Are you a workaholic? Modern society strongly believes that hard work is the only path to success. That might be true, but keeping busy all the time can lead to a lot of mindless productivity.
You don’t have to keep your mind engaged all the time to be successful and more productive. Instead, manage your time effectively and do more work with much less effort.
These are the 19 tips and tricks that will help you use every working minute wisely. Time is money, after all.
1. Make a Daily Plan
Prevent losing yourself in piled up obligations by planning your day in advance. Before you start the day, make a work plan and stick to it as much as possible.
2. Use a Calendar and an Organizer
This is the most important part of your time management. You can arrange your daily activities easily, stay on top of everything and overview your schedule anywhere, anytime.
3. Start Early
Have you noticed how time passes a bit slower in the morning? It almost looks like you manage to do more things in less time than it takes to do the same tasks in the afternoon. That’s because your body is rested and your mind is ready to tackle harder tasks with much less effort when you work early in the morning.
4. Do Priorities First
Be realistic about your work. You can’t do everything so do the most important things first and leave details for later.
5. Don’t Lose Time on Details
Don’t be a perfectionist and don’t let unimportant things keep you busy. After all, it is possible no one but you notices those. If you think about it, the details one can live without tend to take up the bulk of your time and effort. So forget about them.
6. Eliminate Distractions and Focus Hard
A focused worker is a fast worker. So eliminate all the distractions that break your focus.
Some people like working in silence, others need some background noise… Adjust your workspace to your particular needs. Lock yourself in if you need to. Keep the phone on silent and close all the tabs on your computer that have nothing to do with the task at hand.
7. Know and Tackle Your Biggest Time Wasters
We are at the greatest danger to lose track of time when we unwind watching TV, reading social media or texting with friends. And those are the activities on which you can save time the most if you become aware of it and correct yourself when possible.
8. Say “No”
Don’t rush to accept new tasks and obligations when you already have your hands full. Instead of convincing yourself you can handle it, try saying “No”. Use it often and use it wisely to decline these commitments you know you don’t have time for.
9. Group Related Tasks
Work is done with less effort if you organize it well. It’s much easier if you, for example, do all of the writing tasks together, then make phone calls, and read email after that. So group the related tasks and do them consecutively.
10. Take a Break Between Tasks
Always make a short break between two tasks to clear your mind. You might think it’s time-consuming to make such breaks when you are racing against the clock, but a five-minute break will do wonders for your productivity.
11. Assign a Time Limit for Each Task
Knowing you have a time limit will push you to focus more and work faster. Without a work limit, you’re in danger of dragging things on and needlessly using up too much precious time. So set your time limit for each task and keep a clock on the table.
12. Track Time Spent
A great way to be aware of your time is an online countdown timer called Egg Timer. You enter the number of minutes or hours you want to track and leave the Egg Timer to count down in the background. It will beep when the time is up.
13. Plan to be Early
When you plan to finish things on time or be punctual for a meeting, it’s possible you will be late. So strive to always be early. That way you will seldom if ever be late.
14. Set Reminder Alarms
For important obligations like meetings, set an alarm reminder 15 minutes earlier. Most calendars have this function so be smart and use it.
15. Never Think About the Amount of Work Ahead
The best way to live through a tight-packed workday and not lose your mind is to do it one step at a time. Never stop to worry about the amount of work ahead. You will become overwhelmed and paralyzed. Just breathe and focus only on this one task.
16. Do Something Small on the Weekends
Working only two or four hours during the weekend will lessen the workload scheduled for next week and relieve your stress. It will make you feel better about yourself and enjoy your private activities more.
17. Take Care of Your Health
A healthy mind inhabits a healthy body. If you keep your muscles in shape your brain will work like a Swiss clock making you a business athlete. Always get a good night’s rest of at least 7-8 hours, exercise and keep a balanced diet. That will boost your energy levels and make focusing easy.
18. Consider Getting a Personal Assistant
If you feel exhausted and never have enough time for everything you need to do in a day, it’s high time to consider getting a Personal Assistant. You can find and train the right person to take over those tasks that you don’t have to tackle yourself, but at the moment do tackle through the majority of your day. Just imagine being relieved of one portion of your current obligations.
19. Find Play Even in Work
Not all of your tasks should be perceived as chores. You can find enjoyment in your work if you look at the things you do from a different angle. If you for a minute stop focusing on just getting things done you might find there is play in the work you do, and you might enjoy it more.