Time is the one commodity that we all need and want, yet we never seem to have enough of it. All the more reason to make the best possible use of the time we have. Here are some excellent time management tips to help you do just that.
Start by getting a full night of sleep
Pulling an all-nighter might sound like a great idea when you’re 20 and cramming for a college exam. However, this is an ineffective strategy for getting more work done. No one does their best when they are ready to crash and burn.
According to the Better Sleep Council, adults between the ages of 19 and 55 require at least eight hours of sleep each night. Why is sleep so important? When you sleep, your body is regulating your hormones, repairing your cells, and recharging your brain. These are all vitally important to your health and your productivity. In fact, you can die from sleep deprivation in as little as 10 days, compared to the two weeks you can survive without food.
Give yourself a weekly status check
At least once a week, review all your outstanding tasks for completion or further attention. Based on the “Weekly Review” concept of David Allen, author of Getting Things Done, this practice means checking your calendar for the past and present week to see if anything is left undone. Also review all email accounts for inbox items requiring attention. Review your phone log or voicemails to see if there are any messages that still need to be returned. Then think about your long-term goals for the next couple of months, as well as the remainder of the year. Double check that you are continuing to make progress on reaching those goals.
Don’t kid yourself — multitasking is really just wasting time
Research from Stanford University revealed that multitasking not only affected productivity but also brain function. The research showed that time is lost when continually switching tasks, and the brain becomes more easily distracted.
After being exposed to constantly switching streams of media, study participants struggled to focus attention, remember details, or even change from one task to another, compared to people who tackled one job at a time.
“They couldn’t help thinking about the task they weren’t doing,” said study co-author Eyal Ophir. “The high multitaskers are always drawing from all the information in front of them. They can’t keep things separate in their minds.”
Always tackle the hard stuff first thing in the morning
Start your day off with a bang by taking on the toughest task on your to-do list. You should be refreshed from a night of sleep and ready to take on more strategic tasks.
Completing this task sets you up with a feeling of accomplishment; knowing the hardest job of the day is done takes the pressure off you, and leaves you fired up for the next task at hand. This also saves the easier, less brain-intensive tasks for the end of the day when you’re tired and ready to be done.
Know the value of your time and use it wisely
When you’re tempted to browse through Facebook, take a moment and remind yourself how much your time is worth. Consider how much money you are earning per hour, and break that down by a quarter or half hour. Then ask yourself if you want to waste that time on meaningless tasks when the time in your workday is pretty valuable?
Don’t look at the mountain, focus on each individual step
You may have heard this before, but it bears repeating. When you have a huge task before you that feels like a mountain to be climbed, break it down into steps. By looking at the small tasks, you avoid feeling intimidated and overwhelmed.
Starting off each day with a plan sets you up for success. Unexpected things may come your way, but you are better able to handle them when you know what else needs to be done that day. Work around your priorities and always take time for a few small breaks to help you recharge your mental batteries.
—The Alternative Daily