Do you often feel like there’s never enough time to finish your tasks? If you’re the type to constantly miss deadlines because you can’t seem to manage your time properly for all sorts of reasons, this article is for you. So stop wishing for a 72-hour workday—it won’t happen no matter how hard you cross your fingers! Instead, set yourself up for success by applying these time management tips for achieving your goals:
Hone your ability to manage distractions.
Outwit yourself and the environment in which you operate. Set your phone to airplane mode, disconnect your computer from the internet, post a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door, set your Slack status to “busy” or “away” if you need to. Make sure nothing distracts you when you need to do deep work.
If you want to get ahead, you need to be more productive than your competition, which means avoiding falling for distractions like social media, daily news, worry, and emails that aren’t a priority.
Brian Snedvig | CEO, Jofibo
Tell people you will “check your schedule and get back to them.”
We all want to be perceived as helpful and team players at work, but what we do for others can end up eating into our own time and make meeting our objectives and targets more difficult.
Instead of saying yes to every request that comes your way, ask for some time to think and consult your schedule. If, after reviewing your workload, you think you have time to help, then you can lend a hand. If you decide it’s not feasible, you can decline, justify why, and reiterate that you would love to help in the future.
Gergo Vari | Founder & CEO, Lensa
Make the right kind of to-do list.
A lot of time management comes down to making the right kind of to-do list. Instead of just listing tasks in a vaguely most-to-least important order, I got more granular. Known deadlines of essential tasks go at the top, my A list. On the B list you have things that need to get done but can wait—either they’ll be cleared in the week or else move into the A list.
If you’re dropping items off your B list then they should have gone to rank C from the get go. These are items that can wait til next week, but you list them to aid in future planning. I believe a lot of executives lost sight of the future in order to keep up with the day-to-day during the remote work shift. It’s time to start focusing on those “need to get dones” with clarity so we don’t get bogged down.
The D and E list are made up of things you’d like to do, and things you WILL NOT do, like browsing social media during work or cutting unfinished items off any list. Reaffirm your list every morning and work on them in chunks. It’s less about getting every single thing done (although you should try) than it is about having control over what you’re doing throughout the day to avoid burnout and focus on productivity.
Nate Tsang | Founder & CEO, WallStreetZen
Carry a notepad.
Some people can actually do this on their phones, but most of us do better with the tactility of an actual notepad. Someone tells you something important or interesting? Write it down. Don’t rely on your short-term memory to juggle all these things; even if you can, you’re taxing your brain.
Leanna Serras | Chief Customer Officer, FragranceX
Analyze how you’re currently using your time.
I’ve found that if you’re looking for time management strategies, the first thing you need to do is analyze how you’re currently using your time.. You can’t manage your time if you don’t know where it’s already going.
Consider logging your activities and tasks for a week by tracking your daily activities. Are you spending fifteen minutes staring at your screen and stirring your coffee every morning? Do you get sucked into finding the perfect work playlist on Spotify in the afternoon?
Determine how much you can realistically accomplish in a day and identify where and when your time is spent on unproductive tasks or thoughts.
Andre Kazimierski | CEO, Improovy
Front load your learning.
One of my most successful time management tips is to front load your learning. Essentially, if you want to learn a complex task like computer programming, a foreign language, or even cooking then you can break it down into two parts. First, you do a short-term but deep dive into the fundamentals of the skill.
With this method, you can rapidly take on multiple skills which will help advance your career, without burning out. This is the method I applied to become a lawyer, a marketer, and ultimately a business owner with 200+ employees and 15,000+ clients.
Michael Alexis | CEO, Teambuilding.com
Learn from top performers.
Top performers at a company are usually the people that know all the shortcuts and how to get things done fast. They know all the tricks to the trade, are incredibly productive, and can make solving any difficult and time-consuming task look easy. This is why it’s important to take an active approach to learn from them.
Make it a priority to spend 30-minutes each week with a top performer on your team to learn about how they manage their day-to-day. This can truly transform your career. It can shed light on areas where you might be wasting too much time, or you might learn a better and faster way of doing something.
Actively seeking mentors and learning from top performers helped boost my productivity significantly and as a result, helped accelerate my career.
Terrance Li | Editor-in-Chief, Fastgolfer.com
Use the proper and efficient tools for your work.
To save time, use the proper and efficient tools appropriate for your work – a tool that maximizes your performance and aids you in working more efficiently. For example, it is impossible to prepare food efficiently when you use an ax to chop the ingredients. To complete that task, you will need the right tool: a sharp knife.
On the other hand, if you’re a writer, you can use a tool to help you write faster and solve the usual problems you encounter. This allows you to do your job more quickly, saving you time while also producing excellent performance.
Matthew Roberts | COO, My Choice
Take a break every 90 minutes.
Every 90 minutes (or thereabouts!) take a 10-minute break. Yes, I know this might seem counterintuitive to your goals because you already have a lot to do, so how will adding more help? I was sceptical at first too, but it works. Your mind can only cope with so much in one go, so it’s important to rest it. Go for a quick walk around the block, meditate, or do something completely different for 10 minutes.
And when I say break, I mean a proper break (no digital devices). I’ve been doing this for the past year and it’s worked wonders for me. I feel less stressed during the day and at the end of the day because I’ve rewarded myself with short breaks. Try it.
Ravi Davda | CEO, Rockstar Marketing
Tackle your biggest tasks first.
Your most important tasks (MITs) are those that require your immediate attention. Hence, you should always take care of them first thing when you get to the office. Accomplishing these will give you great momentum to help you sail through the smaller tasks throughout the rest of the day. This will save valuable time and energy.
Turn off social media notifications.
How often has it happened that you are focused on your work when suddenly a Facebook or Instagram notification pops up, taking your attention away and killing all your work momentum? These notifications force you to pick up your phone and start scrolling. In the interest of saving time, you should turn off all social media notifications so that you can lend all your focus to the task at hand.
Steve Anevski | Co-Founder & CEO, Upshift
Make procrastination harder.
One key to effective time-management to achieve your goals is to avoid procrastinating. And how do we do that? We identify the habits or tasks that keep taking up our time, and we make them harder to access or perform.
Addicted to netflix at work? Put on a very difficult password and never save it on your work laptop so that signing in sounds like a chore. Instagram scroller? Hide your social media apps in folders stored away in your phones so it actually becomes a multi-step task to open them.
Slowly, these habits will fade out and you’ll find yourself more in control of your time!
Sameera Sullivan | Relationship Expert, Sameera Sullivan Matchmakers
To achieve your goals with time management, you should look for inspiration when you’re feeling down.
You can turn to YouTube, TED Talks, or any other inspirational source you can find. When you lose your drive, it’s challenging to keep on track with your time. Find ways to rekindle the fire by focusing on inspiring information and seeking out individuals who have accomplished great things.
Another suggestion is to find a mentor who can help you.. It’s critical to find a mentor. When you don’t have someone to help you, it’s easy to become distracted and discouraged. It’s simpler to keep on track with your time when you can personally rely on someone who’s been through the wringer and can assist you in achieving your goals. Find a good mentor who can help you on your journey.
Teo Vanyo | CEO, Stealth Agents
I understand that present work culture has practically worshipped multitasking, especially those who glorify the-hustle-till-you-die attitude. But research suggests that only 2% of people can multitask effectively and the rest are just actually wasting their time, affecting their productivity overall.
I agree with this wholeheartedly. We are being praised for juggling too many tasks at once, but in my experience, it’s not really the most effective way to get things done – you can’t guarantee that each of your tasks will result in the highest quality if you’re not giving each 100% of your time and attention.. At some point, quality will suffer.
So instead of dividing my time and attention into three or more different tasks, I try my best to focus on just one thing and get it done before moving on to the next on my list. I admit that this is extremely tricky to do – as an executive, there are too many things that require my immediate attention at the same time.
Right now, I’m incorporating the method of timeboxing, in which I allocate a timeframe for each task, with the goal of increasing the likelihood of completing it successfully.
Steven McConnell | Managing Director, Exceptional Resumes
Use an egg timer.
I find if I am struggling for motivation or time management throughout the day, I use an egg timer to reteach me the value of 5 minutes. I set the timer and work uninterrupted untilt the timer goes off, then I move onto another task. Some of the tasks may be not work related, especially if I am struggling. They could be house housework, washing dishes, walking outside.
Andrew Taylor | Director, Net Lawman
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