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7 Time Management Hacks for an Easier Workday

Topics: Career Advice
Time Management
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Do you often feel as though there simply aren’t enough hours in the day? The secret to having more time is to work smarter, not harder.

Time management is an important part of being efficient and productive. It may even be the most important factor in the equation. And who wouldn’t want to get more done in less time? These simple time management hacks can help you to get a ton done while also enjoying a smoother, easier work day:

1. Limit distractions

Although it’s often easier said than done, limiting distractions can really help you to manage your time. This is part of the reason why so many people are interested in working remotely, at least part time. It can be easier to concentrate and get more done when you’re out of the office because there are fewer distractions. The thing to keep in mind here is that research has indicated that it’s not the noise that matters, it’s the interruptions. Many people actually find it’s easier to work in a crowded coffee shop than in their open office, for example. So don’t worry about finding a quiet place to work. Instead, focus on finding ways to limit interruptions and distractions.

2. Schedule time for deliberate rest

As a general rule, the most creative and productive people don’t work the longest hours. Instead, they rest wisely – intermixing periods of intense focus and concentration with periods of deliberate rest.

“We have, across a variety of fields, a century’s worth of research that shows that for individuals and for organizations, overwork in the long run carries severe costs. You get a little productivity spike, but that tappers off and soon you have a situation where productivity drops below what it does in a normal 40-hour week. You have increases in burnout. You have people literally leading shorter lives,” Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, author of Rest, told Arianna Huffington at DLD17. “But, we also have another body of research that also shows that doing things like taking vacation, turning your cellphone off at night, having moments where we can detach from our work, even if we love our work, make us better able to do our jobs well, to do it for longer periods of our lives, and to be happier at it and to enjoy it.”

3. Meditate

When you think about making improvements to the way you manage your time, you probably don’t think that adding items to your to-do list will help. But meditation is a rare exception to that. (Exercise is another one.) Spending a few minutes meditating helps to improve your concentration and problem-solving skills for the rest of the day, saving you time and energy. So, try to work just a few minutes of stillness into your schedule.

4. Stop multitasking and prioritize

Here’s the thing about multitasking – it doesn’t work. Multiple research studies have shown that the brain just doesn’t function this way. Instead, it’s better to hone in on just one thing at a time. So, set your priorities and then get to work on the most important task first. Try to select something that will help you to make the most progress with your goals. Then, give it your full and undivided attention.

5. Make lists, and utilize them

You can improve your time management significantly by using lists effectively. Ideally, you should have a few different lists going at any given time. You need a calendar, which you can use to write up weekly and daily schedules for yourself. Just be sure your calendar is always reliably up to date. You should also use a to-do list to organize tasks. There are fancier systems out there, like bullet journals for example, but mastering these two systems is a great place to start. Just be sure to refer to the lists and schedules you write up often. There’s no sense in writing it down if you don’t check what you’ve recorded throughout the day.

6. Schedule more time for sleep

The amount of sleep you get at night has a big impact on your productivity and efficiency during the day. It’s easy enough to underestimate the impact and importance of sleep. People don’t walk around all day thinking about how much, or how little, sleep they received the night before. However, if you become more conscious of the impact, you’d most likely see what a huge difference it makes. Prioritize getting plenty of sleep, at least seven hours a night, when planning your time and you’ll be more efficient during the day.

7. Get organized

There’s no sense in wasting precious time transitioning from one task to the next. Think about all the extra minutes you’d have if you never had to spend time looking for a file or trying to find an email. Twenty-seven percent of people say they feel disorganized at work, and it’s costing precious time. So, if you’d like to have more hours in the day, invest a little energy into tidying a little and upping your organizational game. The time you put in now will pay off down the road.

Tell Us What You Think

Have you tried any of the tips from this list? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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