Being more productive is something we all wish we could learn. If you’re like a lot of the clients I work with as an executive coach, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Between work or school, family, friends, hobbies, and other responsibilities, it can feel like you have too much to juggle, and not enough time to do it.
As a result, you might feel overwhelmed, burnt out, guilty that you’re not spending enough time with loved ones, or frustrated that you can never quite seem to get to certain dream projects. You might even feel hopeless.
However, rest assured, there is indeed hope. By using actionable strategies and making some tweaks in how you manage your time, you can get more done, more efficiently, and improve your overall quality of life. Being more productive might not be as difficult as one’s think.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Make one consolidated task list
While this seems pretty straightforward, you might be surprised by the number of people who skip this step. Yes, they might write things down to remember them, but because they’re not all in one place, they can lose track of what needs to be done. To guard against this, develop a system to keep track of your tasks. Whether it’s creating a spreadsheet, using a task list app, or writing them down in a notebook, you’ll be able to better manage your activities when you have a comprehensive list of what exactly they are.
- Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize
Henry David Thoreau wrote “It is not enough to be busy…The question is: what are we busy about?” This simple, but insightful sentence underscores one of the most important principles of time management – doing the right things at the right time. Once you have your task list together, determine which activities are your highest priorities. To do this, consider which tasks have tight timelines, in addition to tasks that are important. Those would be your highest priorities. Meanwhile, tasks which are less important, or which have deadlines that are further off, would be at the bottom of your list (if they remain on your list, at all). Then, develop a plan of attack and get to work!
- Manage Distractions
We live in a world that is filled with potential distractions. From co-workers, to text messages and emails, to your own thoughts, there are all sorts of variables that can cause you to get off-task. To deal with this, make a commitment to be disciplined. Whether you turn off your notifications or block out time on your work calendar to devote to an important project, take the necessary steps to set yourself up for success.
- Learn to Say “No”
For many of my clients who have too much to do, it’s because they have over-committed themselves. If you’re someone who reflexively says, “yes” to others’ requests, and then feels overwhelmed trying to keep up with it all, you’ll need to learn to cut back. Of course, you’ll want to be sensitive when doing this with your manager, but by letting him or her know the extent of your current workload, he or she might be more prone to delay some tasks for a future, more manageable time.
The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot!Author Michael Altshuler
Put these tips into practice, and take control of your time today!