How much time do you spend thinking about what to do, rather than actually doing the things?
Masters of time management have some simple tactics they follow to prevent wasting hours and minutes. They’re able to cut through the mind chatter and be remarkably productive.
The 12 Top Time Management Tips
First, let’s take a bird’s eye view of these tips. Then think of them as rules that you'll follow every single day to become a master of productivity.
- Set daily goals
- Focus on high-return tasks
- Batch similar tasks
- Get rid of non-essentials
- Delegate what you can
- Work with your natural rhythms
- Do the worst first
- Set a target
- Set a deadline
- Set a timer
- Eliminate distractions
- Learn to work faster
By using these time management tips to set rules for yourself and making a commitment to stick to them every day, you can increase your own productivity exponentially. You’ll be less stressed, have more time for yourself and your family, and grow your profits all at the same time.
Sound too good to be true? Well, no one is a superhero and follows these rules all the time (except maybe Jasmine Star). But, if you focus on at least one of these tactics each day, they’ll soon become habits.
How to Implement the Time Management Tips for Productivity
Now, starting at the top, try implementing each of these behavioral tips one at a time. Gradually add an extra one to follow every day, or as frequently as you can manage.
1. Set daily goals
Each night, set your goals for the next day. If you don’t have time in the evening or at the end of the work day, set your goals first thing in the morning – before you do anything else. If you have goals set, you’ll know exactly what you need to do and won’t have to waste time thinking about what to do next. I use the M.I.T. method. M.I.T. stands for Most Important Tasks. I write down 4 tasks that must be done.
2. Focus on High Return Tasks
The most productive people follow the Pareto Principle as the guide for all their actions. If you haven’t heard of it, this principle states that 20% of the actions you take provide 80% of the results. The return on your time investment for all your other tasks is minimal in comparison.
Try looking back at the past month and think about which types of tasks you did that had the biggest benefits for yourself and your business. You might be pleasantly surprised at how few of your actions really make an impact. As you plan your day and make your to-do list, focus on the tasks that will accomplish the most.
If you are a reseller, your high return tasks are sourcing and listing.
3. Batch similar tasks
When you switch back and forth between different types of tasks, you have to keep re-adjusting your mind and your focus to the type of task on hand. Instead, do all your emailing at one time, in the morning and in the afternoon. Make all your phone calls at another time. Set your meetings for one block of time in the day. You’ll be able to get more done simply by keeping your mind in a certain “mode” of behavior.
Tasks that you can batch as a reseller include:
- putting items in inventory
- packing sales for shipping
4. Get rid of non-essentials
As you put together a to-do list each day, ask yourself a couple questions for each task: “Does this really need to be done?” “Will this make a big enough impact on my goals to warrant the time it takes?” Simply put, if a task doesn't have a clear benefit, erase it from your list.
Some non-essentials for resellers are
- Facebook groups (unless you sell on them)
- scrolling instagram
- endless organizing
5. Delegate what you can
Another question to ask yourself for each task is, “do I really need to do this myself?” If not, who can do it for you? Tap into any resources you have, whether it’s employees, contractors, or even family members. If it’s a one-time task, consider hiring an outsourcer through a site like Fiverr. Just make sure you outline exactly what you want done, so that you don’t end up spending time on revisions.
This is where having systems set up is so important. You can't delegate anything until it's automated. Craft your step-by-step instructions so you can hand it off to someone else.
6. Work with your natural rhythms
Are you a morning person? Then make sure you do your most complicated tasks that require the most brain power at the start of the day. Are you practically useless in the afternoons? Try scheduling a little exercise time to wake yourself up. You’ll get more done just by working hardest at the times when you have the most energy in your day. Save repetitive and monotonous tasks for your non-peak hours.
7. Do the worst first
While you’ll want to do the most critical tasks when you have the most focus, you should also get the most unpleasant ones out of the way as quickly as possible. If a task is necessary, but you really hate doing it, you’re more likely to procrastinate. If you get it over with first, you can go on to enjoy the rest of your day and feel the relief of putting the tasks you dislike behind you.
8. Set a target
Just as you set overall goals for the day, set target goals for each type of task. For example, if you’re writing blog posts, set a target of writing 2 blog posts. Make the commitment to keep writing until you’re done with those posts. Other than a few minutes to grab a coffee or a bathroom break, commit to sticking with that task until it’s complete.
9. Set a deadline
Never underestimate the power of a deadline. Without clear time limits, a task can go on and on. On the other hand, having a specific time frame will help to focus. You’ll naturally eliminate elements that won’t help you finish the task within your deadline.
10. Set a timer
Using an old-fashioned kitchen timer is a not-so-secret trick of the greatest time management experts. Even for larger tasks, you can break them down into sections of 30 minutes or less. Setting a timer will help you focus your efforts and work faster than you would have if you just “took your time”.
11. Eliminate distractions
Close out all your browser windows except what you absolutely need to get your tasks done. Turn off email alerts, social alerts, phones and any other distracting sounds. If necessary, lock your office door and hang a “do not disturb” sign. For any tasks that require your total focus, you need to block out all potential distractions that you can use as excuses or which will slow you down.
12. Learn to work faster
A timer can help you focus your efforts and get more done in a short space of time. However, you can also just get faster at something through practice and skill-building. Take an online typing class if you’re typing is very slow. Speed reading programs can help you go through text material faster. There are even ways to speed up videos so that you can listen to them faster. Just kick up the pace a bit and you’ll get more done in less time.
Think you can do any of these today? Pick one tip that you can implement immediately, such as the timer, and see what the results are. I can guarantee that you’ll get more done just through applying one productivity behavior.
If that’s the case, imagine how much you can achieve by applying all these time management tips and making them unbreakable rules!
This article was adapted from ContentSparks