MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE
Switching between tasks can have damaging costs to our work and productivity.
Develop the habit of single-tasking by forcing your brain to concentrate on one task and one task only. Put your phone away, close all the browser windows and apps that you don’t need. Immerse yourself in this task. Only move to the next one when you’re done.
Productivity is directly related to your energy level.
Find your most productive hours — the time of your peak energy — and schedule Deep Work for those periods. Do low-value and low-energy tasks (also known as shallow work), such as responding to emails or unimportant meetings, in between those hours.
Before going to bed, spend 5 minutes writing your to-do list for the next day. These tasks should help you move towards your professional and personal goals.
You’ll be better prepared mentally for the challenges ahead before waking up and there won’t be any room for procrastination in the morning. As a result, you’ll work faster and smoother than ever before.
A golden time management technique: Find your most important task (MIT) for the day and tackle it first.
Your MIT should be the one thing that creates the most impact on your work. Getting it done will give you the momentum and sense of accomplishment early in the day. That’s how big life goals are achieved: small continuous efforts, day after day.
Putting some of your daily tasks on autopilot is key to working smarter.
Set deadlines even when you don’t need to. Schedule less time to complete tasks and force your brain to focus.
Parkinson’s law states: “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. So, if you reduce the time you have to complete a task, you force your brain to focus and complete it.
Invest your focus on big decisions and make quick calls on medium and small decisions.
Small decisions impact you for a day, such as what to wear or where to eat. Medium impact your life for a year, such as deciding to go back to school or rent a different room. In the long term though, very few decisions matter. Those are the big decisions: they are worthy of serious pondering, discussion, investigation, investment, and decision making.
Track your time to have real data on your work and uncover insights on how you can improve your productivity.
After a couple of weeks, you’ll start noticing patterns and knowing where and how your time is leaking. By being aware of how exactly you are using your time, you can devise a plan to attack your leaks and how to get rid of them.
Say “no” by default to anything that doesn’t contribute to your top 5 career goals.
Your time is a limited resource and you can’t let people set your agenda in life.
The 80 20 rule states that “80% of the output or results will come from 20% of the input or action”. In other words, the little things are the ones that account for the majority of the results.
Use the 80/20 rule in your life and work to prioritize the input that brings the majority of the output.
Break down big tasks into smaller ones to avoid procrastinating and help you stay on track to achieve your final goal.
Never put a huge project down as just one to-do on your list. Instead, put bite-sized to-dos that you can do one at a time. Take it step by step.
Schedule tasks, working from your calendar instead of the to-do list. When an event is consistently scheduled on your calendar, it’s much more likely to transform into an unconscious habit
Using your calendar forces you to rethink your work from tasks to time units. That small change increases the likelihood of getting things done.
Aiming for perfection is a surefire way to delay or never complete a project. Choose to chase “good enough” instead.
It’s easy to be caught up in an endless cycle of trying to do everything perfectly. But being a perfectionism can delay your work and make you miss important deadlines
Create a To-Don’t list with all the habits you want to remove from your life. For example:
The main idea behind this time management technique is to collect up a group of similar activities and do them all in one swoop.
You can work efficiently on multiple tasks without losing your flow if the activities require similar mindsets. Batching forces your brain to be focused on one type of task at a time.
Schedule breaks throughout your day to help you recharge and take regular vacations throughout the year. Rest is the best medicine for sustainable long-term productivity.
Without mastering hard and soft skills, no amount of time management advice can make you grow faster and achieve more.
Time management tips:
Laura Earnest of Whole Life Productivity had this to say on the importance of prioritization as a productivity habit:
“Let me say that I distinguish between efficient and effective, but that both are needed for peak productivity. Efficient is doing things right and effective is doing the right things. So the most productive people work on the high value tasks, making sure that how they are doing those tasks is the best way.
Simply put, act on your tasks. The 2-minute rule can help with that: If you can complete a task in two minutes or less, do it now.
It's amazing what you can accomplish in just 120 seconds: write an email, make a quick phone call, pull a report and so on.