There is never a better time than the beginning of the year to discuss how to optimize your time. Time management can help you get your work days under control. Whether or not you are believer in New Year resolutions, the start of a year has the feelings of a fresh, clean slate. It’s the time to to look for things that aren’t exactly working, and start new ways of doing those things. One of the things you can look at in regards to productivity is, how you are handling the hours in each day. Are you using the hours you devote to your business actually working on and growing your business? Time is precious. Are you using it effectively? This article has some great tips and tools in it to help you become far more efficient in time management.
“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”
– William Penn
Time Management Apps & Tools
If you know that you lose time but are not sure where it is going, then you may want to look at an application like Rescue Time. This time management app sends weekly reports indicating where you’ve been spending your time. They do have a free level that can get you started on time tracking. Once you get a baseline of where you are spending your online time, you can start making changes or finding solutions that will allow you to better make use of, and optimize, your time.
These days, there are hundreds of tools and apps out there that are so easy to download and use… why not give them a try!? The data may surprise you!
Aside from Rescue Time, another free time management tool is Remember The Milk. This app is especially useful for those who juggle a bunch of daily tasks and find themselves bouncing back and forth between various devices throughout the day (It is compatible with desktop, mobile, gmail, outlook, etc.). Remember The Milk stays in sync between all your devices, so you can get those “to-do’s” out of your head, and you can focus on the task at hand! The app will send friendly reminders throughout the day if you choose, wherever you are, so you never miss an important task again. You can even share lists or assign tasks to others, such as your spouse 😉
If you have a hard time paying attention to the task at hand, try the Focus Booster App, which also offers a free starter plan (no credit card info required)! This app will help you overcome distractions, maintain your focus, and stay on track. You can sign in to use the app online, or you can download the desktop timer for easy access. It is also great as a time tracker, automatically recording your time spent on individual tasks/jobs and displaying them in nice graphs and charts.
Tips for a more productive day
Don’t touch anything twice.
Focus on the task at hand, and finish the task at hand, before moving on to something else. It’s not always easy to just pick things up, put them down, and come back to them later. You lose your train of thought, your momentum, your interest… It’s just a time-waster. As a task catches your attention, whether it’s an email, phone call, or small job, you should act on it, delegate it, or delete it.
Studies at Stanford have confirmed that multi-tasking is much less productive than just doing one thing at a time. They found that people who are regularly interrupted by various streams of electronic information have a harder time focusing, paying attention, recalling information, and switching from one job to another than do those who complete one task at a time.
Eat the “frogs” first.
Don’t procrastinate. “Frogs” are the most dreaded, unappealing tasks that need to get done. If you “eat the frog” right away in the morning, the rest of your day is open to do the more exciting and enjoyable tasks!
Don’t let meetings be a time-waster.
A 20-minute meeting can easily drag on to an hour-long meeting if you’re not paying attention. The best way to avoid this is to make a schedule for each meeting, and stick to it! Don’t get distracted on side-tangents, and don’t discuss things not pertinent at this moment. Having a schedule to follow is super helpful in making sure you cover the topics needed, and only the topics needed. Having a schedule also encourages meeting members to be more focused and efficient.
Technology is there; use it!
Don’t let technology be a distraction; use it to your advantage! There are lots of tools and settings you can use that will help you become more efficient in your everyday life. You can set up filters in your email accounts that will prioritize and sort messages as they come in, and set alarms and reminders on your phone for important deadlines. You don’t need to be constantly checking your phone; let your phone come to you! Put technology to work for you.
Get ready for tomorrow, today.
…..especially if you’re not a morning person! This is one of the BEST time management tips! By doing this, you not only solidify the work you’ve accomplished today, but it will ensure that your tomorrow will be off to a smooth start.
You don’t necessarily need to work harder or longer, just work smarter. Doesn’t it feel amazing leaving the office after an ultra-productive work day? Let that be every day!
“Time is really the only capital that any human being has,
and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.”
– Thomas Edison