Time is money. Whether you’re trying to find the time to jumpstart your side-hustle, study for a more lucrative career, or build your entrepreneurial empire, time management is the key to your success.
But, as I have found out, managing your time is not as easy as it seems. We live in a world full of distractions. Everything is designed to steal time away from our priorities. The following tips can help you sidestep diversions and become supremely efficient, allowing you to accomplish more in less time.
Wake Up Earlier
I’ve discovered that the early bird does get the worm. Waking up just a few hours earlier allows me to work in the relative peace and quiet of the early morning with few distractions. Likewise, those people who arrive to work an hour or two before their co-workers often claim those first few hours of the day are their most productive, free of meetings, emails, and other interruptions. Try going to sleep a little earlier so that you can start your day before everyone else. As the saying goes, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
Work in Spurts
The ability to focus on a single task with laser-like intensity is the key to insane productivity. The problem, however, is that maintaining this intensity is extremely difficult. Distractions and fatigue creep in, derailing our best intentions.
One of the most effective ways I’ve dealt with this problem is by using the Pomodoro technique. This time management strategy breaks work into manageable 25 minute intervals of high intensity work. Each one of these 25 minute work sessions is called a pomodoro.
Typically, a timer is set for 25 minutes during which attention is focused exclusively on the task at hand. At the end of the 25 minute pomodoro, you take a 5 minute break before embarking on another pomodoro. After the completion of four pomodoros you take a longer – 15 to 30 minute – break.
While it may sound simple in concept, I guarantee you’ll definitely see an improvement in your productivity. Check out these pomodoro apps.
Eat Your Frog First
Brian Tracy, author of Eat That Frog, suggests that we maximize our effectiveness by tackling our frog – our most important or most difficult task of the day – as early in the day as possible. When you complete your highest priority or most difficult task first, you’ll find it easier to complete the rest of your tasks, allowing you to get more done. However, if we delay tackling our most difficult or important task, we often find it easier to put it off for yet another day.
Eliminate Social Media Time Sinks
The internet and social media are productivity slayers. I can’t count the number of times I’ve deviated from a task only to return to it three hours later after having had my fill of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and other web distractions. The problem is that since much of my work is done on a computer, social media distractions are just a mere click away.
Thankfully, there are ways to tame these social media productivity busters.
Apps like SelfControl allow you to block specific websites for up to 24 hours, even if you restart your computer. The app has been downloaded over 1.5 million times. The Freedom app goes even further. It blocks your access to the entire internet for up to eight hours at a time.
Nix the Multi-tasking
You may think you’re a multi-tasking king or queen, but a new study by Stanford University shows us that multi-tasking simply does not work. In fact, it’s estimated that you could lose up to 40% of your productivity by multi-tasking. You not only spend more time when you multi-task rather than approach each task individually, but you also make more errors. Your best bet is to focus on one task at a time and say goodbye to multi-tasking.
Hopefully, these suggestions will help you get more done in less time. Remember, always try to work smarter. Your sanity will thank you for it.
BMWK, what are some of the tricks you use to work more efficiently?