Nowadays, busyness has become synonymous with productivity. People take on tasks that are more than they could handle and they get easily tired. Or worse, they get burnt out.
I believe that it is often best to “work smart, not hard.” And time management is the key in working smart. It’s not just about squeezing as many tasks as you can into your day. Time management is about simplifying how you do things and making yourself more effective, which helps in reducing stress.
Check out this list on how you could manage your time better and have time to enjoy life outside your office.
1. Start early.
A bumper sticker I once saw read, “It’s not great to procrastinate” and there’s truth to it. I know it’s a lot easier to wait until the pressure kicks in because you still get it done, right? No. Starting early relieves you of unnecessary stress and gives you plenty of time to do your work excellently. It also provides allowance for last minute revisions, which you may not have the luxury anymore if you start late.
2. Prioritize what’s important.
Perhaps you can call this “the golden rule” of time management. Identify what needs to be done at the moment and finish them first. There’s absolutely no way you can finish all 48 things in your to-do list in one day. Unless you’re The Flash (but I’m guessing you’re not).
3. Focus on one task at a time.
I know, I know. We all love to multitask, 10 browser tabs open in window. While it may seem that multitasking allows us to accomplish more, it does not. Granted that we do finish all those tasks eventually. However, multitasking divides our attention and we end up spreading ourselves too thinly, it affects the quality of our work. So put your smartphones away and close out all the other windows. And concentrate. One task at a time.
4. Create a time frame.
Setting a time frame for every task we’re doing is a good way to create balance in our work life. Not only does it help you keep track of your schedule for the day, it also prevents you from being overwhelmed with the amount of work you need to do.
Instead of saying, “I’ll stay here until I’ve finished everything on this list,” say, “I’m going to do this for two hours.” Not only are you pushing yourself to be productive, you’re also setting realistic goals so the project gets done.
5. Turn key tasks into habits.
It’s a lot easier to complete a task if it has become a habit.
6. Check out of social media.
Browsing through your Twitter or Facebook feed consumes time. Not only that, it drains you of productivity. Log out of social media and check it only during free time.
7. Learn to say ‘no.’
You don’t have to say yes to every opportunity that comes your way. Learn to say no to those that are not aligned with your vision. Make it your objective to accept only those that you believe in and care about. And most importantly, those that you know you have time for.
8. Remove what is not essential.
Do things that create more value and eliminate things that are unimportant.
Our bodies need rest for us to function at our best. Resting allows your body to be fully charged and prepared for another challenging day at work. Do not neglect rest, your body will thank you for it.
10. Enjoy work.
And last but not the least, make sure you are happy with what you are doing. When you enjoy your work, you enjoy even the tiny pit stops and knocks you encounter along the way. Enjoy it. At the end of the day, it still is just work.