10. Doing Everything On Your Own - Deepstash

10. Doing Everything On Your Own

We all have 24 hours in a day and limited energy capacities as human beings.

Time management tips:

  • Outsource. Weigh the opportunity costs, take some load off your shoulders and focus on hign-impact activities.
  • Automate your routines as much as possible.
  • Delegate a part of your workload to other team memebrs to teach them new skills and grow a reliable assistant.  

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MORE IDEAS FROM 20 Most Common Time Management Problems & Solutions

Habits are routines that you do with little or no conscious thought, also meaning little energy investments.

Time management tips:

  • Build the habit loop. Choose a trigger, execute the routine and do something enjoyable afterward. Let’s say at 10 a.m. you have a standup meeting (trigger). Next, you disable notifications, put your headphones on and attack the most demanding task (routine). After that you go for lunch at around 2 p.m. or whenever you are done. 

* check Atomic Habits by James Clear

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Regardless of our occupations, many aspects of our jobs are repetitive and open to automation.

Time management tips:

  • Improve routine tasks. Review your routine activities regularly and brainstorm ideas of how you could tackle them even more effectively.
  • Automate management routines with time and project management tools. 
  • Use automation tools. Automate routines in your web apps with tools like Zapier and IFTTT

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Our average working memory capacity is limited to three to five items. Anything that exceeds these limits has a high chance of falling out of our brains.

Time management tips:

  • Use external storage: organizers, notes, task apps and software to unload your mind and come back to these tasks when needed.
  • Use collaboration software to brainstorm and discuss ideas with your team.
  • Simplify everyday choices. Reduce the number of everyday choices not to waste your energy on trivial decisions.

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Attention management - the ability to recognize your brain state and consciously shift yourself into the state that will serve you best at the moment.

Time management tips:

  • Control your environment. Communicate to others that you try to stay focused. 
  • Review your attention-stealing habits. Background TV noise, checking out phone notification - identify and eliminate these. 
  • Exercise and meditate to improve memory, concentration, and mental sharpness, reduce mind wandering, boost focus and memory

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Big projects look overwhelming and often lead to stress and procrastination.

Time management tips:

  • Break it down. Whenever you start a new task, break it down into steps that you can complete in 20–30 minutes, even if they look trivial.
  • Develop a logical sequence. Complete tasks in order, one by one, to feel the progress.
  • Review your progress regularly. Break your tasks into an easy-to-follow steps. Or use task boards like Kanban to visualize your progress.

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Without mastering hard and soft skills, no amount of time management advice can make you grow faster and achieve more.

Time management tips:

  • Hone your professional skills. Review your skills regularly, think of how you could improve them, what additional skills you could benefit from.
  • Know your tools. Learn shotcuts and make use of tiny features. 
  • Improve your soft skills. Be more conscious about how you deal with feedback, communicate, learn new things, adapt to changes, work through conflicts.

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It happens to the best us when our minds are wandering, making us unable to concentrate.

Time management tips:

  • Use peak performance time. Use the most productive parts of the day to do the most demanding tasks.
  • Take breaks - they refresh your mind, replenish mental resources, restore motivation and reduce decision fatigue.
  • Limit your social media time. Social media and search engines narrow our attention span and our ability to focus.
  • Practice single-tasking. Try using task timers.

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A never-ending circle of tasks may feel devastating, cause stress, depression and burnout. 

Time management tips:

  • Eat the frog. Do the most important or challenging task first thing in the morning.  
  • Try Ivy Lee Method. Create six-item lists for each day sorted by priority. Complete items one by one and move unfinished tasks to the top of the next day's list.  
  • Narrow down your list of tasks. Prioritize activities that will deliver the best returns.

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Without vision, you can't create the results you want and feel joy and excitement to keep on going.

Time management tips:

  • Get a bird’s eye view. Think of how your tasks at hand contribute to your personal or professional goals. Maintain your focus on the end result.
  • Identify time wasters. Notice activities that don't move you forward and turn your focus to the things that matter.
  • Create a contingency plan. Be ready for the worst-case scenarios.

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Develop strategical thinking and set short-term goals to achieve extraordinary results.

Time management tips:

  • Develop awareness. Think about how your time and efforts you invested today will contribute to your tomorrow’s reality and bring you closer to your goals.
  • Use 7-minute rule. Spend 7 minutes in the morning to plan your day and 7 minutes before you go to sleep to review your day and prepare a plan for tomorrow.
  • Review your progress. Use tables, charts and reports to see how you are doing.

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Persistent exposure to stress can put your health and performance at risk.

Time management tips:

  • Identify your stressors. Practice journaling, search for patterns and look into ways to cope with stress.
  • Develop healthy responses to stress: exercise, yoga, meditations, hobbies, favorite activities, quality sleep.
  • Set boundaries. Stick to your working hours and leave work at work. 

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Time management tips:

  • Follow the Goal-Setting Theory: set specific, difficult and challenging goals.
  • Review future plans. Even if you aren’t excited about your current project, a long-term perspective may provide you with motivation to keep on going.
  • Trick your brain. Whenever we accomplish a task, our brains release dopamine, which is connected to feelings of pleasure and motivation. Break down your tasks into small goals to keep yourself motivated during long-term projects.

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Time tracking reveals unexpected trends and insights and ecourages a more strategic approach to time management. 

Time management tips:

  • Pick a time tracking tool: a timesheet app, a desktop time tracker, a mobile app, a browser extension or a stopwatch timer.
  • Track even the smallest tasks like phone calls, meetings, coffee breaks, distraction time.
  • Review your performance regularly with charts and reports. 

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Emails, notifications, social media, paper clutter, low-priority tasks - learn how to manage these effectively. 

Time management tips:

  • Define your boundaries. Make time for phone calls and emails, use chat statuses to communicate when you are available, and, most importantly, schedule time for demanding tasks.
  • Learn to say no. Avoid participating in team chit-chats and postpone low-priority tasks.
  • Schedule work time, self-care activities, guilt-free time. 

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Busy time doesn’t bring you closer to your goals, making you feel anxious and unsettled - maximize the productive time.

Time management tips:

  • Apply the Pareto principle. Focus on 20% tasks of the highest value that give 80% of results.
  • Consider the 4Ds technique. When a new interruption shows up, delete, delegate, defer or do it now.
  • Try the 1–3–5 strategy. Commit to 1 big task, 3 medium and 5 small tasks every day.
  • Set agile results: Focus on 3 key results to achieve over a week, month or year.

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Perfectionists strive to deliver high-quality work, but their high standards cause stress, burnout and anxiety in the long run.

Time management tips:

  • Get comfortable with imperfection. Ask yourself: "Am I being productive? Can I get more results with a handful of imperfect tasks?"
  • Reflect on your progress on a weekly, bi-weekly and monthly basis.
  • Ask for perspective and support. Show your work to your supervisor to learn if you are doing good and the current quality of work is sufficient.

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Review not only your daily and weekly performance but look into monthly and half-year reports to get a birds-eye view of your efforts.

Time management tips:

  • Avoid sunk cost fallacy — investing too much time into ineffective tasks. Question the efficiency of ongoing tasks. 
  • Review your schedule regularly. Review daily schedule to plan your workload. 
  • Build a personal development plan. Document your goals, plans, skills to master. Review your progress regularly to make sure you stay on track.

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Most of us tend to underestimate how long projects and tasks will take us to finish. 

Time management tips:

  • Calculate your fudge ratio. Build a list of tasks, estimate and track time against them. Then add up your total time spent, divide it by the total estimated time and multiply the result by 100%.
  • Assume the worst-case scenario. Include possible interruptions and roadblocks into your estimates.
  • Have someone else estimate for you: we make more accurate estimations for others. 

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On the one hand, an increasingly digitalized lifestyle shortens our attention span and concentration abilities that can be compared to those of a goldfish. 

On the other hand, modern tools can save you hours if used wisely.

Time management tips:

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  • Transfer money to your savings account every time you receive a paycheck
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  • 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

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  • Get some perspective. Develop a vision of what and where you want to be in a few years. 
  • Develop an action plan. Break down you vision into manageable steps that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.
  • Take action. Use time management software to upload your plan and record your time.
  • Reflect on your progress. Review your performance regularly to to get new insights.
  • Ask for feedback. Turn to your boss and ask for their feedback. Be ready to take criticism.

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... is to maximize your productivity when you are working so that you can get more stuff done in shorter periods of time.

By working smarter, you'll find yourself with more time in the day to sleep, exercise, be creative, and recharge. And the key to getting through your to-do list faster is by working smarter -- without sacrificing the quality of your work.

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