13 Things You Should Know About Time Management
Learning time management skills takes, well, time. Here’s how best to tackle it in thirteen practical (and fast!) steps.
Time-Tracking Apps Are Your Best Friend
Productivity apps like RescueTime run on your computer and analyze how much time you’re spending on websites (read: the minutes you’re burning on Facebook and BuzzFeed). RescueTime generates a daily report to show how your accomplishments compare to previous days and can block distracting websites to save you from yourself.
Back-to-Back Meetings Can Be Helpful
Group meetings together to allow for longer stretches of work time before and after. You’ll avoid wasting an afternoon broken into bits of time too short to be useful.
Kennedy says long hours can actually derail productivity. If you’re not allowing yourself enough “me time,” you’re likely not doing your best work. Pencil a bit of non-work into your schedule and you’ll find yourself less inclined to fritter away work time.
Turn Off Your Notifications
Lois Kennedy, productivity expert at Toronto’s 3 Step Results Inc., advises setting aside a couple of times each day for email and social media accounts, to minimize distraction.
Break Large Projects up Into Smaller Chunks
Set incremental deadlines for long-term tasks, especially gruelling ones. It’s easier to start a project when you see it as a series of smaller ones rather than one never-ending assignment.
Make Every Minute Count
If there’s a flight or waiting room in your future, use that time to catch up on email or read status reports.
Break up Your Day
Divide your time into periods of focused work, such as research, and engaged work like replying to emails. Toronto productivity consultant Clare Kumar recommends allotting 60 to 90 minutes for focused blocks and roughly 30 minutes for engaged periods.
Set Boundaries to Help You Focus
If you work in an office, let your colleagues know you’re not up for chatting by putting on headphones or closing your office door if you have one.
Take a Breather
Reward sprints of work with short breaks. Think of your brain as a muscle that needs some light stretching, and accept that you can’t run a marathon every day.
Visualize Your Time
Colour-code your calendar, giving each type of item-work, fitness or time with family and friends-a different colour in your planner, Kumar says. You’ll get a quick view of how you’re using your time and where you can do better.
Rushing through your to-do list can actually cost you extra time. As the old saying goes, haste makes waste. If you relax and think things through, your blood pressure and boss will thank you.