23 Time Management Techniques of Insanely Busy People
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“Time management is not a peripheral activity or skill. It is the core skill upon which everything else in life depends.”
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.
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.
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.
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You might find it disconcerting when the results are somewhat different than when you complete the work yourself.
To delegate effectively, create a playbook breaking down a project or task step-by-step and detailing what the outcome looks like.
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.
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Time is our precious resource. It is perishable, it is irreplaceable, and it cannot be saved. It can only be reallocated from activities of lower value to activities of higher value.
Your “frog” is your most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it.
If you have two important tasks, start your day with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first. Focus on completing it before you go to the next one.
We tend to confuse activity with accomplishment: we attend endless meetings and make plans, but at the end of the day, no one does the job and gets the results required.
“Failure to execute” is among the biggest problems in organizations today.
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Remind yourself of items that don’t bring you joy, and contribute very little to your long-term goals.
This way, you’re unlikely to spend a lot of time doing time-sucking, non-rewardin...
During this allotted break, give yourself permission to do time-wasting activities (social media scrolling included) until you got bored and want to move on to your next task.
And if your job isn’t ideal for focusing on one thing per day, you can dedicate your morning to one focus area, your early afternoon to another, and late afternoon to another.
This way, instead of being overly restrictive about finishing a task in that time period, you have the flexibility to do any work that moves you forward in that particular focus area.
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In order for any time-management method to be successful, you have to take into account people’s individual behaviors at work. There is no one-size-fits-all method for time management.
Give them a seemingly impossible list of tasks and they will have them done and dusted faster than a speeding bullet. But in their haste, they can miss things and prioritize nonurgent tasks.
Strategy: For this type, ranking tasks according to urgency is a good call.
Very sociable and upbeat but with a tendency to procrastinate, they often boast about their nonexistent achievements giving the impression they are more productive than they really are.
Strategy: breaking tasks into tiny steps, scheduling their resolution and setting reminders works well. Email management according to urgency is also crucial considering how much time it usually consumes.
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Instead of relying on a tool with all the bells and whistles, find out where you’re struggling and what’s essential for you.
For example, if scheduling is taking you away from product development, then you could use a scheduling tool that uses machine learning to automate most of your scheduling needs. If you’re wasting too much time on email, then consider using a tool to help tame your inbox.
Time management is only useful when you’re aware of your limitations and don't let the system dictate your entire life.
In other words, when you don’t tread lightly (especially at first), time management can add more stress to your life.
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Though deadlines can often help you avoid procrastinating, research also shows that they don’t always work, and there are situations where increased flexibility can be better, in terms of person...
You must challenge yourself to take action sooner rather than later.
Planning and strategizing are important parts of the beginning of a new project, but be careful not to lose yourself indefinitely in these steps.
Blame is nothing but an easy way out of taking responsibility for your own outcomes. It’s a lot easier to point a finger at someone or something else instead of looking within yourself.
Blame is not constructive; it does not help you or anyone else.
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For you, every event is a crisis and there is always one. You have no time to deal with minor issues like time management, and they accumulate.
Solution: Plan your day and start...
You say yes to everything and have trouble setting boundaries, or if you a boss, setting boundaries on the behavior of others who report to you. You overwhelm yourself and that leads to difficulties in fulfilling all your commitments.
Solution: Understand that work-life balance is essential for your well being. Learn to say no and start doing it.
You have a borderline avoidant approach to work and your high sociability gets in the way of task management and productivity.
Solution: find ways to motivate yourself, avoid procrastination and don’t forget why you are working at something.
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Trying to apply time management tools without having prerequisite time management skills is unlikely to work effectively. The prerequisites are:
The way to improve your Time Management skills requires us to figure out where to focus. This can be done by:
The key factor to consider when developing awareness skills is that effectiveness (doing things well) is as important as efficiency (doing things fast).
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This works well for the chronic procrastinator: those who say they will do it later and then wonder why it never gets done.
Instead of getting overwhelmed, tackle your to-do l...
Rather than trying to work flat-out, break down your day into a series of work-sprints with a short rest period after each session.
Set a timer for 25 min and focus exclusively on your work for that time, take a 5 min break, and repeat.
Some people find that taking a 5 min break destroys their flow. But it does help to break long complex tasks into a series on manageable sprints.
The 2-minute rule is a strategy for quickly assessing and taking action on small tasks so they don’t take up too much mental energy.
Ask yourself if a task is going to take you 2 minutes or less. If so, just do it.
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