Everyone is incredibly busy today. But putting in long hours does not necessarily mean you’re being productive. In fact, it’s an incredibly common issue. The first step to becoming more productive is to manage your time effectively, but how do you do that? And, once you are fully in control of your schedule how do you spend that time to achieve the best results?
How To Manage Time Effectively (And Efficiently)
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1) Study your work routine
Firstly, you need to study your work routine. That involves finding out how long it takes you to achieve different types of objectives. Look at what you’ve done over the last week and categorise what takes you the most time and what you finish quickly, for example, it might take a long time to plan a project, whereas you could find preparing for a meeting to be an easy job.
2) Start being a planner
Once you know how long it takes you to reach goals, pick up a calendar or diary and start planning it. Writing everything down settles the feeling that your life is spiraling out of control, and keeping a journal is also great for your mental health. Use this journal to highlight three priority actions that you must complete before the end of the day, by constantly referring to your journal you will be reminded to prioritise what is urgent and it will stop you from deviating.
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3) Know when to say “no”
Now, learn to refuse tasks if you are already pressed and plan slightly more time than necessary to complete your top three goals. Juggling too many engagements that can be otherwise delegated will hamper your workload and prevent you from completing your preferred tasks. By extending the amount of time you plan tasks to take you’re easing the pressure a little bit, you can take more breaks without getting angry with yourself.
4) Learn to enjoy your breaks
Make these breaks more enjoyable, take the time to eat a healthy snack or perhaps learn a progressive skill such as a new language. Browser games and apps are great as long as you don’t get carried away, particularly ones that include prizes to win as you’ll find your breaks far more uplifting, leaving you readier to return to work.
5) Lifehacks for success
Although creating a new routine like this will be daunting at first, there are ways to make it easier. Staying healthy will make it so much easier to stay on task. Try eating more healthy food, exercising more (even if it just involves hitting the gym once a week) and most importantly, ensure you get between seven and nine hours of good quality sleep, that means going to sleep at a reasonable time and waking up gradually in the morning.
A National Sleep Foundation (US) study found that people say they need an average of 7 hours 18 minutes of sleep to be at their best, but actually get an average of 6 hours 40 minutes sleep.
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To conclude, managing your time better is easier than you think. Study your habits and begin to write them down in a journal to grant yourself a sense of control, then take on less and give yourself more time to complete your tasks to ease the pressure put on you.
Adopt a healthy lifestyle and take more (shorter) breaks to boost your morale and reduce exhaustion. Soon enough you’ll find yourself regaining a level of control over your life, before you know it you’ll be feeling fitter, smarter, more awake and healthier to boot! 🙂