7 Time-Management Hacks to Master NOW
Do you tend to have an idle mind at work? Are you distracted easily... and often? You’re not alone. According to a Driven by Distractions survey, 95% of employees are distracted during the workday. Well, these diversions are seriously wasting time and hurting your productivity in the process. Working harder or longer doesn’t mean you’re getting more done, either. It is possible to achieve more in less time; you just have to know how to manage the hours you work. One thing to remember is you will always have “one more thing” to do, but the key is prioritizing and not wasting time on menial tasks. We know it can be hard to stay focused—especially on Fridays—but with our simple time-management hacks, you can sharpen your approach, boost your confidence, and tackle those big workloads with a calm, can-do attitude. Scroll down to read our simple tricks to manage your time.
For some reason, multitasking—the art of performing several tasks simultaneously—has been championed in our culture, but the multitasking concept is a myth. Studies from Stanford University have proven it’s impossible because our prefrontal cortex is only able to focus in one thing at a time. Spreading yourself too thin across multiple projects at a time kills your focus. So try organizing your day into blocks where you complete one task at a time, and do each one really well.
Do you know how much your time is worth? Maybe you should figure it out, because if you knew the dollar value of every minute you worked, you might put more value on it. So let’s just say you get paid $300 an hour; that means you get paid $5 a minute. So that 30 minutes a day you spend checking social media costs you $150. If money talks, it’s telling you to stop wasting time because it’s actually costing you cash.
Is your to-do list looking a little out of control? There’s no need to panic. Simply sort it into order of priority, then break tasks up into smaller, more manageable chunks. So many other time-management hacks we’ve read will tell you to always start with the most important tasks first, but these projects can also be the biggest. In that case, they can be a little daunting to tackle first thing in the morning. So make a list in order of priority and approach the short tasks first, the ones you know you can take out quickly. It’s amazing what crossing a few things off your list can do to your confidence.
In the same way children thrive in a routine-based system, the same predictability in your working day can help you to relax because you know what your day has in store. So start by jotting down a system for each day, and be sure to include the morning before work, too. For example, wake up at 6 a.m., have a cup of tea or coffee, make time for breakfast, get to work on time, use the first hour to organize your day, assess the tasks in order of priority, and set designated times for breaks. It might take some time before you find the right routine that works for you, so be flexible in the beginning, but once you nail it, it’s a game changer.
There are so many great things happening inside and outside of the office, and while they all have something positive to offer (either personally or professionally), it’s not possible to do everything. In fact, it can be detrimental not just to your productivity but to your health, too. You should only accept the offers and projects you know you can commit to, have time for, and, more importantly, want to do.
If you find you’re overcommitted, these proven ways can teach you how to say “no” without feeling guilty. Saying no to your boss can be tricky, though, especially when he hands over a project just before you normally clock out. If this happens often, approach your boss a few hours beforehand and see if they have anything for you. This makes you look proactive and ensures that you have enough time to complete the task before you leave.
Don’t approach any task with a negative attitude. If you say to yourself, “This is going to take all day,” it probably will. When you write your to-do list in the morning, set a time limit for each task so you start with a positive mindset. Be realistic about the time you delegate for each assignment. If you have two hours written down for something, make sure you stick to that.
And remember, doing a task is better than not doing it. Don’t obsess over perfection. It’s an unattainable goal that will only increase your stress and lower your productivity. So set expectations you know are within reach. When you’re working on something, be present, in the zone, and get it done.
Life’s no fun when it’s work, work, work all the time. So instead of being a manic workaholic who’s always on the go, take time out for yourself throughout the day. You can include these breaks when you write your task list in the morning. It can be a cup of tea or a brief walk outside for some fresh air, maybe even a quick chat with a fellow staff member. These important moments help to reduce anxiety and stress and give you renewed energy and a fresh set of eyes to approach the next task when you return.
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How do you manage your time at work? Share your tips in the comments below.