Time is something that is accountable for bringing big results, and this is why its relevance can’t be ignored.
How we spend time is becoming an integral part of the way we live, and the objective lies in making every day counts for something that adds value.
When an individual manages the time intelligently by investing in time management strategies, he/she is more likely to achieve much-needed work-life balance.
The purpose of this blog piece is to provide you with essential time management strategies that can help you achieve efficiency and strike a perfect work-life balance.
1. Learn to Say No
Taking care of your deadlines is more important than upsetting anyone.
You should only agree to deadlines that you could handle in reality.
If you are already occupied with a handful of tasks, and you receive additional requests for tasks for the same day, it is always good to say “NO”.
You should never agree to help out others until you have completed your own work or you have some extra time to spare.
Always try to keep your priorities simple and straight.
2. Aligning Your Focus
Time management strategies such as staying focused come in handy when you plan on pushing yourself away from the distractive circle.
Staying focused is the key to keeping yourself fixated on tasks that are important and requires your utmost attention.
To stay put on what you want to achieve, keep your end goals in mind.
Try restricting your focus on only one part of the work at a time, this means that when you’re working you should not be paying attention to what’s trending on social media and where are your mates planning to go over the weekend.
3. Learn the 80-20 Rule
If you haven’t learned the 80-20 rule as of yet, it is high time that you know the logic behind this science.
The 80-20 rule tells us that eighty percent of the results that you achieve is a result of twenty percent of the efforts you put in.
When it comes to effective time management strategies, this rule suggests you find ways to keep your to-do list simple and to the point.
The 80-20 rule also encourages that you should always get down to the most important tasks at first and focus on completing them first.
4. Limiting Your Responsibilities
Before starting on anything, always go through your to-do list for work.
Look for the tasks that you can delegate or automate or tasks that could be dropped out altogether from your schedule.
While delegating make sure that you delegate work to the right person, somebody you think will do as needed.
Always try to keep it lean and simple.
5. Focusing on High-value Activities
Before hopping onto something new, always identify the activity that you think will have a positive effect on your project, team, and client if you were to deal with it instantly.
Always try to resist the temptation to smaller, unimportant and smaller tasks that need clarification.
The best practice is to start with what’s most important.
Start by asking the following:
- What is most needed out of me by the client or by my team right now?
- What will be the consequences of not completing the task?
- How can I strategically plan for a better tomorrow?
- What is the biggest contribution I can make?
6. Quality vs Quantity
Research conducted by Behance found out that when you place importance on hours and physical presence over results and actions you lead yourself to anxiety and culture of inefficiency.
If you spend too much time sitting on your desk, it would promise nothing but a factory-like culture, where basic laws of human nature and idea generation are ignored.
The study concluded that:
- If the brain is tired, it does not work effectively.
- The idea generation happens on its own terms.
- When you are forced to more than your capacity, you start hating what you are doing.
The best you can do to master this effective time management strategy is to think about how much you were able to accomplish.
One way of doing this is to create a list of tasks/jobs that you were able to complete during the course of the day to keep you motivated, instead of keeping yourself busy.
7. Batching Tasks
Instead of jumping, all over the place try to batch similar tasks together before you start working on them.
This will not only help in minimizing the cost of switching, but it will also help in minimizing distractions so that you can complete them efficiently.
A small example of batching similar tasks together can be, blocking three slots at different times instance to check your email and other means of communication at your organization to make sure that you are not missing out anything.
Another approach can be batching your days for tasks, for instance, reserve Tuesdays for meeting only.
8. Multitasking is not the Key
Multitasking might be harmless when it comes to things other than work.
However, when it comes to working it can be detrimental because the human brain can’t do more than one thing at a time.
When you are multitasking, you split your attention between the tasks, resulting in a declined quality of work and a wastage of time.
This is because most of your time wasted across switching between the tasks instead of focusing on getting the work done.
This is why it is suggested that you shouldn’t keep yourself occupied with more than one thing at a time, and channel all your energy to one task before switching over.
9. Know where to spend your time
Nearly all the time management strategies have one thing in common i.e. efficient use of the time you have.
The basic idea is to know how long it would take you to complete the tasks you have on your list.
You can easily keep track of your time once you are able to clearly define how you allocate and spend your time.
If you want to improve how you and your teams are spending time on the work, try using Week Plan.
Knowing how to spend your time helps in making your job easier.
10. Setting Deadlines
By setting deadlines or time limits to a task you encourage yourself to get in a flow state of mind.
According to Parkinson “Work expands to fill the time available for completion.”
This explains that if you don’t set a deadline for the tasks that you have you will end up consuming all the time, leaving you empty-handed by the end of the day.
Setting an appropriate deadline will push you to beat the ticking clock.
11. The 1-minute rule
Happiness expert and author Gretchen Rubin have devised a rule to make your life easier.
The simple concept is called the 1-minute rule, the rule explains that if you have a pile of tasks and some from them can be completed under 60 seconds, then just go about doing it and don’t waste time thinking about them.
The author explains that when he embraced this rule, he was able to achieve big results by limiting the nagging of those small tasks and keeping them under control made him, more serene and less overwhelmed.
12. Be Positive
You must be wondering how this can be on the list of time management strategies.
Well, the idea is fairly simple if you emit positive vibes at work people would actually want to help you out when you are in a bind.
It prevents you from indulging in activities that waste time, boost your confidence, and encourages you to be a problem solver instead of making them worse.
Bearing a positive attitude will help you transform your workplace into a productive one, but you will also build up relationships to make your work more enjoyable.
13. Paying Attention to White Noise
According to different researches that have been conducted various have led to the conclusion that ambient noise is ideal for enhancing creative performance if they are played at moderate volume.
White noise also helps in sustaining concentration, because they are constant in nature.
As a result of increased focus, you will work faster and effectively.
14. Restricting Your Inner Perfectionist
Being a perfectionist is something that you should immediately exclude from your time management strategy.
Not only is it unrealistic, but it also holds you back from improving, discovering new opportunities and getting work done.
The best approach is to set realistic goals and welcome critics from others.
Another approach is to stop comparing and ruminating yourself with others.
15. Accepting the Planning Fallacy
The idea of planning fallacy was first proposed by Tversky and Daniel Kahneman in 1979.
They explained that planning fallacy occurs when you underestimate the time that a task would require to complete.
This cognitive bias can throw off your entire schedules and even lead to deadlines being missed.
In order to avoid this fallacy you can take certain steps, for instance before ruling out any decisions, you should always track your time to have a better estimate and then plan accordingly.
16. Keep a Track of Your Daily Routine
Keeping a track of your daily routine is one of the essential time management techniques that can help you highlight the activities that are nothing but merely a waste of time.
You can start by tracking your activities using various productivity software such as Week Plan.
Once you have successfully recorded your daily activities for a week, then only you will be able to spot all time-wasting activities and continue a conscious effort to cut them out.
17. Finish What You Started
When you leave out things in the middle without completing there are high chances that it would backfire leaving you stressful and distracted.
Your mind is still captivated by it, and leaving it unfinished always lingers in your mind.
What adds to the pain is that you will have to schedule a time to circle back to this task, so that it stops haunting your concentration.
Thus, it is always wise to finish one task before you hop onto others.
18. Work on Your Decision Making
You can barely find any jobs today that involve minimal decision-making.
You can’t just sit down and start working without giving any thoughts about how to plan your work and making decisions in the beginning.
Your thought process should have to have:
- Identifying the high priority tasks
- The completion date of the task
- Resources at your disposal
All such considerations should be taken into account to avoid duplication and overlapping.
Improving your decision-making is amongst the essential decision-making strategies, which if done wrong leads to zero outcomes for the day.
This is why the decisions you take should be clear and concise to ensure the quality of work.
19. Adopting Musk’s Time Block Tactic
Most people account for Musk’s time block tactic as the reason for his success.
His secret to effective time management is the technique of time blocking, where Musk follows the superhuman ability to focus on without any distractions.
The time block is a time management strategy where you actually restrain yourself just to one task with a certain number of hours dedicated and blocking off time for other tasks.
Various authors have also endorsed this as one of the best time management techniques that can be used to increase productivity and for charting sustainable success.
20. Working in Ultradian Rhythm
This is something, which is quite uncommon among most of the organizations, and considering it as one of the elements for your time management strategy can make a significant difference.
Ultradian Rhythms are the biological intervals (120 minutes) that our body goes through during the course of the day.
You are most productive during the first ninety minutes, and after it peaks, the mental energy drops for around 30 minutes.
If you are aware of this bodily rhythm, you can schedule your day more efficiently and effectively.
You would know the time when your body is most productive, and you would want to work around the most critical task in that period only.
When the energy experiences a dip, try taking a dip or focus tasks that are less critical in nature.
21. Embracing Tony’s Rapid Planning
The RPM or Rapid Planning Method is a brainchild of Tony Robbins.
RPM is a results-focused planning system, which is designed to help you concentrate more on the outcomes of the tasks.
The rapid planning method stands for results-oriented, purpose-driven, and massive action plan.
The aforementioned properties help in getting better answers and direct your efforts in a more organized manner.
22. Rework Your To-do Listing
To-do lists aren’t just beneficial but should be an essential part of your time management strategy.
They are helpful in staying focused and help in being successful.
However, you should be careful when creating your to-do list as your brain can only focus on three to four things at a time and too many lists can stress you out.
Nevertheless, you should also keep in mind that lists don’t help account how long would it take to complete a task, nor it can help you separate important tasks from urgent.
23. Declutter and Organize
Having a workplace that is messy and disorganized can be distracting.
You will also end up wasting time looking for misplaced items when you are in dire need of them.
It is, therefore, advised you set aside some time to organize your desk before you leave for home.
One suggested practice is to assign a home to everything you have on your desk and should be immediately returned to their homes once you are done working with them.
They tremendously help in slashing down the time you waste on looking for things.
24. Dynamic Task List
List down the tasks and activities you are supposed to do and update it on the regular to avoid monotony.
Try revisiting the list that you have drafted every once a while to keep your list dynamic so that you have a taste of everything.
However, you must ensure that all the tasks listed have strategic relationships with each other.
25. Well-being is Important
Health is something that you can’t overlook if you want to be efficient and productive.
And once you feel sick all your productivity and efficiency will go down the drain, and there’s just no way around it.
Make sure that you always eat good, reserve time exercise and mediation or maybe do anything that brings you joy.
These time management strategies for efficiency can assist you in leading a more controlled life, which has a perfect work-life balance.
The mentioned time management techniques can serve as a mantra in changing the way you live your life.
All you need to do is start implementing these time management strategies and see significant changes they bring to your life.
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