Time Management Tips to Shoot Your Productivity Through the Roof
What every one of us as professionals has in common is knowing how to time manage our working days. There are many days when we are working on as many different tasks. We chip away at each task throughout the day and never truly feeling like one single thing was completed to give us a sense of feeling super productive. There are also so many unknowns throughout the day that can throw us in different directions and make our afternoon tasks completely nonexistent. This sense of frustration is particularly felt during the holiday crunch time. In addition to working at fever pitch to execute campaigns for all our clients, we are also gearing up for the new year.
What follows are four (very easy) time management tips that will help you to visualize your to-do list and be your most productive self!
1. Write down your to-do list in the morning
When you first get to work or sit down at your desk, write down your to-do list. Don’t worry about prioritizing each item just yet. Simply write down everything you have to (or want to) accomplish that day. Once you have everything written down, look the list over and add stars next to what has to be done that day and focus on those items first. Oftentimes, when you put off taking care of the important tasks, you wind up thinking about them for the rest of the day and never feel like you fully completed anything. Completing these specific tasks will lift a lot of weight off your shoulders and make you much more focused for the remainder of the day.
2. Turn off notifications for even just a half hour
We’re all creatures of our phones. It’s just the world we live in. Whenever that screen lights up, my eyes automatically dart to my phone and I check what the message is. It could be something as insignificant as Target telling me there’s an upcoming sale, which I will (mostly) ignore – but that notification was a distraction that just took me out of the zone. A few times during the day, when you’re working on priority items, try putting your phone out of sight or turn off notifications on your Mac, even for just a half hour. It’s amazing how much more focused you can become. If you’re able to, setting a five-minute window every hour to check message works wonders!
For those tricky websites that can get the best of you during work hours (like your go-to blog, sports insights, or gossip sites), Google Chrome has a cool extension called StayFocused that is quick to set up and allows you to either set a limit on how much time you spend on certain websites, or even block them altogether during the work day.
3. Clock the time it takes you to complete a task
To get an idea of how long it takes you to finish a task, check the clock when you start working on it and jot down the time, or make a mental note of it. When you’re finished (and hopefully without distractions), note how long it took you to finish this particular task. This will give you a good sense of how much time it takes you to write that proposal, design that social ad, write a social calendar, or traffic a campaign to your team, among other projects. This practice will allow you to better plan out your days so that the next time you have those same tasks to do, you’ll have a much more realistic idea of your time. Maybe something you thought would take two hours wound up taking 45 minutes. On the other hand, something which looked as if it would take only 15 minutes instead took an hour to complete.
4. Note your accomplishments at the end of the day
At the end of the day, cross off what you’ve accomplished. Nothing else feels more amazing! Feel good about what you accomplished and how much you got done. Make a mental note of what you have to do tomorrow and what should be done first thing in the morning. This will help you let it go for the night and feel like you’re nice and prepared for the morning. Then, the next morning, write your list out on a fresh page so there are no messy notes and cross-offs from the day before, and you can start the day off right.
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