Do you find yourself at the end of the day exhausted and feeling unproductive despite having worked around the clock?
This comes as no surprise for most of us are often bogged down by distractions, urgent ad hoc tasks, emails and meetings, fast approaching deadlines….and the list goes on.
It can easily become overwhelming and we wind up too tired bothering with improving the state of our productivity.
But there’s good news! It may not be as hard to improve your time management as you think.
All it takes is a little time and effort to learn a few basic tips to effectively reduce stress, help invigorate your energy at work and increase your overall sense of satisfaction and achievement.
Here are 3 time management hacks that will help you drive up your productivity and accomplish more each day.
Hack 1: Plan your procrastination
Have you ever started an important task, only to be scrolling aimlessly through Facebook or Instagram 10 minutes later?
You are not alone – there are countless others like you.
Procrastination is defined as “the act of delaying something” and it usually happens when people fear, dread, or have anxiety about, the important task awaiting them.
The key to using procrastination to your advantage is to take an active approach instead of a passive one.
First, with regards to the task you have on hand, ask yourself:
- Is this task something I truly do not have time for?
- Is it something I have time for but don’t enjoy doing it?
- Is it something that I am afraid to do?
- Or something I do not know how to do?
‘Planned procrastination’ is an active approach where you are asking yourself why you need to delay taking action on something — maybe you’re too overwhelmed, too sleep-deprived to focus, or don’t yet have the right resources — and then postpone your task for a specific day and time.
The difference between ‘planned procrastination’ and simply procrastination is the intention.
You’re consciously deciding how to spend your time, rather than letting procrastination take over your plans.
If you plan your procrastination with an honest understanding of the reason why you are delaying your tasks, and also have a realistic, exact day and time allocation for completing the tasks, then you can simply enjoy the time off you give yourself prior to your tasks’ deadlines.
The key is to allow yourself time to procrastinate while having the discipline to also complete your tasks on time.
During the time you find yourself procrastinating, perhaps you can do something that fulfils or benefits you. Some suggestions are:
- Exercising or going for a walk – Even just 10 minutes of movement can help reset and improve your mood and help you feel energized.
- Declutter a problem area in your space. – Clutter can cause distraction and stress, especially if the amount of stuff in your space makes it inconvenient or frustrating.
- Meditate – Perhaps the reason why you are procrastinating is because you are feeling anxious about the task you have on hand. If so, meditation can help you calm down. Download an app like Calm or Headspace and give yourself 10-15 minutes to zone out from the world and let the many meditation exercises you can choose from guide you through your meditation.
- Write in a journal. – There may be countless thoughts in your mind that are making you feel overwhelmed. Take the time to write all your thoughts out. This can help you detox your mind and perhaps help you better focus on your tasks..
- Do something creative. – if you are feeling uninspired by your work or finding your task too dry, perhaps doing something creative like cooking, sketching, doodling or baking will help fulfil that creative urge in you and once you are done, you can focus better on the task you have on hand.
2. Single-Task instead of Multi-Task
Contrary to popular belief, multitasking does not necessarily mean doing more in the same amount of time.
It is the act of multi-tasking that results in exhaustion and the feeling of being unproductive at the end of the day because your mind is just overwhelmed by the massive to-do list and simply not focused on completing the important tasks at hand.
Slow down, notice what needs to be done and concentrate on those things first.
Do the tasks that create the most value first, and if you can, delegate the non-essential ones.
Each time you complete a valuable task, you will feel more motivated and refreshed to complete the next.
At the end of the day, you will not only get things done but also feel a sense of satisfaction that you have managed to accomplish what you have set out for yourself to do.
A tip for how you can have an overview of all your tasks is through a free organisation tool like Trello.
With Trello, you can organise your tasks into ‘To Do’, ‘Doing’, ‘Done’ where you can easily drag your ‘task card’ from one column to another.
3. Set Clear Goals and Short-Term Objectives
Like most aspects of your life, it is much easier to accomplish the tasks you set out to do when you have an absolutely clear vision of what it is.
Outlining your objectives for the short term rather than the long term will enable you to identify what needs to be done first before addressing the tasks of lower importance and diligently keep track of deadlines of key projects.
Prioritizing and setting out clear goals for yourself will ensure that all tasks at hand are addressed in a timely manner and ultimately become a more productive employee.
For employers, incorporating an appraisal system that allows you to set short term and long term goals for your employees will help to increase your company’s employee engagement and productivity.
An appraisal system provides black and white data on the short term and long term goals for the employee and whether the employee has met their KPI.
With an appraisal system, you can also have more employee review sessions to check whether the employee is on track with meeting their targeted KPIs.
This is much more efficient for your employee engagement and improvement as compared to just having just 1 employee review each year.
This is a guest post by Cyrena, a Marketing Specialist at OpensoftHR. OpensoftHR is a company that specialises in Cloud Payroll and Human Resource Software which comprises of Leave, Claims, Appraisal, Time & Attendance, Rostering, Appraisals, Employee Management and Self-Service Modules.