Want to get more done in less time? You’ve come to the right place. Here are 13 time management hacks that everyone should know:
Keep a regular calendar
No, you won’t remember that meeting you just scheduled for two weeks from now. Get yourself a calendar, either digital or physical, and make it a point to log every single meeting and deadline in it. If you won’t remember to check the calendar, then get a digital version and set it to automatically remind you before calls, meetings and trips so you can never forget.
Get enough sleep.
While sleeping feels unproductive, it’s one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical performance. Even just one night of lost sleep can impact how quickly and accurately you’re able to get work done. Make it a priority to get in bed early and get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night (however much your body needs). You won’t forget it!
If your to-do list is pages long, then you need to re-assess some things. Go through your list and determine what actually needs to get done. Eliminate everything that isn’t a must-do. If your list is still too long, go through it again and see if you can cut any more tasks. If you can’t, then see what you can assign to someone else.
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If you tell yourself that you’ll finish a project “sometime soon,” then it will never get done. If your project didn’t already come with a deadline, then set one for yourself. It should be realistic, but not so far in the future that you will procrastinate on it. You can also break up a project into sub-tasks and assign a deadline to each of the smaller items to help keep you on track.
Reduce your decisions.
Making a decision, even a simple one like what to wear or what to eat, saps your brain power. Reduce the decision-making power you have to spend by planning ahead and reducing your options. For instance, instead of having to decide what meals you’re eating on the fly and making sure they match your dietary needs, you can sign up for a low-FODMAP meal delivery service and get the meals shipped straight to your door.
Focus on one task at a time.
We hate to break it to you, but multitasking doesn’t actually make you productive in practice — in fact, it often increases the amount of time you spend on any given task. Instead of trying to do multiple things at once, focus on doing one thing at a time and doing it efficiently and accurately.
Do difficult tasks during energy peaks.
Whether it’s the morning, afternoon or evening, you likely have a certain period of time during the day when you are most alert and your brain is functioning at its peak. Save your most demanding tasks for these times, and schedule other mindless items such as sorting through emails for other times of the day when your energy is lower.
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It’s impossible to work non-stop for eight hours — in fact, it can be difficult to work for two hours without a bathroom or coffee break, unless you’re really in the zone. Embrace taking breaks throughout the day and figure out when and how to make them the most refreshing. For instance, you might work better in 30-minute chunks, or 45, or 60, followed by a brief break. There’s no right answer. It’s all about what works for you.
Ration your email time.
Email is one of the biggest time sucks of the modern working world. Unless your job requires you to have your email open at all times, you should keep it closed and only check it during two to three pre-designated times of day. Try not to schedule your email check-ins when your energy is at its peak — save that for other projects.
Customize your notifications.
Speaking of rationing your email time, you should take steps to reduce your notifications for emails, messages, phone calls and other services that constantly interrupt your day. Even if you have to leave them on normally, consider muting them for an hour or two a day so that you can get difficult work done without interruption.
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Manage meetings well.
Many meetings can actually be phone calls or emails, and most necessary meetings can actually be much shorter than they are. If your calendar is filled with wall-to-wall meetings, then take a hard look at them to decide how many of them are really necessary and which ones you can turn into an email. For the meetings that make the cut, experiment with shortening the times to see if you can get the same amount done in less time.
Don’t book every single minute.
Last minute mistakes and emergencies will arise every week, if not every day. Build yourself some buffer time into your schedule by not booking every single minute of your day. You want to have some wiggle room in your day so you can address an urgent email as it comes in or knock out a task for a colleague who’s out sick.
Constantly re-evaluate your approach.
What time management hacks work well now might not work for you in the future. Establish regular check-ins with yourself to re-evaluate how your work life is going and if you need to further tweak it. You’re constantly changing as a person, and so are the demands at work. You need to keep updating your time management strategy as well.
Whether it’s outsourcing your low-FODMAP meal plan or changing all your meeting invites to default to 30 minutes instead of one hour, there’s a productivity hack that can make your life more efficient. Try one of these 13 hacks today to make your time management even better.
Diksha Rai is a professional content writer. She is very passionate about writing articles related to health, diet, weight loss, yoga and fitness. I have been inspired by the most prolific weight loss authors and have a desire to become fastidious researcher with an excellent talent for divining future situations.