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23 Time Management Techniques of Insanely Busy People

Eliminate Distractions

  • Turn off all notifications on your phone, computer, and tablet
  • Leave your phone in odd places that prevent you from immediately finding it
  • Work with headphones as people are less likely to approach you.
  • If you find interesting articles, save them  to read later, such as during the commute
  • Turn off your Wi-Fi when your tasks don’t require internet connectivity
  • Don’t browse social media at work at all. 
  • Use “Do Not Disturb” functions on chat systems.
  • If you have an office, shut the door.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

23 Time Management Techniques of Insanely Busy People

23 Time Management Techniques of Insanely Busy People

https://www.dansilvestre.com/time-management-techniques/

dansilvestre.com

24

Key Ideas

Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy

Time management is not a peripheral activity or skill. It is the core skill upon which everything else in life depends.” 

Work Around Your Energy Levels

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.

Plan Your Day the Night Before

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.

Start the Day with Critical Work

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.

Prioritize Tasks

  1. Write down all your tasks.
  2. Identify what’s urgent and what’s important. After each task, mark them with “U” for Urgent and “I” for Important. 
  3. Assess value: look at your “I” tasks and identify the high-value drivers of your work. You want to find which tasks have priority over others and how many people are impacted by your work
  4. Estimate time to complete each task. Order them from most effort to least effort.

Delegate or Outsource Tasks

  • Find to the right person: he should have all the necessary skills and is capable of doing the job
  • Provide clear instructions: write down the tasks in a step-by-step manual be as specific as possible
  • Define success: be specific about what the expected outcome is and the deadline to have the task completed
  • Clarity: have the tasks explained back to you and offer clarification when something is unclear, rewriting the specifications if needed

Automate Repetitive Tasks

Putting some of your daily tasks on autopilot is key to working smarter.

  • Create canned responses for emails you keep writing over and over again
  • Set reminders in your Calendar so you never forget anything
  • Proofread your writing automatically
  • Schedule and automate your social media posts in advance
  • Automatically fill online forms,  saving all your passwords in one place
  • Create spreadsheet templates for reports you have to do weekly/monthly.

Set Time Constraints

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.

Eliminate Distractions

  • Turn off all notifications on your phone, computer, and tablet
  • Leave your phone in odd places that prevent you from immediately finding it
  • Work with headphones as people are less likely to approach you.
  • If you find interesting articles, save them  to read later, such as during the commute
  • Turn off your Wi-Fi when your tasks don’t require internet connectivity
  • Don’t browse social media at work at all. 
  • Use “Do Not Disturb” functions on chat systems.
  • If you have an office, shut the door.

Make Quick Decisions on Things That Don’t Matter

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

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.

The 2-Minute Rule

  1. If it can be done in two minutes, just do it. Don’t add it to your to-do list, put it aside for later, or delegate to someone else. Just do it.
  2. If it takes more than two minutes, start it. Once you start acting on small tasks, you can keep the ball rolling. Simply working on it for two minutes will help you break the first barrier of procrastination.

Say No More Often Than Yes

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.

Use “Gap Time” Effectively:

  • Learn a new skill, either for your professional or personal life
  • Read books or articles you saved to for later
  • Organize your computer, folders, calendar or work
  • Plan your week, tomorrow, or the rest of your day
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Learn a language
  • Take a walk and think and let your mind wander
  • Take a productive pause to clear your mind.

80/20 Your Time

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.

Automate Decisions

  • Transfer money to your savings account every time you receive a paycheck
  • Choose all your outfits for your week on Sunday and hang them in the closet in order
  • Subscribe to a weekly fresh delivery of organic vegetables and fruits to your home
  • Standardize the typical daily meals you like the most, saving time in cooking and grocery shopping
  • Prepare your sports bag every night and put it in your car. If you prefer running the morning, leave your running shoes near the bed
  • Automate all electronic gadgets to go into sleep mode at a certain hour

Single Task

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

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.

Work From the Calendar

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.

Take Fewer Meetings

  • Do not schedule more time than needed. Most of the times 20 minutes is the sweet spot.
  • Keep the number of participants small.
  • Send everyone an agenda and main points the day before
  • Keep conversation on-track by reminding the participants of the topic.
  • Group your meetings back-to-back to have a clear start and end point for each one

Let Go Of Perfectionism

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

Have a To-Don’t List

Create a To-Don’t list with all the habits you want to remove from your life. For example:

  • Do not email first thing in the morning or last thing at night
  • No morning meetings
  • Don’t say yes unless you’re 100% certain you can deliver
  • Don’t drink coffee in the afternoon
  • Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time

Batch Similar Tasks

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.

Take Time Off to Recharge

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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Defer

To defer means saying, "Not right now" rather than, "Not ever." This could be a new project you want to com mence in a week or two or it could be van idea you want to reflect on before takin...

Delegate

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.

Do

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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What Time Management Is

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.

...

Eat That Frog!

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.

Failure to execute

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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Write A Stop-Doing List

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...

Schedule Procrastination Breaks

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. 

Divide Your Day Into Themes

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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There isn’t enough time
Complaining that you don’t have enough time is not getting to the root problem. It may be that you’re lousy at time management. Admit to yourself that there is enough time -- you just don’t know how t...
A one size fits all solution

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.

Less anxiety

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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Time Management And Personality

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.

The Action Hero

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. 

The Diva

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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Deadlines aren’t a perfect solution

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...

Why deadlines are effective
  • They can reduce the likelihood that you will procrastinate.
  • They help make your goals feel more concrete, by attaching them to a specific timeline.
  • They help you pursue your goals and complete tasks in a timely manner by serving as a precommitment device.
  • They can also help you get things done on time by providing you with structure.
How to set effective deadlines

  • Deadlines should be concrete. You are much more likely to abide by concrete deadlines.
  • Deadlines should be realistic. When choosing a deadline for a task, you should pick one that gives you a sufficient amount of time to complete the task.
  • Deadlines should be meaningful. You should make sure that you can’t just ignore your deadlines, and that there is some motivation for you to adhere to it.

Stephen King
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
Stephen King
Don't just wait around

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.

Don't play the blame game

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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The Fireman

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...

The Over-Committer

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. 

The Aquarian

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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Prerequisites for Effective Time Management

Trying to apply time management tools without having prerequisite time management skills is unlikely to work effectively. The prerequisites are:

  • Awareness about time being a limited reso...
Steps To Improve Time Management

The way to improve your Time Management skills requires us to figure out where to focus. This can be done by:

  • Getting an objective self-assessment done by your peers or boss, or establishing a baseline behavior to measure your performance against.
  • Understanding that it is your skills, not your personality or preferences that can be developed to provide the best results.
  • Identifying the key skill(s) that you need to prioritize, and avoiding spreading yourself too thin.
    Developing Awareness Skills

    The key factor to consider when developing awareness skills is that effectiveness (doing things well) is as important as efficiency (doing things fast).

    • Find which time of the day is your 'peak performance time.
    • Treat time as money, a limited resource, and create a 'time budget' for your to-do list.
    • Measure and evaluate the projected time vs the actual time taken.
    • Consider which of the tasks create follow-up tasks that take up your time later.
    • Take into consideration the 'opportunity cost' of spending time in an activity.

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      Free time is not wasted time

      As long as you interpret time management as a tool to connect your desired outcomes and the time available to you, free time may turn out to be much, much more productive than what you were doing b...

      Time management thinking improves your other skills
      • You learn to take your time and make calm, measured decisions rather than last minute, panicked choices.
      • You also learn assertiveness as you delegate and say no to commitments, and patience as you manage your goals.