How to Better Manage Time and Increase Productivity
All too often we let tasks pile up until it seems like there just aren’t enough hours in a day to get anything done. In reality, there are enough hours, you’re just not managing your time correctly, and it’s zapping your productivity levels.
Luckily, time management is a skill—which means you can learn it, practice it, and master it. Pay close attention, because we’re about to hand you the keys to the kingdom. Keep reading to learn how to better manage your time and increase your productivity levels.
Delegate Your Tasks
Rule number one of project management: delegate your tasks! It’s a common thing for us to bite off more than we can chew, but in the end, we wind up stressed and burned out. So, if you’re in a position that allows you to delegate tasks to your associates with the proper skills, then do it.
It’s called working smart not hard!
Prioritize Your Projects
As you stack your tasks, the most important thing you can do is prioritize them. Make a list of the tasks you need to fulfill and rank them by their importance. Do this during the beginning of your day so you can work your way down the list, focusing on what needs immediate attention first.
The last thing you want to do is lose time—and money—on less urgent projects.
Create a Schedule
Creating a visual schedule and sticking to it is one of the best ways to stay on track. You can use a physical or virtual calendar with alarms and notifications, a planner, or whatever gets you inspired. Use it to divvy up the time you want to spend on each task, schedule meetings, and, of course, breaks.
Scheduling your tasks also gives you the freedom to silence your phone, email alerts, and other distractions. These things can break your concentration causing you to lose precious time.
If your projects and tasks don’t come with deadlines, set them yourself. Setting reasonable deadlines will give you a timeline to work into your schedule. Without a deadline, you’ll end up going with the flow and taking longer than necessary to finish.
If your project comes with a deadline, set a personal deadline to get everything done ahead of time. This will allow you breathing room in the event that something goes wrong. It’ll also free up time to work on other tasks or some well-deserved downtime.
Procrastination will suck the life out of you if you let it, which is why you want to kick it to the curb today—not tomorrow!
It’s hard to overcome procrastination, but there are scientifically proven ways to do it. One of those ways is to break things down into smaller steps. Rather than thinking you have to “tackle this huge project”, break that project into small, attainable tasks. Chances are, once you start, you’ll build the moment you need to keep going.
Manage Your Stress
Stress will kill you slowly if you’re not careful. Often times we take on too many tasks, become stressed about all the work we have to do and become physically and emotionally drained as a result.
You can channel that stress into productivity, however, if you manage it wisely. One of those ways is to get a head start on your tasks, i.e., prepping, scheduling, delegating—all of the aforementioned time management tips. Stress about setting up an efficient schedule, not the project at hand.
The point is, if you set yourself up for success, you won’t have any stress to manage in the first place. Exercise helps too.
Don’t Attempt to Juggle
We often hear people brag about their multitasking abilities. Truthfully, we’re not all that impressed. It doesn’t make you smarter, cooler, or better than anybody else. In fact, multitasking actually slows productivity, and it results in completed works that are poorer in quality.
It’s better to focus on one task at a time and provide high-quality results. Take that, braggarts!
Get Started Early
We talked about making a list of your priorities first thing in the morning, but that list is only helpful if you also get started early. The one thing all successful people have in common is that they start their day with the rising sun.
Those early morning hours provide a calming energy that allows you to think. Not to mention, people are generally more creative and clear-headed during this time. Our energy tends to wane as the day progresses, so take advantage of the wee hours—you’d be surprised at just how much you can get done before noon.
Give Yourself Breaks
Too much work and no play will make you feel burnt out, stressed, and even resentful. It’s crucial that you take multiple 10-15 minute breaks throughout the day. Rest your eyes, go for a walk, eat a healthy snack, call your mom—anything that’s not work-related.
Short breaks can energize you, but the key is making sure you get back to work and don’t let the day get away from you.
Your time management skills won’t fall into place all at once. They take time to master, and documenting your progress as well as your shortfalls will help you improve. At the end of each day, jot down the things you did right and the things you fell short on.
Reflecting on these things will help you target your weaknesses and help you aim to change something new that impedes your productivity each day. Think of it as a way to not only track your progress but set goals for yourself.
Utilize Project Management Tools
Project management tools, like Breeze, are awesome! They enable you to take all of the time management tips listed above and put them to use—all in one place. Breeze, in particular, provides great features that allow you to delegate tasks, create and sync calendars with teammates, set deadlines, goals, and so much more.
It can even be used to track your time and generate reports based on user analyzation and workloads. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better project management tool out there, and once you use it, you’ll never be able to live without it.