You can’t change how time works unfortunately, but there are a few ways to get more out of the hours you do have. Below are some of our top tips to help you become more productive throughout the day.
1. Prioritise the tough stuff
It may be that you have ten things to do this week, and you’re expecting a couple of them to be particularly difficult. If that’s the case, get these harder tasks out of the way while your mind is fresh and full of optimism. The reward of having an easier final couple of hours or days should help you work harder early on. You’ll also avoid having to rush later on, as this can lead to poor quality work.
2. Learn to say ‘no’
Be realistic with the time you have – you can’t be expected to get three people’s work done just because they’re on holiday. And if you try, it’s inevitable that quality will suffer.
Instead of automatically saying ‘yes’ every time someone asks you to work on something, insist that you check your schedule and get back to them. Then go and figure out if it’s actually feasible.
3. Learn to be disciplined
Procrastination is one thing that haunts us all to some extent – no matter how hard we try to focus, the urge to read the news or check the latest football goings-on can sometimes be overwhelming. The trick here is to be firm with yourself from the start.
Log on early so you can ease yourself into the day, and have a ‘real’ starting time at which you need to really get going. Then plan allocated breaks later on in the day to reward yourself; if you have them planned already, it’ll be easier to fight temptation.
4. Carry out a time audit
For one week only, try logging your tasks each day, with a note of how long you spend on them. This way, you can look back at the end and see what you’re actually doing with your time. This doesn’t have to be seen by anyone else, so be completely honest – it may just be that you’re spending longer than you realised on basic admin. And that’s the kind of thing that can be optimised pretty easily.
5. Sleep well!
How will sleeping help me manage my time more effectively, you ask. Well, the tiredness that inevitably comes with going to bed late and getting up super early every morning will certainly impact productivity, and as soon as the first task overruns in the morning, you find yourself chasing for the rest of the day. The end result is another extra hour or two in the office, and that soon adds up to a poor work-life balance.
Heed the advice above and you’ll soon find yourself with a little more breathing space, and we all know the weekends are more enjoyable when you know everything on the to-do list has been ticked off!
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