Switching between tasks can have damaging costs to our work and productivity. Develop the habit of single-tasking by forcing your brain to concentrate on one task and one task only.
Immerse yourself in this task. A really great productivity hack that forces single-tasking is the Pomodoro Technique. Turn off all the distractions and set a timer for 25 minutes. In that time, you can only work on a single task. Use an online tool such as Marinara Timer to set your timer automatically or simply use the one from Google.
From Bird by Bird: We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Just take it bird by bird. We all have huge tasks that we get tired just thinking about the amount of work needed to complete them.
We procrastinate by doing mindless tasks instead of starting them. To avoid this, break down your larger goals into small manageable tasks with realistically achievable milestones. This will help you map out all the small activities that need to be done and creating a timeline to do them.
As a rule of thumb, each small task should take less than one hour to complete. Break down big tasks into smaller ones to avoid procrastinating and help you stay on track to achieve your final goal.
Instead, put bit-sized to-dos that you can do one at a time. Another great time management technique of insanely busy people is scheduling their tasks, working from their calendar instead of the to-do list. Using your calendar forces you to rethink your work from tasks to time units. That small change increases the likelihood of getting things done. In the words of Srinivas Rao: Plan and schedule your calendar ahead of time to avoid distractions and be in charge of your time. The more you plan and schedule your time with purpose, the less time there is for outside forces to take over your schedule.
Leave enough room for unforeseeable tasks that demand immediate attention. Move things around and reschedule as needed as your week progresses. If you prefer, you can color-code using different organizations: Meetings are the devil of the corporate. Few people like meetings and most dread them.
As for outside the office meetings, switch to phone calls or video conferences. As for the meeting that you do have to take, make them highly efficient and productive by following these simple rules:. Only take meetings that have a clear agenda and a decision needs to be made. To run better meetings, have an end time and keep the number of participants small. But being a perfectionism can delay your work and make you miss important deadlines. The sooner you realize that delivering high-quality work on time is the most important skill, the faster you will advance on your goals and career.
Aiming for perfection is a surefire way to delay or never complete a project. In the words of Mark Twain: In Mathematics, there is a problem-solving technique called inversion.
You start with results and work backward to calculate the causes. Inversion is a powerful tool because it forces you to uncover hidden beliefs about the problem you are trying to solve. You need to think how to minimize the negatives instead of maximizing the positives.
Then I asked, what is the value of those materials on the commodity market? He does not make major arguments, he simply states what works f 3. Accept the fact that there will always be more to do and more that can be done. Like many other ultra-productive and successful people, he follows a very detailed and specific daily schedule. A few of the techniques are use a calendar instead of a to-do list and outsource repetitive tasks that can be done by others.
Thinking forward, you would list all the things you could do to be more productive. Create your own by writing down all the habits you want to quit and activities you wish to eliminate from your life. The reason why inversion works is simple: It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are.
Innovation is saying no to 1, things. What does processing all your emails in one sitting and cooking for an entire week on Sunday have in common? They use a productivity hack known as batching. The main idea behind this time management technique is to collect up a group of similar activities and do them all in one swoop. You can work efficiently on multiple tasks without losing your flow if the activities require similar mindsets. Batching forces your brain to be focused on one type of task at a time. Batch similar tasks and complete them at one time.
Batching reduces the start-up and slow-down time, daily clutter, and improves focus. To discover which tasks you should stack, start by writing all your activities for the day and week. Now identify the ones that call for similar mindsets and batch them together. Try the batch and rearrange tasks if necessary. To process batches faster, work on similar tasks for a set period of time using the Pomodoro Technique.
We feel guilty during the weekend about not working ahead or completing an extra project. Our body and mind need rest to function properly.
Taking time to recharge is crucial to sustaining motivation, passion, and productivity. Quick breaks during a stressful deadline can help you maintain focus, renew creativity, and make you feel more refreshed when you return to your task. For longer periods of recharging, take regular work vacations of at least a week off throughout the year. Bill Gates, for example, went into seclusion for one week twice a year to focus and plan.
Schedule breaks throughout your day to help you recharge and take regular vacations throughout the year. Rest is the best medicine for sustainable long-term productivity. The ultimate goal of work is enjoyment. You want to spend more time doing things that you enjoy. Work can and should be fun.
Dread your job and no time management technique in the world can help you. Apply these 23 time management techniques as a way to maximize your happiness while at work, not the amount of time you spend working. Use the newfound time in activities you value, such as spending time with your family, working on side-projects, practicing a hobby or developing your skills. The enjoyment you get from these other activities will in turn fuel your work productivity. If you are looking for more productivity hacks , join my invite-only community: Plan your work around your energy levels, scheduling critical work for peak productivity times.
Here how Jeremiah Dillon , head of product marketing for Google Apps for Work, organizes his week around his energy levels: A typical executive today can expect an average of 30, outside communications a year, up from 1, annually in the s. The average worker puts in only 1. But she is careful with her time. Since , Shriver has published two books— Stealing Magnolias and In the Spirit of New Orleans —and she credits her output with making the absolute most of being sequestered on jetliners. The time demands from below are extensive, but so are the time demands from above—and from multiple bosses, no less.
He stays honest with himself about how much time he and the city workforce have to take on a particular task, and then makes clear to his bosses what tradeoffs this entails. To ensure transparency, Joyce favors periodic off-sites with the city council in order to compare goals and set realistic priorities.
Time Management Secrets - Don't Waste Another Minute - Kindle edition by Frank Johnson. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or. 10 Execs With Time-Management Secrets You Should Steal Nevertheless, it's a concept that is much easier understood than achieved. . Office workers are interrupted—by themselves or others—roughly every three minutes, on average. But even more important to Shriver is the dictum, “Don't waste wasted time.”.
This is why that Frohman, like George Rupp, would consistently keep half of his calendar blank. He retired in But Frohman was also careful not to fill up that empty space with myriad other tasks—writing speeches or making plans. She did not expect to be asked if she had a good time-management practice of her own. The reactive stance leads to worse results, and we are notably vulnerable to it in meetings and other office interactions. So take that extra time. Tom Peters says that executives need to learn to say no—especially to events such as Davos, which tend to be echo chambers of conventional wisdom.
When Tom Peters and Robert H. Saying no, Peters counsels, is especially important for executives when invitations are asked to rarefied gatherings, like Davos. It also exacerbates another problem: And if you have to swallow two frogs, eat the big one first. Merrillyn Kosier, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of mutual funds at Ariel Investments, abides by that principle minus any actual frogs. Try to work out what that 20pc is. Try to skew your working day to give priority to those activities, and make more time for them.
Entrepreneurs can often struggle to delegate, preferring to be hands on with every aspect of their business. Learn to apportion less important tasks to others, or outsource where you can. Batch similar tasks together to work more efficiently.
Be ruthless with meetings. Always set an agenda and a finishing time. The average office worker spends around 16 hours in meetings each week, but a quarter of this time is usually wasted. Get rid of distractions when you need to focus. This could mean working in a quieter room, or putting on headphones to block out office noise. Is something holding your company back? Ask our business agony uncle and retail expert John Timpson to help you with anything from cash flow crises to funding headaches, staffing problems and sales downturns by emailing your question to askjohn telegraph.