It’s mid-September and our schedules are already filling up fast after the summer lull. (I know, I know. Many of you are asking “What lull?”) All of us want to squeeze just a little bit more out of each day by managing our time more effectively. To help you out we’ve culled these five tips from some of our all-time favourite time management books to help you do just that and make this fall your most productive yet.
1. Working in twenty-five minute bursts
“By working in twenty-five minute units of focused time (each unit is known as one Pomodoro) you will create powerful results for your productivity. By focusing on one activity at a time, you could halve the amount of time each activity would otherwise take.” Learn more about the Pomodoro Technique.
2. Prioritizing what really matters
It sounds trite, but very few of us prioritize what really matters in life, something Jessica N. Turner stresses in The Fringe Hours. “Think about what fills up your days and then decide which of those activities really matter. Which ones align with your values and bring you joy? Once you identify which activities matter, you can start to say to no to the others.”
3. Create a routine
Again, this may sound obvious, but how many of us have a routine and actually stick to it? It’s not about slaving away at your desk for 12 hours straight—just thinking about that makes me squirm!—but rather becoming “the commander of your schedule”. How do you do this? There’s no one size fits all routine. Play around with it and find out what works for you. (Read more in Manage Your Day to Day.)
4. Technology = the enemy of time management
Here’s another insight from Manage Your Day to Day that’s too good to ignore. Raise your hand if you’re currently waging a war against the distraction known as technology. That’s a lot of hands! We all know that we waste too much time every day checking our emails or perusing Facebook. So what do we do? One great idea is to block off certain times each day for reading and responding to emails. Two other tips include setting your “Out of Office” responder “all the time to let people know when they can expect a response” and institute technology-free sabbaticals. In no time you will be the boss of your technology, not the other way around.
5. Measure twice, cut once
This insight comes from Stephen Covey’s perennial classic, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and I’m not only including it because it’s sound advice, but also for sentimental reasons—it was my grandfather’s personal maxim. It’s self-explanatory: do something right the first time, even if it takes a little longer. That little extra time you invest will save you time in the long run.
Now it’s your turn. What’s your favourite time management tip? Let us know in the comments!