Most people are anxious to get ahead in life and driven to exceed their limits. Times have changed and it’s time to keep up! These individuals do not feel productive unless they are rushing through tasks, making excessive calls, volunteering for errands, fiddling with papers, texting and skimming through emails. For this group, “staying busy” is the definition of being productive when in reality moving hastily from task to talk does not work well.
1 – Start with MOST important to LEAST important
This rule of managing time trumps all others. First, list your tasks in order of importance. Start with most important tasks first and finish with the least important tasks. Second, pat yourself on the back for taking care of the pressing duties first. End your day on inconsequential tasks. You’ll love how that feels.
2 – Know your limits. Say NO occasionally.
Accepting multiple assignments at one time builds a strong will and encourages discipline. These are excellent attributes to acquire, but you do not need to overburden yourself. Sometimes it’s just better to say no, even if you are the only person capable of completing it soundly. Only accept the task if your interest in the job overshadows your desire to walk away.
3 – Maintain a healthy lifestyle and sleep regularly
Staying fit and eating wholesome foods will give you the energy to work enthusiastically. Sleeping for 6 to 8 hours each night will increase your vitality and reduce your stress as well. If I only slept for six hours during the previous night, I will take a quick nap the following afternoon. Powernaps can work wonders.
4 – Stay focused on your work, always.
The hours will slip away if you engage in distracting activities such visiting random websites and speaking on the phone unnecessarily. You’re at work, so get to work and play later. By working in a noiseless peaceful environment, you can conserve your hours and complete your tasks faster.
5 – Start your job early
Start your day ahead of everyone else. Every once in a while you may start your job late because of issues that may be out of your control. Are you a procrastinator? Remember this: It is as easy to procrastinate as it is not to procrastinate. In the past, I procrastinated quite often, but I broke the habit once I realized the benefits of working early.
6 – Don’t be a perfectionist
Some of us are perfectionists by nature. This is an excellent attribute, especially if you are an artist. When you need to complete a job however, too much perfection can slow you down. I am a perfectionist by nature, and I can be my own worst critic at times. Ignore the minor details and complete the tasks quickly.
7 – Lighten your workload by working some weekends. Yes, weekends!
In one of my favorite memes, a working gentleman tosses his work on the ground while expressing his appreciation for Friday. The next image shows this same gentleman picking up his work beneath the caption entitled Monday. This is a fictional depiction, but it shows how much time we tend to waste during the weekends. Setting aside 4 -8 hours for work over the weekend will lighten your load without interfering with weekend activities. Who came up with the concept of “the weekend” anyways?
8 – Don’t let your to-do list overwhelm you
Take a deep breath. OK, ready to look at your to-do list? Thinking of completing your entire to-do list AT ONE TIME will stress anyone out. Concentrate on one task at a time. When you complete each task, cross it off your list and work on the next task. Simple. How does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
9 – Place a time limit on each task
Giving yourself a specific amount of time to complete a job will enhance your focus BIG TIME. It is far better to say “I need to complete this job in three hours” versus ” I am going to finish this job some time today”. The time limit is sort of a training exercise that will gradually improve your skill.
10 – Give yourself a rest period between tasks
Take a break. It’s easy to burn yourself out by completing one job and rushing into the next one immediately. Resting between tasks allows you to clear your mind so you can prepare yourself for the next assignment. You can use several relaxation methods such as meditating, walking short distances, and briefly listening to mild soothing music.