In order to manage time better, we need to understand the underlying principles of time management, productivity and personal organization.
These are things such as using lists, tracking everything, eliminating anything unproductive and focusing on what works, dealing with distractions, finding our prime time and structuring each day in a way that will help us get more done during it.
Add to that goal setting, planning, testing things, building better habits and waking up earlier to have more hours in a day.
While all this might sound simple, we still live in a world where a ton of energy and time are being wasted daily in the life of an average man. That means most people don’t truly understand what being productive means and have no idea how to manage time effectively.
That’s why I wanna explore some specific ways in which we can get better results at work, and with anything else we’re trying to get done.
They aren’t your usual time management tips, and might not even make sense in the beginning, but are tried and tested and work every time.
Manage Time Better with These 4 Tips
1. It’s not time that you really need to control.
One thing most people get wrong about what time management really is, is that they desperately try to somehow have more time, save a lot of it, or make the most of every minute.
But truth is, time itself is an outer factor you have no control over.
Luckily, you can manage something else that will result in being more productive in general, and that’s managing yourself.
Self-management comes down to a few key elements, and each can be improved over time if you’re determined enough.
Analyzing anything you do and being objective about it.
Then, deciding what habits, activities and even mental patterns to cut in order to perform better and see progress in any area.
Building the right habits.
Procrastinators do some specific things every day – often unconsciously – that lead to never getting anything done or moving forward. Such habits might be anything from using your phone too much, making excuses, eating before work and thus getting too lazy to focus, not writing things down, etc.
Each of these might seem insignificant, but when combined, their overall effect is quite negative. You not only can’t manage time better, but never reach your personal and business goals.
That’s why it’s worth defining and getting rid of these, and then replacing them with some time management habits that work.
Another aspect of self-management is decision making.
The best advice experts can give you is to just make a choice fast – regardless of the situation – and act upon it. Anything else leads to overthinking and thus procrastinating.
Then comes the time to manage your stress and expectations, and how you handle crisis and solve problems. All these can become your nature once you set some time aside to analyze how you’re currently going about each, and then making a plan on how to change your approach.
Once you manage yourself well, you’ll be able to spend your time in the most effective way possible day after day.
2. Get obsessed with prioritizing.
If you follow productivity gurus or entrepreneurs with thriving businesses, you know they sometimes sound like crazy when talking about their goals and principles in life. That’s because they are obsessed.
But that’s what you too should be after as it’s the only way to achieve something. Be it to manage time better, have better relationships or become self-employed. You need to stay focused on an end goal long enough to turn it into reality.
When talking about productivity and real results that come sooner, what you need to do it prioritize.
But not just to keep your goals in mind and take action upon them daily. Not just to leave some other things you’re doing in life behind for some time.
You need to become ruthless with this. To know what your one priority is in every moment of the day, and to keep rejecting anything else that fights for your attention which is not related to it.
3. Work less.
Contrary to the popular belief, working longer hours doesn’t make you more productive.
I understand that you might be looking for a promotion and trying to put some extra effort in your work. Or maybe you’re a freelancer and the formula for success sounds like this: the more hours you spend in front of the laptop, the more money you’ll make. If you’re starting a business that might mean working on it and strategizing 24/7.
However, that leads to bad health, lack of focus, and poor performance. You can’t complete any project or perform a task doing a good job simply because you don’t have the necessary elements for that process. Without a clear mind, boosted energy and good memory, you won’t be getting ahead of others.
So to manage time better, do the opposite.
Work less, but work smart.
Don’t listen to those who only judge a person by how many hours he works weekly. Don’t listen to the successful entrepreneurs who talk about the non-stop hustle. They do work hard, but they know how to rest properly.
Talking about resting, it’s equally important what you do when you don’t work.
If you’re still mentally on the job, you aren’t taking a break. And if you indulge in unhealthy or lazy behaviors, that’s not good for your personal growth or emptying your mind either.
Some proper relaxation techniques include:
- A peaceful morning routine;
- Taking regular breaks during work (do it every hour, it’s proven to boost creativity too);
- Unplug and do quiet and relaxing activities an hour before bed;
- Try some breathing exercises;
- Be more mindful during the day (go slowly, stop every now and then to take a few deep breaths).
4. Keep procrastinating.
There are 2 sides to every story. That applies to procrastination too.
While you’ve probably been doing it wrong now and are right to assume that this behavior is a bad thing that doesn’t get you closer to your goals, there’s also a smart way to do it.
Be a structured procrastinator.
That means, whenever you want to put something off for later, it’s okay to do something else, but let the replacement be something even more productive. That’s absolutely possible. You’ll still feel the same comfort that procrastinating gives you, but you’ll be getting things done at the same time.
There will be moments when you’ll just be keeping yourself busy, instead of doing the real work. Well, don’t worry. Use this time to complete small tasks. Be it decluttering, planning the next day, emptying your inbox, doing a research, or else. If you’re gonna be spending time on social media or YouTube, at least consume motivational content that moves your brain and leads to new business ideas and the desire to take action upon them.
All this is also called active procrastination.
Start managing your time and life better today.
You must be tired of the average productivity advice. Now that you know these tips on how to maximize your time and get results in the right direction, you can make a change in your approach over the next couple of ways.
Where will you start?