Time Management Tactics (Part 2) – 25 more of my 50 Tactics to Make Your Time More Productive
Click here to read Part One of my 50 Time Management Tactics.
26. Know when you work your best
Make sure you know exactly what time of day you work at your best. Some people are morning people, some afternoon, and some evening. Others function well at either end of the day. If you work best at a certain time of the day, schedule the most urgent and vital tasks then.
27. Think about keystrokes
I’m a shortcut girl. I learnt computers before there was such a thing as a mouse, so I know my keyboard short cuts like the back of my hand. Use keyboard short cuts as much as possible. Changing from keyboard to mouse can slow you down. Or use both. Don’t forget that many programs have customizable keyboard shortcuts.
28. Break large projects into smaller ones
Take a mountain and make it a mole hill. By taking a larger project and making it into smaller ones you are more often reinforced for success and the tasks seem much less daunting. The way I like to do this is to may a notepad page (or a note in Evernote or One-Note or whatever program you like to use), and entitle it for the major project you’re working on. Then list the steps you need to take to get the project to its fruition. Each of these steps may need to be further broken down. You could use a mind mapping tool to give you an overview of the whole project, but in the end you simply need to know what the first and smallest tasks are to get things achieved.
29. Organize your to do list every day
Days change and so should their tasks. Every day look over your to do list and prioritize it and organize it by task type and importance. What was important the day before may not be so today. I start everyday on Evernote and look at my to-do list, prioritizing the most important 5 things simply by making the font RED and BOLD.
30. Know when to take your time with a task
Rushing through a project or task can actually cost you time in the long run. Know when you need to slow down and make sure you get it right the first time. And whatever you do, don’t try to multi-task at this important time.
31. Keep distractions to a minimum
Avoid the water cooler, turn off your phone, ignore incoming email, keep the radio off, and close down your browser tabs that you don’t need. The more there is to distract you the more time it will take to get things done. This again can lead you to multitasking and multitasking is so unproductive.
32. Keep creating and editing your to do list
It is simple and takes little time. A great opportunity to make a to do list is when your mind is relaxing – while watching TV or when your head hits the pillow at night. Keep a notepad by your side at all times and think through your day, the next day or week and write down what thoughts come to mind and what needs to get done. Next time you’re at your computerized to-do list, add these paper based listings to your list. (Support a Wounded Warrior! A Portion of the Proceeds are Donated on each Product Sold from this link)
33. Reward yourself
Take the time to reinforce success. Work for an hour, then take a ten minute break. When the big project gets done, reward yourself with a trip to the movies, a restaurant meal, adventure activity or theatre show. This will keep you going when the going gets tough.
34. Create work/home boundaries
For the most part the rule of thumb is to leave work stuff at work and home stuff at home. Keep your home a place of rest and relaxation away from work. Now, if you work from home, make certain you have a designated office space. If space is limited (as it is for me), you could use a study nook or a secretaire, a desk inside a wardrobe, perhaps a corner desk in a room which serves a dual purpose (e.g.: your bedroom or dining room or a storage shed, even a cupboard under the stairs containing a really compact desk with storage for the printer) where you can tuck yourself away from the distractions of home and family, and that you can close the door on (or close the lid on, such as in a wall mounted desk like this), or tidy away in some way when you have finished your work time.
This means sleeping well at night, getting to bed at a decent hour, getting enough sleep, and taking breaks during the day. Take walks during work and get some fresh air. Drink your 8 glasses of water a day during your working part of the day. Get a glass of water mid-afternoon (it will also help ease that tension headache as well). Self-care is vital to productivity.
36. Eat well
A good breakfast will ensure you stay alert for the morning time. A light lunch filled with fruits and veggies won’t weigh you down and will keep you motivated through the afternoon. It is hard to concentrate when the stomach is not satisfied.
37. Get an accountability partner
Share with a co-worker the tasks that you need to get done and when they need to get done. Ask them to check in for progress periodically. If you’re a blogger, there are plenty of opportunities to connect with like minded bloggers who will be your accountability partner – check out these links.
38. Forgo perfectionism
There are some tasks that require perfection, but most task just require that they get done. Know your job and know which ones can just be completed.
39. Complete unpleasant tasks first
Get through the muck and mud first. Take on the task you are dreading first and get it out of the way. You will be glad you did.
40. Visualize your long term success
Do not get caught up in the small things. All the things you need to get done are in service to your long term success and goals.
41. Create routine
A routine is the best way to pump out consistent productivity. Find a time each day to file, check email, take breaks etc. Do it everyday. The control you exercise over your day will translate into control over your to do list as well.
42. Separate to do list into priorities A, B, C
An “A” means that it has to get done, a “B” means that it should be done and a “C” means that it would be nice if it got done. Tackle A’s first then work down the list.
43. Plan for emergencies
Plan ahead if you need to make a million copies or have to get a project to the other store. Traffic and copy machine meltdowns are classic and common. Plan ahead, plan extra time, and save yourself a lot of stress and heartache later on.
44. Check off items as you go
Keep track of your daily success. Checking things off your list will keep you motivated to finish the day. It is gratifying and energizing to see what you have gotten done during the day.
45. Keep a firm yet flexible schedule
Things happen. Schedule in some flex time, for example schedule only 45 minutes of an hour, leaving 15 minutes of flex time. This will account for the coworker that just had to tell your something or the coffee the spilt on your briefcase.
Exercise actually energizes your body and protects you from illness. It also releases neurotransmitters that fight against stress and depression. Exercise really is the miracle drug.
47. Take a break during the day
Take a mid-morning break and an afternoon break. Take a walk, do some stretches, get some water and have a snack.
48. Stay focused
Keep on task. Let others know that you are working and cannot be disturbed. Keep your task list and materials organized so that you do not get distracted by other tasks that are staring at you from your desk.
49. Know your limits
Know when you just need to shut it off for the day. When your mind is spent and your body is tired, it’s time to take off for the day. Work done when you are exhausted will most often have to be redone later.
50. Keep your daily to do list small and manageable
Keep it to 5 items or less. A massive to do list will only serve to overwhelm you. Put the most important tasks on the list and then set out to work. Do not borrow tomorrow’s worries (or work).
I hope you’ve found these ideas helpful and I hope you’ll put some of them to good use.
What are some of your best tips for being productive with your time?
Please let us know in the comments.
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