In today’s society, the idea of being “busy” all the time seems to be a metric of success. But are you really successful when you’re burnt out, working long hours but accomplishing little, and have a never-ending to-do list?
It can be hard to stay disconnected from work even during weekends and evenings, especially if you receive email alerts and phone calls at all hours of the day. Hard, but not impossible. Instead of working and living this way, why not work smarter? Time management is crucial for success, while giving you breathing space to live the life you work so hard for.
Here are 8 time management tricks that you can implement today:
1. Accomplish the most important tasks first
As you begin work each day, identify 3 tasks that are absolutely crucial to complete, then go ahead and do those first. When these tasks have been completed, your day is already successful. It gives you time to move on to other important things, or decide what can wait until tomorrow because you’ve already finished the most essential.
2. Learn how to say no
Trying to do so much every day will only lead to one thing: burn out. It’s up to you to determine how much is too much, then decline commitments from there. If you aren’t sure what to accept or reject, keep in mind your objective should only be accepting commitments you truly care about, and those that will enhance your life either professionally or personally. Everything else can take a back seat.
3. Make sure you’re getting at least 8 hours of solid sleep every night
Unfortunately, too many people equate lack of sleep as a metric for success. The opposite is true: your body needs at least 8 hours of sleep to function optimally, both physically and mentally. But only you will know if you are or aren’t getting enough; it’s essential you are also listening to your body.
4. Give yourself some buffer time between tasks
Rushing from one task to another makes it difficult to keep track of the big picture, as well as stay motivated. Allow yourself some down-time between tasks to recharge and refresh in a productive manner, such as by doing mind-clearing exercises, meditation, going for a short walk, or simply just enjoying some quiet time.
5. Make use of weekends in a smart way
This might sound ironic, but setting aside just a few hours on the weekend can significantly lessen your workload during the week. This strategy may come in handy for those of us whose jobs are extremely time-intensive. For example, allotting just 2-3 hours a day on the weekends to go through emails will make Monday mornings less dreadful. You’re rested, but you’ve also managed to send a few replies and cleaned up your inbox.
6. Stay organized
Whether it’s cleaning up your desk or computer desktop, don’t wait until the last minute to organize everything. A tidy workspace will eliminate the time you spend when you look for things that you need. Dedicating even just 5 to 10 minutes a day organizing your work files will add up.
7. Learn how to delegate
Managers and executives are much more prone to burn outs because they believe that they can only count on themselves if something needs to be done right. While this may be true is some instances, it also means you won’t be able to escape work at all unless you learn to delegate. Learning how to delegate is also important for the professional development of your staff, while freeing up valuable time to spend catering to more pressing issues.
8. Resist the urge to check emails throughout the day
It may seem tempting, but checking your emails several times a day (even worse – as they come in!) actually hinders productivity. The time you spend checking and replying to emails adds up. Smart managers know that checking emails only 2-3 times a day is the best thing you can do for time management and productivity.
If you’re looking to boost your productivity this new year, these 8 time management tricks are a great place to start. Smart time management helps improve your jobs, as well as your business and relationships with important stakeholders.