Numerous business gurus earned millions of dollars on the time-management tips. People read those books, visit various training and seminars, and continue to miss deadlines. They late for meetings without understanding how to keep work and life balance. The secret is consistency and simplicity. Follow at least three or four rules from this list, and you will find the energy to regulate your professional and personal life.
1. Algorithm Instead of Lists
Time-management specialists recommend creating a to-do list with the tasks you have to complete during the day, month, or year. Allegedly, this will help to achieve the goals set. But in the end, your fridge turns out to be covered with hundreds of stickers with the inspiring inscription “To-Do List,” yet, the job stands still.
Forget about endless lists that contribute to procrastination, on the eve of the important day. Try to think about your tomorrow acts in detail. Imagine your working process without wasting time: sorting emails, meeting with partners, current tasks. Of course, you can note some points in your to-do list, but be realistic. Your To-Do shouldn’t be oversaturated with tasks that you can’t complete. Otherwise, you will feel guilty about one’s unproductivity.
2. Start with the Evening
It’s better to make a list of urgent tasks the night before. It is worth finding the time to reconsider what has already been accomplished. And to deal with what is to be done. The evening list does not have to be very detailed – just try to understand generally what do you want to do. In the morning, you can revise, specify, and understand at what time you will deal with these tasks. Experts say that evening planning helps to save time in the morning and not to forget something important.
3. Plan Small Tasks Too
David Allen, the author of “Getting Things Done,” suggests using the five-minute rule: if something can be completed in five minutes, it’s better just to do it right now, not to add in your to-do list. Yet, others believe that it does not always work: short tasks can take half a day, and in the end, it turns out that you have not managed to deal with more critical things.
Small tasks, for instance, answering a letter, should also be recorded. Set time for them, too, in your schedule. On the one hand, it will help not to forget about them, and on the other – to make the right picture of what exactly you are doing. If you answered the letters all day but were eventually unable to complete an important project in time, you will understand what and when went wrong exactly.
4. Don’t Overload Yourself with Deadlines
Some people make big to-do lists for the day. They include not only important meetings but also, for example, the need to read the article. If some of these tasks are not completed in time, they feel guilty. Yet, sometimes, it is necessary to admit that it is impossible to manage everything. If necessary, you can postpone some tasks for later, but warn your colleagues about it.
Also, don’t set deadlines for the tasks which don’t require the ones. For instance, you want to read a book or buy new boots, but it’s not urgent. Don’t set the deadlines! In such a way, you will avoid unnecessary frustration if you don’t have time to do these things in the near future.
5. Divide Tasks Into Parts
Some tasks seem enormous, so you are afraid to start. For example, preparing a presentation may take more than one day. The chances that the frightening task of “preparing the presentation” will be postponed for later increase each hour you ignore it.
Try to break big tasks into smaller ones: first, plan to sketch a draft, then to pick up illustrations, and so on. Any big task you don’t want to do can be divided into pieces until it’s small and simple.
6. You Don’t Need Inspiration to Work
Many people – especially creative ones – postpone their business for later indefinitely, waiting for inspiration or motivation. But it doesn’t come. Think, do you need the inspiration to write an email, a work report, or even a small memo? Agree, these tasks are not for genius. So, you can complete them in a routine mode, and you don’t have to wait for the muse or some heavenly inspiration. It will not work. Discipline works better. You can start a new project or task whenever it is needed. Just do it, and forget about excuses and lack of inspiration.
7. Internet Doesn’t Exist
The rapid Internet technology evolvement has turned procrastination into a real pandemic. Notifications about new comments, messengers’ pop-ups make you think that you have very urgent tasks, and everybody needs your attention. In fact, it’s not true. Close Skype, don’t open messengers and laugh at new memes your friend shares with you, and you will see that your important project breaks the deadlock.
8. Hunger Games
This approach will help to focus on work. It is better to deal with the critical tasks in the morning when your office is empty, and external noise does not interfere with your concentration. In a couple of hours, you’ll be in the working rhythm. Before going to a business lunch, try to complete your urgent tasks for today. Hunger will fit you, forcing you to act more effectively. After lunch, it is more difficult to go back to the working rhythm – take this time to negotiate with partners and colleagues: relaxed mood contributes to communication.
9. Internal Deadline
There are people who always miss the deadlines they have. I’m sure you know many people like that. They become active and enthusiastic a few hours before the due date. They feel nervous because they don’t have time and ask to wait a bit more. But it is possible to prevent such situations. You may set a personal deadline a few hours or days before the scheduled one. Yes, it will require a specific discipline and will power, but the results will impress you.
10. Influence of Lateness
Even the brightest workers live in a world of ordinary people. You can perform your tasks on time, but if your partner does not finish his part of the project, in the end, you both will miss the deadline. No one is immune from such situations, so it is better to take into account the lateness factor. If your website needs a landing page to be completed by Friday, tell the contractor that you need it by Wednesday. So, there’s a chance that you’ll get your landing on time.
11. Take a Rest
Yes, you got it right. Have a rest. Even the time-management gurus highlight the importance of good rest. So, do something pleasant: enable free VPN for Kodi, log in your Kodi account, and enjoy the access to geo-restricted content. Or make some pancakes to eat them with Nutella. Or read a good book you postpone all the time. Take your time, and don’t forget to make pauses.