1. Know your priorities
Having a long to-do list with tons of tasks that you have to get done by the end of the day will just stress you out. Prioritize your tasks so you know what actually needs to get done. Let’s say you have 15 tasks on your list. Looking through them you realize that five are your highest priority. Those tasks are both urgent and important. Just start with them. Now there is a lot of stress off your shoulders because you only have to get five tasks done. Now what if you get them done and you still have extra time? Move on to your important but not urgent tasks, such as working out, meditating, meal planning and so on and so forth.
Related: How to Be Productive While Stressed
2. Have a schedule
Schedules can be annoying for those of us who like to live in the moment, but they are also important to stay organized and know when you have time. Having a work schedule and a home schedule will keep you organized, and most importantly you will know when you have time to get your to-do list done. A to-do list without time to get your tasks done only produces stress, not results. Work with your family, your boss, and anybody who could give you commitments to work out a schedule.
Related: 7 Habits of Productive People That You Can Use to Change Your Life
3. Utilize time blocking
You now have time in your day created by your schedule. What do you do with that time? That is when time blocking comes into play. Time blocking is when you take the time you have, let’s say 8-10 a.m, and plan out what you are going to do and get done during that time. From 8-8:30 I am going to write that paper. From 8:30-8:45 I am going to check and answer emails… so on and so forth. That is time blocking, and it extremely useful for not stressing over when to get your stuff done.
4. Set a timer
Sitting down and saying, “I’m just going to work until everything is done,” is not the way to go. First of all, getting everything done could take three hours and sitting for three hours in front of a computer is very detrimental to your health. Second of all, you have no idea how long your work could take, so you are facing the gloomy unknown of forever working. Set a timer for 25 minutes, and then you just need to work that long. After the 25 minute session, you take a five-minute break! Telling your brain that it only has to work 25 minutes, will make sure you are getting work done. You can do 25/5, or 50/10, whatever suits you.
5. Batch your work
Batching your tasks has many benefits. What is batching? Batching is when you do similar tasks in the same work period. You don’t do a paragraph and then check emails, and then another paragraph and then a phone call, you do two or three paragraphs, take a break, and then do your emails and your phone call. Batching keeps you in the right mindset for your tasks, and will also help you get more done in less time because there is less of a transition period for your brain.
6. Break your big tasks down
A big paper can seem daunting to write, so you will probably end up procrastinating on it. If you break it down into very small tasks, you will find that you are able to get a lot done. Breaking your tasks done is a technique to prevent procrastination while getting a lot done. A broken down big task might make your to-do list a lot longer, but keep batching in mind.
7. Plan time to be on social media
I don’t know about you, but while I try to stay as much in the real world as I can, I cannot resist my time on social media. This is expected and okay. In this new digital world, social media is a big part of life. To make sure you are not letting social media affect your productivity, plan out times during the day for social media. I suggest ten-minute increments. Between tasks and during meals I find are the most popular options. Keep in mind if you go on social media during breakfast, to try and still mindful eat. If you find that social media makes you feel bad and negative, check out this post.
8. Take breaks!
Don’t work yourself too hard. Take time during the day to get out of work mode, and take a step outside of your head. Whether you take five minutes to stretch, or a Starbucks break, taking time to reset your mind for your next section of work is necessary.
9. Keep your space organized
A clear space means a clear mind. Make sure you are planning out your decluttering time in your schedule. You might wonder why an organized space will help you with time management, and it is because it is all connected. Organization, productivity, time management, they are all connected. An organized space means a clearer mind, which means better work. Better work means less time you are spending on a task which means more free time.
10. Review each week
At the end of the week, review how you did with time management. Look at your time blocks, look at your organization, look at your to-do list, and what you got done. Also, review how you did on your weekly goals. I do this review on Sunday, so after my review, I can use the information to write my next week’s goals, plans, meal prep times, decluttering times, and everything I need to prepare for the following week.
11. Know when you work best
Some people are early risers like me so we prefer to work in the morning and go to bed earlier. Other people are night owls, so they get their best work done at night, while us early risers are asleep. In society right now, there is a lot of talk about how the secret to productivity is to wake up earlier, and while this may be true for early risers who haven’t realized they are early risers, for the night owls this just doesn’t work. You need to find what works best for you, and not just try to conform to societies productivity standards. Working when you work best is the best way to get things done.