When someone asks me about effective time management, I like to use a money analogy. Try to imagine, waking up tomorrow with 86 400$ in your bank account. It seems nice, right? Then imagine someone tells you, that if you spend all this money today, the next day, the same amount of money will be delivered to your bank account.
What would you do? Would you spend them, or not? I suppose, your answer is the same as mine…I would spend it like hell.
People always have a clear answer, when it is about money. But, every day we receive a gift of 86 400 seconds, too. Unfortunately, when it´s “just” time people don´t mind to waste the MAJORITY of it.
In one of his interviews, Warren Buffet said this:
“Time is the only thing, you can´t buy. I can buy basically anything I want, but I will never be able to buy time.”
You, me, we all have 24 hours a day, or as you wish 86 400 seconds. But yet, some people manage to use their time wiser and accomplish almost anything they can imagine, while others, struggle to do a few things.
So, if feel busy all the time and you´d like to make your time management more effective, just keep reading. Because, today, I will share with you 7 tips for effective time management, that make you as productive as you always wanted to be.
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How you spend your morning tremendously affect how your whole day is gonna look like. It affects your productivity as well as your energy and happiness level throughout the whole day.
One of the „key“ habits almost all successful people build, is a strong morning routine.
They don´t wake up, hit the snooze button 3 times and then immediately run from home, without having time to take a breath.
The best thing about this is that almost all of them follow the same morning rituals. Of course, not all successful people in the world wake up at the same time nor eating the same food. But, the basic rituals are followed by a vast majority of successful people.
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A simple process of writing down your thoughts, goals or to-do lists is extremely important, for not just avoiding procrastination, for actual executing your tasks later in a day and also for reaching your goals.
According to a recent study, writing down your goals increase your chances of reaching them by 48%. Yeah, I know, not 100%, but, it´s still a pretty good number.
And here´s why:
The process of writing things down is the closest one to actual execution.
When you already invested your precious time and energy into taking pen and paper (or a laptop) and actually write down things you want to accomplish today, it´s a much higher probability that you will eventually take action and do what you suppose to.
You simply don´t want to disappoint yourself. You don´t want to look weak by writing something, spend time by planning something and then, not do it. (By the way, this is extremely important for your confidence, which you may find out on this article).
Grant Cardone in his best-selling book The 10X Rule, encourages people to write down daily goals not once, but twice a day. One time in the morning, and the second time in the evening.
He says that if your goals aren´t the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing you see in the evening you won´t become obsessed. And if you don´t become obsessed, you won´t take action toward them. And without action, there is no chance of hitting your goals.
Brian Tracy said about planning this:
“Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1,000% return on energy!”
Another benefit (if the one before wasn´t enough) is that setting your daily goals prevents you from being overwhelmed and intimidated by your long-term goal.
Making a mini-goals from your big goal is motivating because it´s something actionable, something that may be finished this day. Something, that convinces you that you actually can achieve what you want.
For example, you can´t lose 10 pounds today, but I am sure as hell you can go for a 30 minutes run. You can´t make 10 million today selling houses, but you can learn today, how to sell more persuasively.
Will Smith in one video I saw maybe 10 years ago said:
“Don´t try to build a wall. Say I am gonna lay this brick, as perfectly as a brick can be laid. Do this every day, and soon, you have a wall.“
Let´s say, you are convinced to write your daily goals. That means, you already know, what you should do in your upcoming day. But, I assume you can´t do all of them in one moment. That´s why you need to PRIORITIZE. And the best rule of prioritizing is this:
Do the hardest (and most important) task first. Then you can deal with easier (and less important) tasks.
Maybe you´re asking yourself right now… Why the hell would I do the hardest task in the morning? Don´t I have the whole day for it?
Well, I asked the same, when I read about it in a book – First Things First from Stephen Covey. The explanation is actually simple: We all have 2 limited resources in a day – time and energy.
Your energy level is the highest in the morning. You are well-rested and you didn´t deal with all kinds of problems, yet. You´re the sharpest and the most focused.
That´s why it´s so important to always do the most important task of your day first!
Amish have a great saying:
„When you have something difficult to do, jump right into. Next time you notice, it´s halfway done.“
When I studied the structure of a day of billionaire Mark Cuban, I found out he said this:
„Whatever stressful things there are, I try to get them done right in the morning.“
So, try it for one week. Arrive at your job, start with the most important task you should do.
Try not to waste time checking emails, FB and unimportant stuff like that. (you´ll have plenty of time for that after you finish the Big Task of the day).
Unconsciously, we always worry about something, we suppose to do, what we already should have done already.
While I was in college, my classmate asked me to send him some notes from a lecture he didn´t attend. Instead, I do it immediately when I get to the computer, I started to work on my stuff. While I was convinced I work productively, later that day I found out, that I wasn´t productive at all.
The reason is, that I subconsciously always kept in mind:
Don´t forget to send those notes, don´t forget to send those notes!
It would take me 30 seconds to find those notes, send it to him and my head would be clear and focused on my work. That day I learned a lesson:
Anytime you have something trivial to do, don´t put it on your list, do it immediately, when you can. You will save a bit amount of mental energy, which you can use much more effectively, throughout the day.
This is an answer, to question, you´ve been asking yourself for a long time.
How some people could accomplish so much in their day, while I struggle with finishing just one task?
The answer is —>
Perhaps, you just need to:
It means, close your door, turn off your cell phone and every website on your computer that is not related to your task, set yourself a short deadline and just do the work!
You´ll be amazed, how much time you´ll save and how productive you´ll become when you learn how to focus.
I bet you already heard about Jeff Bezos. For those who don´t, he is the CEO of Amazon.com and currently the wealthiest man in the world.
When he was a little kid, in school, he attended painting lessons. Children were deployed in a circle where they paint something. After a while, the teacher stopped them, and all children should move to the next chair and continue with painting, on paper, their classmate leaves there.
But, when they should move, there was 1 little guy, who worked so focused, they couldn´t stop him. He was so focused on finishing his painting, the teacher has to move him manually.
This is I believe one of the reasons why Jeff Bezos is currently the wealthiest man in the world is his ability to focus.
If you already tried to deeply focus, but you couldn´t, no worry. Focusing on something can be learned. Of course, it´s much harder today, than it was a few years ago. Today, you are surrounded by so many distractions. So, every good habit is build step-by-step.
Start with 5 min. of focused work. Then increase it up to 10 min., 20. or 30. min.
Set a timer for this amount of time, and until the timer rings, do the work. Then, make a little break, while you can drink some water, make yourself a cup of coffee, go to the bathroom, for a walk or even check your social media.
Important is to set a timer for your break. Otherwise, from a few minutes break, it can easily become a few hours break. Which is definitely not effective time management.
Many people think multitasking is efficient. It feels productive when you do more tasks simultaneously. But, the fact is, this couldn´t be further from the truth.
2% is pretty low odds for you, to continue or even consider to start multitasking. So, my suggestion to you is to stop multitasking at all.
If you have 2 tasks to finish, take 1 hour to finish the first one, and 1 hour to finish the second one. You will finish those tasks faster and you will do much precise, efficient and higher quality work.
I understand you may hate this word. Because of deadlines you usually have to stay at work longer, work harder and less sleep. But the deadline is actually a great tool for effective time management.
The deadline keeps you motivated to finish a task, even when you would like to do a thousand different things, instead.
This is why I highly recommend setting deadlines for yourself.
When your boss told you, that you need to finish a certain task until Friday at 2 p.m., set your own deadline for, let´s say Thursday at 5 p.m.
Another huge benefit of deadlines is, that you are less likely to get distracted when you set a deadline.I am sure you know this from your own experience. When you have a whole month for finishing something, do you feel an urge to do it as productive as you can?
And that´s the time, you are the most productive and efficient. So, next time, when you have work for 2 hours, try to make a goal for yourself, to finish it in 1 hour.
Your work is gonna be much more productive, efficient, and even when you don´t finish the whole task in 1 hour, you´ll get much more done, then if you would work without a deadline at all.
So, don´t be afraid of deadlines. Use them for yourself, with your own rules.
At the end of this article, I would like to give one extra tip for long time management.
I believe only when you know how to properly manage your goals in a long-term, you can divide them into smaller, less achievable goals, which eventually leads you to proper time management and productivity throughout the day.
The technique is from Warren Buffet, and its called: rule 5/25.
It´s basically the same, as Steve Jobs once said:
“Don´t even think about other goals unless you already reached goals that are on the top of your list.”
Effective time management is crucial whether your goal is to be more productive, have more time for your family or just to live a happier, more fulfilled life. Many people would like to work more efficient, but, they don´t know, how.
I hope, these 7 tips I shared with you today help you to become more productive, efficient and successful in life. Implement them into your life and I am sure, your productivity is going to improve.
And, if you use any other useful time-management techniques, please comment below and share it with us, so we all can learn from you.
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