We all have dreams and life goals that drive us to passion and ambition. Once these are achieved, we will feel fulfilled and be ready to embrace bigger challenges. However, there always seems to be a good reason to postpone these professional or personal projects. Unfortunately, behind all of these reasons stands a poor grasp of time management.
There are 24 hours in a day and that we cannot change. However, we can change how we decide to manage all of these hours to work in our favor. So, let’s see the 7 things you can do to improve your time management.
1. Organize Your Desk
Clutter always creates distractions for your concentration capacity. While working on an important project or planning a city break, your mind will wander from the alarming thoughts about the deadline to the funny birthday present that your colleagues gave you six months ago. In this crushing combat, which thought you think will win your attention? The answer is always the pleasant one.
This doesn’t mean that you should get rid of all your personal things. However, the desk should provide a favorable environment that encourages productivity. Otherwise, searching for the right folder in the big pile that gathered up on the desk will make you fall back on your deadlines.
So, make it a five-minute habit of tidying up the desk in the morning. This is just a little hack that will summon great efficiency and power of focus.
2. Control Your Memory
I don’t know about you, but if I were to add up all the wasted moments in a day of trying to remember phone numbers, article titles, names or other things, maybe I will finally discover why the day goes by so quickly.
The hectic life that modern society demands from us hinders us most of the time from doing things properly. We tell ourselves to remember something, but then we have to take care of other tasks, and we forget our initial thoughts instantly.
This is the moment when we should be grateful for the many ways psychology improves our lifestyle. Improving the memory doesn’t require a tedious process of daily painful exercises as we might think.
The first step you should take in this direction is to be aware of the present moment. Pay attention to surroundings and concentrate on key aspects like sound, smell, touch, taste, and view. The more you live in the present, the easier it will come to you to associate an element of novelty with a memory from the past.
Another technique is quite funny and actually involves an entertaining technique. As we respond better when we hear vulgarities or nasty jokes, why not using them to our own advantage? For example, when trying to memorize new names, try coming up with some funny lines like, “Rick Newman looks like a dripping pan.”
3. Multitasking Is a Myth
The idea of getting rid of two tasks at the same time is marvelous. However, this has no place in the real world actually. Multitasking, in fact, requires alternating disconnections from one task to another which does more damage than good.
Doing two things at the same time is effective, I have to admit. However, thinking of multiple solutions at the same time is just absurd. Eventually, you will spend the same amount of time on multitasking as you would have needed to finish them one by one. The chances are that multitasking would take up more time than usual.
Our brain can store only five to nine pieces of information at once. More than this, the streamline of our thoughts can store only one sequence of ideas. While trying to juggle two tasks at the same time, you will lose the power of focus and harm the ability to encode new information into short-term memory.
Thus, multitasking will not weaken your time management skills, but it will also prevent you from memorizing the new information on the long term. The experience will be zero, and the next time you will try to perform the same duty, it will be as if you are making it for the very first time.
4. Plan Every Aspect of Your Day
Before going to sleep, people have a clear idea on what they should do the next day. However, once the night is over, they get right in the middle of the action, and they lose perspective. The chances are that by the end of the day, they will forget to do most of their goals.
This is why one of the tricks to a better time management is to plan your day the evening before. The moments before going to bed are the most relaxing ones in a day. This is when you get to analyze the daily retrospective and figure out if it was a productive day or not.
However, we shouldn’t stop here. Instead, we should write down everything we want to do the next day. Even though it seems like common sense when we have a clear mind, the hectic routine can shake up our planning abilities. But a written schedule with assigned time intervals for each of the tasks will give you more control over your time management. So, let the evening schedule guide you during a busy day.
5. Take Smart Breaks
We all need breaks throughout the day to release pressure and have some fun. However, there’s a smart way to take these breaks and improve your time management skills.
Instead of staring at some time consuming social platforms, you can plan the breaks more intuitively. First off, switching from urgent matters to some completely mindless videos is like unplugging a working computer all of a sudden. It’s a steep shut down which will make it harder for you to return to your work plans.
The smart way to do it is to spend time with your colleagues. You can eat together or play some interesting games that require analytical thinking. Besides the healthy boost for a better social life, you get to stay connected to work in a pleasant way. The usual conversations might be all about work, but they will get a friendly side also. Getting back to your work won’t take a long period of readjustment anymore.
6. Work Your Body
Body and mind have always been closely connected with one another. There’s no wonder that when we feel ill, we can never access the same power of focus as we do when we are in a great mood. This works exactly the same when we don’t pay enough attention to our body.
Besides the fact that physical training releases endorphins that make us happy thus more productive, we will be physically prepared for all our routine missions. Often times, people don’t feel like doing a task, and they delay it as much as possible. But the real reason behind this state of fatigue can be the absence of an active lifestyle.
So, instead of thinking that hitting the gym can work against time management, it can actually improve your efficiency scores. You will physically be able to do more chores during the entire day, and the mind will get sharper when it feels the body being in an excellent shape.
7. Say “Yes!” to Sleep
Cheating your sleep time for the sake of some extra hours for completing your projects will actually work against you. A four-hour sleep pattern is not a productivity hack. The fact that you will gain two extra hours will have serious side effects in the long run. You can lose focus, and you will finish your tasks at a slower pace.
So, embrace the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep and make sure they will not get disturbed by phone calls or other alarming sounds. Your mornings will get more active and positive, and they will recharge your energy for an entire, productive day.
Over to You
So, these are the 7 things to do to improve your time management. They won’t take much effort to adapt them to your lifestyle as most of them will come naturally.