People think life is all about money, when in fact, life is all about time. If we have no time, we have nothing. You hear people complain about this constantly. “Oh, how I wish I had more time to study for the exam,” or “I have no time to learn a new language, although I really want to.” It pops out in every conversation, and it messes with our heads. In the end, no time to do what we enjoy means no time to live life. But you do want to live, don’t you?
Since I believe the answer to the last question is “yes,” you are probably here because you feel like you don’t manage your time properly. So many tasks, yet so little time for yourself. That has to change if you want productive results coming your way. Taking time for yourself is crucial for your productivity. Good thing time is in our hands.
Check out the following tips on how to manage your time properly and effectively.
#1 Set Goals
Setting goals is the essential part of every process. By knowing what you aim at, you can determine what your priorities in life are. Let’s say your primer goal is to ace the LSAT with a score of 170 out of 180. When your friend asks you to go out, drink and party while you were supposed to be studying, you will have to say “pass.”
What I wish to underline here is how important it is to stick to your ultimate goal. If you know what you wish for, you know what actions to take and what actions to avoid. That will help you reach your goal even faster, and make you even more productive.
#2 To-Do and Not-To-Do
To keep you focused on your goal, make two lists: a to-do list, which will keep you on top of your tasks, and a not-to-do list, which will help you avoid bad decisions. Doing this will increase your productivity rate by at least 25%. It will also save precious time since now you know what you allow yourself to do and what you don’t.
Write down your to-do’s and your not-to-do’s every morning, or use an app to do it. Don’t be too harsh on yourself though. Give yourself a break when you feel like it – never include breaks on your not-to-do list, you need them.
#3 Schedule Ahead
Every night before you go to bed, schedule your next day. Make sure you leave time for yourself on the schedule. If you work 8 hours per day, don’t schedule an intensive workout right after that. Go to a yoga session or meditate! You can plan a challenging workout for the weekend, when you’ll have enough energy and a plenty of good disposition.
Use the to-do-list for planning out the following day. Keep your schedule realistic, and do not overwhelm yourself with tons of unrealizable activities. Having a schedule saves time and energy thinking about what you have to do next, so use it wisely, but don’t obsess about it.
#4 Do not Procrastinate
Procrastinating is very tempting. Everybody does it from time to time, and that is all right. If procrastinating becomes a routine though, that’s when you need to worry about it. Waiting for things to happen by themselves, or being too lazy to start your tasks is damaging. Your productivity rate decreases dramatically,
Think about it – if you procrastinate, you don’t do anything productive while waiting to begin your task. You probably think about it too, and feel guilty. That is why getting that task out of your way first is smart. After finishing your work, you will have time to enjoy other activities, and hey! You can do that without feeling guilty about it.
#5 Get Rid of Distractions
Talking to your best friend or checking out Facebook notifications while trying to work is foolish. It is a waste of your time, and you know it. There is no way you are able to fully concentrate on your work if you keep being distracted. So before you start working, get rid of everything you find distractive. For instance, in order to be able to concentrate on writing this article, I locked my dog in the living room. My desire to play with her would keep me from doing my job – and who would help you achieve productivity then, huh?
Sometimes, the small things distract us the most. My best friend cannot concentrate if she eats. Chewing and focusing on her work is close to impossible. So she knows that in order to be more productive, the smart thing to do is eat first, and work after. If she tries to do both at the same time, it will only take her longer to finish, and leave less time to enjoy her personal time.
#6 Complete Important Tasks First
Getting rid of the important tasks first is a clever method of increasing productivity. When you begin working, you have that feeling of empowerment. You feel fresh and ready to conquer whatever comes your way. That is why completing challenging tasks first is intelligent.
If you start with the easier ones, you will feel tired by the time you reach the important tasks – and that will actually decrease your productivity.
#7 Do Not Multitask
Genicelle Kelly, professional freelancer at RushMyEssay, shares her thoughts on multitasking. “My company’s guidebook clearly states ‘No multitasking in here.’ When I first read it, I was confused. I thought multitasking was an efficient way to get things done faster. After spending more than 12 hours per day trying to accomplish everything at once, I realized I was very wrong. Multitasking is actually a false friend. It gives you the impression that you’re faster, when in fact, it makes you slower. Don’t get fooled by it!”
There is no point in trying to accomplish more than you can. Stay calm about it, and solve the problems unhurriedly. Take it step by step, and make it to the top. God did not create this world in one day, so you are not going to be able to accomplish everything in 24 hours either. Breathe, and let yourself relax during the process. Enjoy it, and live life!
Setting goals and scheduling ahead are two essential methods of improving your time management skills. Remember to get rid of distractions, and to stay firm in your decisions. The not-to-do list will help you decide when to say no, so use it constantly. Also, stop procrastinating if you want quicker, better results, and stop multitasking – it will only hurt you more. Good luck on becoming more efficient!