Develop "habit clusters" - Deepstash

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How productive are you, really? New test and research shows how you stack up

Develop "habit clusters"

  • Focus on your primary objectives: Every night, revise your next day's schedule to understand your top priorities. 
  • Manage your work overload: Skip over 50-80% of your emails based on the sender and the subject. Break large projects into small steps — and start with step one.
  • Support your colleagues: Limit any meeting to 90 minutes or less and end each meeting with clearly defined next steps. Agree on success metrics with your team.

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Get an early start on the day

Early hours are important because they tend to be free of most distractions and give you an opportunity to get focused

An early start will allow you to squeeze in more time for reflection, breakfast, exercise, and getting a jump-start on communication.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Breakfast is a crucial part of getting a strong start each day, especially if your morning routine includes exercise. Add a balanced, protein-rich breakfast to your routine and reap the health benefits, such as:
  • Balanced blood sugar levels, which helps maintain your energy throughout the day
  • Improved short-term memory and mood
  • Faster recovery and renewed energy after workouts
Better use of the commute to work

Some of the ways you can be productive during your commute include:

  • Catching up on podcasts or listening to business-related audio books
  • Hands-free calling to get a head start on critical or time-sensitive issues
  • Reading and responding to emails (for those who use public transit)
  • Researching and preparing for presentations
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 resource.
  • Arrangement and designing of goals, plans, schedules, and tasks for maximum time-efficiency.
  • Adaptation in your use of time, including adjustments and improvisation.
    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.
        Set multiple deadlines

        A way to create less stressful deadlines is to break large projects into smaller tasks. Set a deadline for each task instead of just one final deadline. 

        Regularly spacing the deadlines out will give a sense of moving forward, which can motivate you to complete the task.

        Yerkes-Dodson law

        The Yerkes-Dodson law states that the more mental arousal there is in doing a task, the more efficient a person becomes. After you get to a certain threshold, your performance begins to decrease.

        An appropriate quantity of stress should inspire increased productivity.

        Your ideal stress level

        Difficult tasks require low levels of stress, while easy tasks require high levels of stress to trigger mental arousal.

        The next time you set a deadline, try placing a rush deadline for easier tasks and set your deadline far out for more difficult projects.