How to be more productive with your time? It’s one of the oldest questions in the business world, and it’s also one of the most important to answer in order to be successful and happy in all aspects of your life. Of course, there’s no one way to manage your time that works for everyone, but there are several tried-and-true methods that are popular among many successful individuals and entrepreneurs. Here are nine time management techniques you can use right now to help you become more productive with your time and get things done faster, better, and more efficiently than ever before.
1) Plan on Paper
Some people swear by digital planners, but for others it’s just not their style. If you’re a paper-and-pen person, that doesn’t mean you have to lose your productivity mojo. In fact, writing things down can be one of your best tools. Buy a weekly or monthly planner and make sure to fill in specific tasks and deadlines—and use it every day to track your progress against those goals.
2) Use Reminders
Instead of relying on your memory, use a planner to keep track of tasks and deadlines. If you have an iPhone or an Android device, take advantage of these devices’ built-in reminder systems.
3) Forget Multitasking!
Multitasking sounds good in theory, but it doesn’t work well in practice. Our brains have a limit to how much information they can process at one time, and each time we shift from one task to another, we lose time and productivity. Plus, multitasking is stressful—which means it makes us less productive. To improve your efficiency, you need to stop multitasking and focus on doing one thing at a time.
4) Keep a Schedule Close by
One of the best ways to manage your time more effectively is to keep a schedule close by. If you don’t, it’s too easy to waste hours each day deciding what you should work on next. With a schedule in front of you, however, it’s much easier to figure out how and when you should spend your time each day—and make sure that you have enough time for everything. Why? Because once it’s on paper (or computer screen), everything becomes clear.
5) Take Breaks
It might sound counterintuitive, but one of the most effective time management tips is to take frequent breaks throughout your day. Give yourself about 20 minutes every few hours to do something for fun, like listen to a podcast or watch an episode of your favorite TV show. Getting your mind off work will help you feel more refreshed and motivated when you get back to it.
6) Change Your Environment
If you’re spending a lot of time in front of your computer, you need to make sure it’s set up properly. This means adjusting things like monitor height and screen brightness to avoid eye strain. It also means creating an organized desk with separate containers for work files, personal files, and any other items that could distract you while working.
7) Use a To-Do List
Everyone is different and has different productivity needs, but a tried-and-true method that almost everyone can benefit from is using a to-do list. Using a planner or app, write down all of your tasks for each day in advance and prioritize them based on what is most urgent. To make sure you don’t forget anything, repeat your to-do list as often as possible. This will help you remember each task as it comes up and decide if it still belongs on your schedule that day.
8) Break Projects into Manageable Steps
When we get overwhelmed, it’s easy to procrastinate and not feel like doing anything at all. Instead of trying to tackle a project in one fell swoop, break it down into smaller steps—and set aside just a few minutes each day to work on them. After a few days, you’ll be surprised by how much you’ve accomplished!
9) Try Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a simple time management system created by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. These intervals are named pomodoros, the plural in English of pomodoro (tomato), after which the technique is named. The purpose is to focus without interruptions on a single task until completion.