Effective Time Management: Healthy Habits To Cultivate
Effective time management is the practice of highly successful people. While we all get the same 24 hours in a day, some tend to make more productive use of them. How they do it, and other effective time management habits to cultivate is what this article entails.
What is time management?
Time management talks about the way you structure your time to meet your goals. The way average individuals manage their time has everything to do with the ingrained habits; either practiced over time or through subconscious implementation. To make the most of your day, effective time management habits have to be learned and mastered. This is because your ingrained habits might not be productive enough for your goals. If you have noticed that you tend to do less in 24 hours, you should practice these effective time management hacks.
Effective time management practices
These are the most effective time management practices under the sun, practiced by the most successful entrepreneurs.
Define your purpose as clearly as possible
Knowing precisely what tasks should be achieved daily will help you best plan on how to achieve them. This is one of the best productivity advice you will hear anywhere. The concept of defining your purpose was also discussed by the New York Times bestseller, Brian Tracy in his book, Eat That Frog.
You should always have short and long-term goals. What is it you need to achieve in a year, in a month, 6 months, and every day. This will allow your brain to build toward achieving these tasks. The clearer the goals and purpose are, the more clear you will be on the price, avoid distractions, and plan properly. Also, ensure to write them down.
Make a plan
After defining your goals and purpose, the next step is making an attainable plan.
Note that your plan has to follow the S.M.A.R.T principle. It has to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
Don’t go making unrealistic plans that are not attainable. You know your capabilities and how much you can do with your time.
Giving yourself workloads that you cannot accomplish will only get you burned out and frustrated at your inability to reach your set goals. Therefore, make a plan that works for you and your capabilities.
Now that you have made a plan, the next step is implementing the necessary actions. Everyone talks a good game until it is time to take action. This is why public speakers aren’t necessarily the best advice-givers – as most of their teachings are based on theories and not actual results.
Since you know your goals and have a plan, it’s time to bring your ideas to fruition. The only thing that can stop you is you, distractions, and the “bullshit excuse you are telling yourself.”
Every lesson you will ever learn will mean nothing if you do not take action. This is what makes this the most effective time management technique.
Combat procrastination effectively
Procrastination is probably the greatest huddle to effective time management. Many lose this battle despite putting up a fight. If you have had issues with procrastination, this time management hacks will help you trump.
Use the Pomodoro technique:
This technique goes back to the late 1980s. The technique was invented by Francesco Cirillo, a university student who had issues focusing on his studies.
After seeing how effective the method was, he went on to write a 130-page book about the method. The biggest strength of this method of focusing is its simplicity. The technique suggests you take a 5-minute break after every 25 minutes of work.
This technique has been beneficial to my productivity and focusing since I have a short attention span. This technique helps you stay focused on the task at hand.
Tackle difficult tasks first:
A common mistake people make is putting off difficult tasks and attending more manageable tasks. Your energy doesn’t build up the more you work, no matter the nature of the work you are performing. This means an easy task will leave you equally drained as a difficult task. So, always tackle difficult tasks first before attending to the less difficult ones.
Don’t put off tasks:
How many times have you told yourself you will attend to a task later and didn’t get to it for a long while or at all?
Quite often, I imagine.
This is also another mistake entrepreneurs make. Avoid putting off ideas, plans, and tasks. It’s best to get to them as soon as they come up rather than leave them for later.
Eliminate distractions and interruptions
You will never meet your quota for a day if you keep getting interrupted or distracted.
The bad part about distractions and interruptions is that a distraction of 5 seconds can take a couple of minutes to recover. This is a fact that was established by research at the University of California. Some healthy practices that can help you eliminate distractions are:
- If you work from home, have an office station that is secluded from the rest of the house. If at the office, ensure to be in a corner where you’re not distracted by colleagues.
- Stay away from your mobile phone. Personally, I have found that this is one of my biggest distractions. If you work from home or the office, keep your phone far away from you. Preferably out of sight and ears. Mute caller ringtone or just power off your device, leaving all voicemail messages till you are done.
- Work in the right environmental conditions. Some people are more productive with music playing in the background. Others, not so much. If you can, set your workplace to accommodate the conditions that increase your productivity.
Stop multitasking; for Christ’s sake
When discussing effective time management techniques, many assume multitasking should be included.
Multitasking has been proven by multiple research to reduce productivity and kill time. While a small percent can multitask effectively, the chances of you doing it right are very slim.
When you multitask, your brain goes from one task to the next, decreasing productivity and efficiency. This is because your brain isn’t allowed to get in the zone for a particular task.
When you don’t set deadlines, you give your brain and body room to take things slow. Setting deadlines put a sense of urgency in the task, which is great for productivity. Overall, this one of the most effective time management hacks.
Use Stephen Covey’s Time Management Metrics
Stephen Covey’s time management metrics state: “All urgent and important tasks should be prioritized, important but not urgent should be planned, urgent but not important tasks should be reduced, and neither urgent nor important tasks should be eliminated.”