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Time Management Tips That Will Make You a Productivity Master

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.

Time management refers to how you schedule and organize your time for different activities.

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Time Management Tips That Will Make You a Productivity Master

Time Management Tips That Will Make You a Productivity Master

https://www.briantracy.com/blog/time-management/time-management-tips/

briantracy.com

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Key Ideas

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.

Time management refers to how you schedule and organize your time for different activities.

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.

How to Manage Time Effectively

  • Develop a sense of urgency: the habit of moving fast when an opportunity presents itself to you.
  • Stop procrastinating: develop the time management habit of moving quickly when something needs to be done.
  • Work in real-time: do your work as soon as it comes up.

General Time Management Skills

  • Think on paper: Always write down what you intend to do.
  • Avoid distractions: They make getting off track entirely too easy.
  • Make your list of written tasks the night before: The better plan you have, the easier it is for you to get started.

Make a To-Do-List

  • Make a to-do list for every day: One of the best time management tools you can develop.
  • Make your to-do lists a habit: When something new comes up, add it to the list.
  • Check off your completed tasks: This activity gives you a sense of accomplishment and generates the motivation to keep going.

Time Management Tools for Email

  • Answer all of your emails at the same time
  • Keep your emails short and sweet
  • Create email folders
  • Check your email twice a day.

Time Management Mistakes

  • Not allowing enough time to complete your task: Add sufficient cushion time to complete every step of the project. 
  • Assuming that everything will work out all right: Assume that you are going to have problems and schedule sufficient time and resources to solve those problems.
  • Rushing at the end: You almost invariably will make mistakes and do poor quality work that you'll have to go back and correct later. 
  • Trying to do several things at once: You end up doing nothing well. 

The ABCDE Method Prioritization Technique

  • "A” items are most important: the things that you must do.
  • "B” items only have minor consequences: tasks that you should do, but they only have mild consequences.
  • “C” tasks have no consequences: they have no effect at all on your work life.
  • “D” for delegate: the things that you can delegate to someone else.
  • “E” for eliminate: the things you should eliminate altogether.

Time Management Motivation

For you to develop sufficient desire to develop time management and organizational skills, you must be intensely motivated by the benefits you feel you will enjoy. 

You must want the results badly enough to overcome the natural inertia that keeps you doing things the same old way.

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Ask yourself if a task is going to take you 2 minutes or less. If so, just do it.

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Make lists of safe addresses

Create an email whitelist to ensure those messages get through, and a blacklist for what you consider spam addresses.

Update these lists frequently to keep your incoming email clean.

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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.

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Urgent ≠ Important

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Eliminate half-work at all costs

Examples of half-work:

  • You start writing a report but stop randomly to check your phone for no reason or to open up Facebook or Twitter.
  • You try out a new workout routine. Two days later, you read about another “new” fitness program and try a little bit of that. You make little progress in either program and so you start searching for something better.
  • Your mind wanders to your email inbox while you're on the phone with someone.
Do the most important thing first

Decisions and choices that you make throughout the day tend to drain your willpower. You're less likely to make a good decision at the end of the day than you are at the beginning.

If you do the most important thing first, then you’ll never have a day when you didn’t get something important done.

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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.

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Free time is not wasted time

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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.
There isn’t enough time
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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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 ... by giving you a prioritized list of things to get done.

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Craig Jarrow
Craig Jarrow

“By saying no, you are giving yourself the ability and bandwidth to say yes to the things that are more important.”

Matt Mayberry
Matt Mayberry

“If you often find yourself run down by your daily workload or overwhelmed by the complexity of projects and tasks in your life, it is likely because you have not fully mastered effective time management.”

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