Written by Kritika Goyal
We all have different personalities, different mindsets, and different qualifications. But, there is one thing that is the same for all of us. And that is time. I have 24 hours in my day, and so does Elon Musk. And still, he is able to achieve this much more out of the same 24 hours. How? Here comes the skill of time management.
Being busy is not a badge of honour. And the real problem lies in the fact that most of us are not even aware of where our time is getting wasted. So, before learning the time management tips, here are the few things you need to do.
● Track every minute of your day for a few days and analyze where you are ACTUALLY investing your time.
● Figure out the time blocks when you are the most productive and when you are the least productive.
Okay, so in this post, I will be sharing a few time management tips which have worked for me really well. And I hope it works for you as well. Let's dive right into the topic.
#1. Minimize Distractions
I could have called this subtopic as 'remove distractions' or 'get rid of distractions'. But we are talking about the practical approaches here.
Distractions can disrupt our entire workflow and there are all types of them in our lives. But the most commonly faced is technology. The truth is that these can not be entirely removed from our lives. So, our goal here should be to minimize them as much as possible.
But being a minimalist, before installing a new app for this purpose, I looked for alternatives if anything can be repurposed here.
So, I have a Zen mode inbuilt in my phone and it works wonders for me. All you have to do is to set the time period for which you need not be disturbed. All your notifications will be muted. You will only get calls and will be able to access the camera and make emergency calls. And your job here is done. Enjoy your work in peace now!
I am sure you must have heard about journaling or making to-do lists. There must be a reason why every other productivity guru is talking about it. And the reason is that it can actually make a huge difference in your day if done correctly.
Learn the skill of making an effective to-do list. Braindump everything on a piece of paper or in the notes app of your phone. The intention here is to have everything written down in front of your eyes. Make it a habit to do it once in a while.
For a quick glance, the important points to keep in mind while making an effective to-do list are -
● Start small. Do not add a zillion tasks to it at the beginning itself.
● Choose a simple medium that works for you and stick to it.
● Add a call-to-action to every task. If possible, add a time slot as well.
● Break down the complicated tasks into smaller executable tasks.
● Focus on your MITs (Most Important Tasks)
#3. Calendar Blocking
Setting the end time for a task is as important as setting the start time.
If you give yourself one hour to complete a task, you will most probably do it in that one hour. And if you give yourself three hours to do the same task, chances are that you will take up those three hours entirely to finish the task.
Block your calendar for your tasks. But assign just the required amount of time to it because work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. (Parkinson's Law)
Most importantly, do not forget to block your 'me-time'. That is very important for your personal and professional growth.
#4. Learn the art of saying 'no'
How many times have you found yourself stuck in the work you don't want to do? But just because you couldn't say no to your colleague, you got stuck there. I am sure most of us can relate to this.
Prioritize your work. Decide which task needs you to be most-productive and needs to be done in the time slot when you are at the top of your productivity game (I am hoping you have done the above two activities positively). Segregate the tasks that do not need specifically 'YOUR' attention and can be done by someone else. Ask your family to share some of the chores with you so that you can focus on your MITs.
Saying 'no' should not be taken as a sign of weakness. Instead, it should be taken as a sign of clarity that you have about what you want and what you don't.
#5. Make time to rest
Have you ever added 'Take rest' or any similar kind of task to your to-do list? Well, I haven't.
We are not robots. Our bodies need rest, physically as well as mentally. People tend to not prioritize sleep as they should be doing.
Give yourself a day off every week. Let your creative brain recharge and get ready for the coming week. Do not exhaust yourself because why are you rushing? What is this rush for? Ask yourself this question - Why am I doing all this work? For mental peace, for money, for happiness - these are the most common answers I have heard. But if you are burning yourself out, what is the point of doing it?
Take regular breaks. Hydrate yourself, eat healthy. Take good care of your health. Because in the end, your body is the only thing that is going to be with you until the very end of your life.
Managing your time is all about making things simple for yourself. It is not about ticking off every task from your to-do lists, it is about prioritizing and segregating the tasks that actually need your attention.
The biggest take away from this post is that everything does not work for everyone. Try out different things for yourself. Figure out what can be incorporated in your life, which techniques can delve smoothly in your routines.
So yeah, these were the time-saving tips that I have to share with you. I would love to hear from you about the tip you find the most practical and which you would be giving a try. Let me know in the comments.