 10 minutes to travel from your main office building to a nearby client building, you need to be aware of that.
This means you can’t afford to schedule back-to-back meetings and still be on time. Try to plan your travel time using a worst-case scenario. That way you’re more likely to arrive early.
17. Take Breaks
It’s bad for your health to sit around in your desk chair all day. Take breaks! 5-10 minutes breaks every hour will help you maintain your health and focus.
Take that time to walk around or get a glass of water. Stretching for a few minutes also does wonders to your body.
16. Learn to Say No
Saying yes to new responsibilities is an amazing way to grow your career when you first get started. Unfortunately, this habit can be taken too far.
You have to learn to say no, especially if you’re a people pleaser or struggle with saying no. If you say yes to everything you’re bound to get in over your head.
15. Use Your Values
Allow your values to make decisions about your time. To manage your time effectively you have to understand yourself.
If your top value is family, you have to manage your work requirements according to your value. It may seem challenging to discover your values if you’ve never been given though to this area before.
14. Move On
If you try to cover up mistakes, you’re just wasting everyone’s time including your own. Much more can be achieved in life by admitting your mistakes, solving them, and moving on.
Most managers are more than willing to forgive mistakes, unless you’re dishonest. Make sure you’re always honest with your boss and work hard to prevent those mistakes from reoccurring.
13. Know Your Goals
Whether you have zero goals or ten goals, you should organize them by their value and priority. If you don’t have any goals, create at least one goal today. They are essential for effective time management. If you have too many goals, organize them. You need one goal for each primary area of your life.
Set a goal for your work or business, your health, and your finances. One goal will have the most value and top priority on a given day.
No two tasks will ever hold the same importance. Always prioritize. Your to-do list may be endless, so choose your top five tasks for the day, prioritize them, and work on them in order of priority.
If you’re not sure about what you should do next, ask yourself what your top priority is in the moment. Your top priority will most likely NOT be “Check Facebook.”
11. How Much is Your Time Worth
Set a dollar value for your time. Time management is much easier if you know what an hour of your time is worth. For example, if you set your time worth at $600 an hour, you will know that the 30 minutes you spent on Facebook is worth $300.
If you’re not sure what your time is worth, just guess. Consider asking your boss. If you’re your own boss, you already know what your time is worth. Try keeping a time log so that you know where you time is going. Then cut down on useless activities. Respect your time and make it respected.
10. Nothing’s Perfect
Always try to do your “best.” However, remember that nothing is perfect. Just get things done. Your best in that moment is fine.
Work iteratively. Perfectionism wastes time and expectations to do so are stifling. If you’re prone to perfectionism, be aware. Try and force yourself to let things go.
9. Have a Routine
Set up your own work routine and try to stick to it. With every detail comes a new habit.
Consider starting your day with a healthy routine and end it on a high note. All other things in between you can control, but remember to building room for error.
8. Forget Yesterday
Yesterday is gone! The consequences of a bad decision may remain, but the day is gone. Babe Ruth once said, “yesterday’s home runs don’t win today’s games.”
Turn the page of yesterday. All you need to worry about is today and tomorrow. Yesterday can’t be undone. You can’t buy it back.
7. Your Zone
Try to do more work when you’re in your “zone.” Relax when you’re not. More work hours don’t always mean more productivity.
According to Alain Paquin, “It’s normal to have days where you just can’t work and days when you’ll work 12 hours straight.” If you try to work for 12 hours out of your “zone,” you’ll just be wasting everyone’s time, including your own.
6. Work Your Way into Work
The best way to start working is to work! Try starting with short tasks to get the ball rolling.
It’s that simple. Warm up to the bigger tasks by handling some small tasks first.
5. Separate Tasks
By separating brainless and strategic tasks, you become more productive. Sol Tanguay once said, “Separate thinking and execution to execute faster and think better.”
Different tasks demand different types of thinking. It makes much more sense to allow your mind to continue to flow with its current zone rather than switching unnecessarily to something that’s going to require you to re-orient.
4. Group Your Work
Try to group your meetings and communications to create blocks of uninterrupted work. Without interruptions you’re able to devote your entire focus to the task at hand. It’s more productive to keep the same context throughout your day.
Don’t try to switch between different projects or clients. According to Paul Graham, “A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in.
3. Lock Yourself Down
“Write down anything that distracts you – Google searches, random thoughts, new ideas, whatever. The point is, if you write them down they’ll stop bubbling up when you’re in the zone,” said Steven Corona. No Distractions, no excuses.
Sometimes the only way to get something done is under lock and key. Lock yourself in. Act accordingly.
2. Make an Impact
It’s important to know what you’re really need to get done during the day. Get rid of all the excess. Remove it as soon as you identify it. Become more in touch with what is significant and will make an impact.
Jason Cohen said, “Only ever work on the thing that will have the biggest impact.” Those tasks are what deserve our time. Eliminate the nonessential and get done what really needs to get done in the day.
1. There’s Always Time
Time is priorities. Prioritize your time effectively. “Too much work make jack a dull boy.”
Time spent having fun isn’t necessarily time wasted. It’s easy to neglect yourself and work all the time if you’re drive to achieve results. That’s why we should always make time on our schedules for enjoyable activities.