24 hours a day is enough time for anyone if they knew about the top 10 tips for time management. Bruce Lee, the famous Chinese martial artist once said, “If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” We all have 24 hours a day in this world. And what separates the successful from non famous people is how they spend these 24 hours.
Highly successful people value their time. They know that if they want to get ahead, produce outstanding results, and live a successful life, they must make good use of their time. Unlike the successful, ordinary people choose to play games, surf and watch YouTube mindlessly, checking updates on social media, and so on.
Therefore, if you want to achieve your goals and realize your dreams, you too, must learn from the extraordinary who knows how to manage their time effectively. After all, it is what you do in those 24 hours each day that counts. Here are top 10 tips for time management to take control of your life more effectively.
First thing first
One of the most important keys to effective time management is to do the concept of “first thing first”. Meaning, you must do the most important work first.
If you want to build a successful blog, there are many things you can do. For instance, you can design a beautiful logo, write content, create a Facebook page, create a Twitter account, read other successful blogs, network with other bloggers, and so on. The key to becoming productive is to do the high-impact work first, and in this case, you should write content for your blogs.
In sales, your most important work is to prospect for clients and customers, therefore, stop wasting your time on doing the filing, organizing your tables, etc. Spend the first part of your day doing the high-impact work.
Get rid of distractions
Next, learn to get rid of distractions. You cannot focus when there are distractions all around you. The best way to get things done is to lock yourself in your room and focus on completing your work.
People tend to lose their focus and they want to check their phones regularly to see if there is anyone texting them or if someone emails them. Do not allow this to happen to you. When it is time to work, work. Choose to focus on your work and never allow distractions to interrupt your flow.
A study conducted by Microsoft Corp. discovered that people now generally lose their concentration after 8 seconds. Do you know that even goldfish can focus longer than us? Goldfish has an attention span of about 9 seconds.
If you want to produce great work, you must avoid distractions at all cost. So get rid of them.
Learn to say “no”
Another important key to effective time management is to learn to say “no”. You have to understand what is important to you. Whenever someone comes to you and ask for your help, try to reject politely.
We all have 24 hours a day and we simply cannot please everyone who comes to us. Sometimes when you are in the mood to focus on your work, your colleagues or friends may come to you and all you need to do then, is to say “no” so that you can focus on your own work.
Get enough sleep
When it comes to time management, most people will think about how to use their time more effectively, not many will come to think about managing their energy. Being productive and getting things done requires energy.
If you are feeling tired and sleepy, it is extremely difficult to focus on your task. For instance, writing an article requires your creative juices. If you are tired and sleepy, you may end up writing a so-so article, plus, you may take longer than usual to write it.
However, when you are energetic, you are able to perform better and complete the article in a shorter time. Hence, get enough sleep to perform at your best.
Focus and not multitask
A lot of people thought that the more they can get done the better. No, this is not always the case. Studies and research have discovered that multi-tasking is not going to work. Our brains do not support the ability to multi-task.
When we do two things at the same time, we are actually switching our attention power from one task to another, back and forth. This is why accident can happen when people try to drive and talk on the phone.
Multi-tasking actually lowers our productivity. Thus, if you want to get more done, do not multi-task, instead, choose to focus. This is especially true for tasks that require your creative power.
Get a head start
Do you know that most highly successful people started their day super early? People like Barrack Obama, Tim Cook, Jack Dorsey, Richard Branson, etc, wake up early and they start their day early.
Robin Sharma, the personal development guru and best-selling author who wrote the book, “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”, suggests his students wake up at 5AM. He even called this movement as the “5AM Club”.
When you wake up early, you have more time than ordinary people who sleep more and wake up later. You can use this as an advantage for a great head start.
Turn your high-impact tasks into habits
Success is about doing the small tasks consistently, day-in and day-out. It is not about doing just one thing or making one big decision. Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Thus, focus on building productive habits, particularly, turn your high-impact tasks into your daily habits. If you want to be a successful writer, you must turn writing into your habit. If you want to be a great swimmer, you must make swimming as your habit.
Schedule regular rest time
Try to prevent burnout by scheduling regular rest time into your workday. You can practice the Pomodoro technique where it suggests people work for 25 minutes, and then take a short 5 minutes break before you continue again with the work.
This technique is good because it prevents your willpower from depleting by taking short and regular breaks.
If you need to write 10,000 words a day, there is no way you can do it in one sitting. You must take regular breaks so that your mind can have time to rest and recharge.
Include play time on your calendar
Having said that, remember to include play time into your calendar as well. According to Neil Fiore, the author of “The Now Habit” says that one of the reasons people procrastinate because they did not schedule play time on their calendar.
When you look at your calendar and you find that there is no play and all are works, it makes you feel dejected and tired. You will lose your motivation instantly.
Things will be different if you schedule plays on your calendar. When you see that there is something you are looking forward to doing, you will feel more excited and are more motivated to accomplish the tasks.
Organize and Declutter
Each day before you leave your office, spend about 5 to 10 minutes to organize your workstation and declutter. Studies have discovered that a messy desk can lower your productivity because it creates the dread when you think about the big piles of documents to follow up.
Hence, clear up spaces and organize your documents. Get rid of unnecessary papers on your workstation so that you can focus better.
Instead of stopping at the top 10 tips for time management, below is 3 additional tips. They are by no means less important than the top 10 above.
How can we stop at 10 right? Here's 3 more bonuses below.
Batch similar tasks together
Another great method to manage your time effectively is to batch similar tasks together. For example, when you need to do a few tasks in a day, try to batch related work together and complete them first.
If you try to switch from task to task, it will take away your flow and disrupt your focus. Check your email and reply straight away so that you do not have to do it again later. And if you are in sales, try to batch your prospecting calls and avoid doing other things to save time.
Use time-blocking to get things done
If you always get distracted, use time-blocking to help you focus. Time-blocking can be a very powerful technique to get things done. Block your time for your most important and high-impact tasks.
Here’s an example, if you need to write an article, try to block your time say from 9AM to 11AM to write the article. And during these 2 hours, you will do nothing else except focusing on writing article.
This way, you can guarantee that the task will be done and you can concentrate and perform at your best.
Practice an active lifestyle
Do you know that exercise and being active is the key to improving your productivity? There is no way you can work faster and perform better when you lack the energy and are not feeling well.
Science has proved that exercise increases our productivity by improving our mood and ability to focus. Not only that, exercise also gives us more energy to focus and trains our willpower to delay gratification and get things done.