Time management is arguably the most important mastery to achieve in life. All of our pursuits are in essence races against time. Time is a sensitive commodity which waits for no one – time literally moves with you. Interestingly we all have the same number of hours in a day. So how then is it that others achieve and do more whilst others do not? It all boils down to how productively or not you use your time. Virtually all of us have wasted or lost time due to unproductive habits at times. How can you win back or redeem your time though? In this article, I discuss that important subject.
Break It Down
How can you best eat an elephant? Well, it is simply by breaking it down into smaller manageable units. The same goes for how you do your things. Break down tasks, goals and the like into smaller manageable chunks – you get more done this way.
Preparation Is Key
Doing this in advance or preparing helps you save valuable time. For instance, iron the clothes you want to wear before the day you intend to wear them. Decide on what to wear tomorrow today and get them ready today. Have your car clean and ready the day before then doing it in the morning. These are examples enunciating the importance of preparation.
Manage Energy Not Time
It is not about the amount of time you devote to a task. It is about managing and ensuring that your energy levels are optimum when you do something. You can spend more than an hour and still not accomplish anything if your energy levels are low. Rather with your energy levels up you can accomplish the same in say, 15 minutes or less.
Break The Habit Of Constantly Checking Your Socials
There is always this temptation to always your emails and social media accounts. Trust me I know from experience. Unfortunately, this seriously gobbles up our time without even realizing it. Break that habit!
Use The Right Tools
You can take an hour to cut down a tree using a blunt axe. Yet you can spend just 5 minutes if you are using a sharp axe. This shows the importance of using the right tools. If you use slow internet you take longer to get things done. If you use a cluttered workspace you might take longer to get things done. These are examples to show you that you must ensure you use the right tools. By ‘right’ I am referring to appropriateness, suitability, and efficiency.
Here I want you to use a simple and practical technique. Dedicate 25 minutes to any task you wish to complete. Once the 25 minutes is up take a 5-minute break and then continue. Once you have repeated this cycle, implying 4 tasks, take a much longer break and then continue later. This technique will help you focus when doing your things.
Have workable, reasonable, repeatable, and reproducible daily routines. This helps you structure and order your day so that you are productive. You will also realize that as you go through this routine daily you will perfect it over time.
Do Not Be Busy Or Work Hard – Work Smart
Many people think sweating and being busy is the epitome of productivity – far from it! You must strive more to getting things completed rather than just running around. Many of you spend the day busy but busy accomplishing nothing. Work smart and efficiently!
Reflect On Past Mistakes, Learn From Them Then Move On
Dwelling on regrets or past mistakes gets you stuck in the past. As you do that you will be robbing today of its time and thus compromise your tomorrow. The past is for one sole thing – to reflect on, learn from and then move on.
Perfect Your To-Do List
You must have some form of a to-do list for your daily routines. The issue is not on quantity but rather on quality. Having a long to-do list does not equate to productivity per se. It is best to make it reasonably sized so that you to actually get things done. Over time cull it down to fewer items than to have a long list. Most people think having a long to-do list and having outstanding tasks is a sign that you are a big deal. Do not fool yourself; it is actually a misleading cognitive bias.
Specialize – Do Not Do Everything
Stop being or trying to be a jack of all trades. This is because by doing so you become a master of none. Hone your skills and solely focus on your areas of strengths. Do not strive to do everything yourself because you will not get much done. Wherever you can you must delegate, outsource and so on.
Outsource Wherever Possible
For most of you running businesses or startups, this is paramount. Not only will it save you operating costs but it will help you have more time to focus on the core aspects. Even on a personal level, you can use the same approach. What you cannot do or do not have time for just find someone skilled enough who can do it for you.
Telling you to stop multitasking is funny because it is an oxymoronic statement. The truth is that multitasking is actually a myth. What you call multitasking is essentially you switching between tasks. Thus you must stop falling for this multitasking thing because it usually compromises productivity.
Daily Bodily Exercise
The most important thing that keeps you legal on this earth is your body. That is why when you die your body cannot remain anymore and it decomposes. My point is that you must take care of your body because if you do not you will lose your right to be here on earth. I do not mean to sound alarmist but it is literally like that – you need your body to legally exist on earth. One way to nurture your body is through daily bodily exercise – it can start as simple as taking a walk daily.
Switch Off Distractions
Distractions are the cunning thieves of valuable time. They come in all shapes and sizes and oftentimes are masked as necessities. It can be chatting with people on social media. It can be watching movies and the like. It can be working in a noisy environment; the list is endless. The bottom line is you must switch off distractions so that you can focus more.
These are 15 practical productivity habits that you must cultivate. Notice I said ‘habits’ so it takes some time to build a repeatable process. Do not be pressured by the ‘it takes 21 days to build a habit though. Studies have shown that for many people it actually takes longer, so relax. Once you devote yourself to this you will notice your life taking on a new meaning.