Time management guru, Shirley Fine Lee, has determined that 80% of the workday is spent on non-crucial or unimportant tasks, which have little or no value. As a result, projects often take twice as long as anticipated. In order to get ahead in your business, you will need to take control of your day and defeat the monster that is time management. By spending just a few minutes each day on restructuring and improving your timetable, you are building the foundations of a productive lifestyle.
It all comes down to a few simple steps. Knowing how to prioritize your tasks, limit distractions, maintain focus, stay healthy, and drop unimportant projects for the more valuable ones, will help you to comfortably increase your output while putting in fewer hours. Too many people are good at looking and feeling busy but are failing to reach their potential. Swap the illusion of productivity for genuine-time management.
Daily tasks that need completing generally fall into two of four categories: easy, hard, important, and not important. Doing the less essential and easier tasks is often a form of procrastination. You feel busy and productive, without having to actually put in the effort to complete something difficult. Instead, you should start your day with the most difficult and most important things that need doing. This way, you will already be a success by lunchtime. You will then feel relaxed, without the thought of that huge project burdening the back of your mind.
Another way to fake the feeling of productivity is to multitask. Having a thousand tabs open on your browser, each working on a different project, seems like you’re getting loads done, when really each one is taking longer than it needs to. Time blocking is the revolutionary idea of working on one thing and not moving onto the next until the first is complete. The size of the task will determine the length of the time block, but ensure you only do one thing at once.
This could mean having one day dedicated to reading and sending emails, with another reserved solely for creative tasks. By dedicating all of your mental energy to one project, you can get it ticked off and move onto the next task without worrying about the previous.
Scheduling in Sleep, Diet, and Exercise
Getting things done requires energy and your energy levels are dependent upon your lifestyle choices. Time management, therefore, shouldn’t just be about scheduling in work tasks. Make time for at least 7 hours of sleep, a healthy breakfast, and some moderate exercise. Although you will be left with fewer hours to play with, you will have the energy and mental clarity to get everything done within this time.
Take on Less
Saying yes to everything is another way we trick ourselves into feeling productive. However, this often leads to burnout, with each project being incomplete or done to a poor standard. In order to take control of your limited time, choose the most important tasks and do them to the best of your ability. Future clients and employers would rather see a few impressive projects completed to a high standard, than lots of unimpressive accomplishments.
By taking on less, you are able to dedicate more of your time and energy to focus on a single project. You will find yourself more engaged and excited by the work you are doing and therefore your output will be more original and detailed. This will be more fulfilling to both you and your client, as well as less stressful and more enjoyable.
Embrace Digital Minimalism
Cutting out wasted time is the surest way to get going on the important tasks. You can achieve this by cutting out digital clutter and leaving yourself only with the tools and platforms necessary to succeed at a given task. Keep your files and emails organized by deleting the ones no longer needed and splitting them into easily identifiable folders. This will cut down the time spent looking for that important document, allowing you to get straight on with work.
Another aspect of digital minimalism is only having the devices you need to work. This will help you to maintain focus on a single activity and prevent you from multitasking. In most cases, your office should only contain a laptop. If you do keep your phone close by, then turn off unnecessary notifications. You may want to be able to receive emergency phone calls, but consider turning off email notifications and certainly don’t let your Facebook or Instagram disrupt your workflow. Opening these apps up can become a habit, so delete the apps completely until your task is complete. This will make it much easier to stay within the time limit you have set yourself.
Identify and Eliminate Distractions
Each day, you should become aware of the little distractions that are preventing you from getting everything done. The more you can cut out, the more time you free up for important tasks. This can mean different things for different people. Maybe it’s social media and you’re constantly refreshing your newsfeed. Perhaps you are in a noisy environment and around people who make it difficult to concentrate.
For digital nomads, cutting out distractions is essential. You are already jetlagged, struggling to find a quiet workspace, and worrying about where you will be sleeping next week. Eliminate distractions by taking a streamlined, minimalist approach to every aspect of life. Choose the Arcido Akra for the perfect carry on bag and make sure everything fits in there. This cuts down on time spent packing, unpacking, getting dressed, going through airport security, and finding what you need when you need it. By using the made to fit packing cubes and washbag, you can keep everything organized and use the saved time on finishing up those important projects.
Time management can seem like a monster, but you have it within you to control it. This starts with a reevaluation of your priorities, making sure you set aside time for the bigger and more important tasks. Maintain a healthy lifestyle and adopt a minimalist approach, both to your real life and your online work environment. This will create the space and give you the energy needed to end every day with a feeling of success and accomplishment.