“Your most important priorities are those that have the most serious consequences, positive or negative, on your life,” explains Brian Tracy, author of Eat That Frog! “Focus on these above all else.”
Improve your time management skills and experience greater productivity with these tips:
1. Exercise regularly. By including exercise in your daily routine, you benefit from greater energy, mental clarity, and calmness throughout the day.
2. Get enough sleep. A Harvard study (2006) revealed that chronic sleep loss contributes to weight gain, high blood pressure, and a decrease in the immune system’s power. Amy Lynn Andrews, author of Tell Your Time, suggests that sleep “is too often the first activity that gets whittled down as other items are added to the schedule. Do not underestimate the importance of sleep.” She adds, “Because it’s so vital to your overall health and well-being, guard it fiercely.” The simple act of going to bed and getting up in the morning at the same time every day contributes to your ability to focus and concentrate.
3. Clear the clutter. Purge old files, get rid of office equipment you no longer use, and organize materials needed to complete important tasks throughout the day. Uncluttering will allow you to experience greater clarity and productivity.
Craig Smith shares this wonderful Infographic diagram about How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life. It is difficult to manage all of the clutter at once. However, Smith shows how we can consistently manage the details to avoid crisis mentality.
4. Go digital. Digital files are rapidly replacing cumbersome file cabinets. Scan paper documents. Programs like Shoeboxed, CardMunch or DocScanner allow you to photograph your files with your Smartphone and store them as PDFs so you can easily access and share them.
5. Streamline meetings. Provide an agenda of important items and tasks that need to be addressed to those attending upcoming meetings. Clarify roles before the meeting (facilitator, note-taker, etc.). Review norms at the beginning of each meeting and stay on task. Provide a summary of the meeting to all participants.
6. Take time to plan. Dedicate time in your day for strategic thinking. Regularly review your personal vision, mission, and goals. Ensure your calendar reflects that your daily tasks are aligned with your goals. Alan Lakein, author of How to Get Control of Your Life and Time, stated, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Keep this time sacred.
7. Get in the cloud. Using cloud solutions to store data and documents and manage projects helps keep you on track. Google Drive integrates information with tools you may already use. Popular project management tools such as Basecamp and Zoho increase your ability to collaboratively plan with others.
8. Dump distractions. Harnessing attention to social media will reap valuable time-saving rewards. RescueTime is a great tool that measures where you spend time online, reveals your biggest time-wasters, and has the capacity to shut off digital distractions for a time period.
9. Cut back on email. Allot time during the day to address email. For example, check and respond to email at the beginning and end of every day. Unnecessary attention to email sucks precious time from your day.
10. Keep it short. When you must send an email, keep it brief. If your email contain more than five sentences, most people will ignore it. If you need to include more detail, put it in an attachment.
11. Take breaks. Frequent short breaks during the day improve your energy level. Francesco Cirillo, creator of the Pomodoro Technique, maintains that frequent breaks throughout the day improved mental agility. The Pomodoro Technique is a system of time management that allows me to stay focused on tasks and manage my time well. If you must sit for long periods of time, applications such as StretchClock or Big Stretch remind you to get up and stretch or move around.
12. Delegate. Consider the cost of your time and how much of it is wasted on unnecessary tasks. Tools such as TaskRabbit can help you find individuals to manage smaller responsibilities. You will find more time to tend to bigger tasks that require more substantial amounts of your attention.
13. Find strength in numbers. Partner with others whose skills complement your own. Form strategic alliances with those in similar businesses to network and share ideas.
14. Take charge. It’s tempting to say “yes” to every tasks that pops up throughout the day. Train yourself to refuse projects that do not align with your goals.
As you consider the responsibilities and task that need your attention, it is important to remember that you only have 24 hours in a day. Your most important tasks deserve your utmost attention. Block those tasks into your schedule first. As you decide how to plan the rest of your time, you will want to (1) include remaining priorities, (2) find someone else to do less important tasks, or (3) remove less important tasks that do not align with your goals from your schedule.
Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, believed, “Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.” Deliberate planning permits you to make the best use of your time and moves you more quickly towards your goals. You will find, as you supercharge your productivity and make mindful choices about your priorities, you will have more time to do the things you want to do.
What tools and time management skills help you experience greater productivity?
Get more organized with these tips from Declutter & Simplify Your Life.
Learn how seasoned pros prepare for each day with suggestions from What You Must Do to Experience Success.
Manage your time more effectively with tips from Organize Your Day & Increase Your Productivity.
Do you have a dream, a goal, or great idea? Find inspiration you need and direction you want from my award-winning goal-setting book, Dreams to Action Trailblazer’s Guide.