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We have so many distractions nowadays. Social media, updates, news, messages, calls and so on. Not to mention that family life and responsibilities are still not outdated. It seems like we don’t have time for anything.
It’s barely possible to stay productive. As a result, we are often rushed and distracted. We do a poor job. So, how to stay productive?
You need to learn a few time management practices.
1. Set goals
What do you want to achieve? One of the first steps of successful time management is setting the right goals and knowing what you want to achieve. You need to be clear about this and do as much as you can to contribute to the achievement of that goal. Sit down, turn off the distractions and think about where you want to be. Then, write it down and set it somewhere so it can motivate you. This will drive you every day – your passions, dreams and goals.
2. Do something
Don’t wait for Monday or the Monday after that, don’t wait for anything to happen so you can get started. Just do something right away. You have set your goals? Great! Now sit down and make a first effort to achieve something. Maybe it’s just 1% of where you need to be but it’s one per cent further than where you were. Always aim to perform one task, one action, learn one thing every day that will help you arrive at your destination.
3. Don’t be lazy
We have all faced laziness at some point in our lives. However, it’s how you fight it that matters. You should improve your techniques for combating laziness. Here are some simple tricks:
- Use the Pomodoro Technique – Work for 25 minutes and then have a 5-minute break.
- Start planning your actions and breaking them into manageable pieces.
- Get others to keep you accountable — a friend or partner that will remind you of your plans if you don’t stick to them.
4. Eliminate distractions
Since it takes 23 minutes to focus on the task again, it can be pretty hard when you face interruptions every three minutes. So, turn off your phone, notifications on your computer, block social media pages (unless it’s a part of your job or current task), tell everyone not to bother you for a select amount of time and so on. Work in a quiet place as well.
5. Don’t do several things at once
Multitasking can be useful but it’s still one of the enemies of productivity. A multitasking mind is a distracted mind. You can’t focus properly on multiple things at once. We can only dedicate so much of our minds to this. So, when you are multitasking, your brain has to quickly switch between tasks and it impacts your efficiency negatively.
6. Set deadlines for yourself
When you don’t set any deadlines, you’ll just keep putting it off. “Of course, make those deadlines reasonable so you don’t get discouraged, but make sure that they are tight enough so you don’t procrastinate,” says Julianne Sophers, a journalist at 1day2write and Australia2write.
7. Avoid checking email
Checking your email all the time makes you seem productive and like you are doing something that matters but you are creating a huge distraction for yourself. Responding to dozens of emails a day isn’t really productive. Instead, open your emails twice a day, at scheduled times. No one is going to die if you don’t respond within three minutes.
8. Clear your inbox
When you check your emails, just delete the ones that are not relevant. Respond to emails that are and clear all the ones that aren’t. “Clutter in your emails or in your life is an enemy to your productivity. Get your email box to zero. The lack of clutter is inspiring,” says Josephine Myers a project manager at Writemyx and Brit student.
9. Focus on priorities
Having a to-do list is one of the best things you can do for yourself when it comes to organization and time management. Create a reasonable to-do list. List only the most important tasks in it. Focus on priority tasks – several things that you need to do in order to get closer to the goals you have set. Do the most important task first and then complete the rest.
10. Don’t mistake urgent for important
You need to realize that there is a huge difference between important and urgent. Let’s say that you want to start your own company but you are an employee at another company while you gather resources. Your employer needs a task done quickly, and you are writing down your business plan. The task you are doing for your boss is urgent but your business plan is important. Think about your priorities.
11. Write it down
Having an old-fashioned journal or planner where you can write things down is crucial. You memorise things better that way and you get a better grasp at what you need to do.
This post was written by Katrina Hatchett.
Katrina Hatchett works as a manager at Academic Brits. She has been involved in various business projects, where her main aim is to define project problems and propose solutions, as well as improving overall communication effectiveness. Also, she writes for PhDKingdom and Origin Writings, academic service.