With smartphones allowing our professional lives to creep into our personal lives, it can be hard to stay productive. Every buzz of an email notification is another reminder that there’s something waiting to be done. So much so that the work/life balance we all crave seems almost unattainable.
How do we get things back on track so that we can enjoy our downtime and not end up overworked, stressed and unhappy?
Well, here are ten simple time management tips for busy professionals who need some help keeping their work life separate from their personal life.
- Try Starting Early
Some of the sharpest minds in the business world are early risers, and there’s a reason for that. We are generally at our most focused and creative in the morning. Our minds are clear, we’re well-rested, and our concentration levels are high.
There are also fewer distractions and fewer demands on our time, meaning we won’t feel as overwhelmed when tackling our to-do lists.
- Learn To Say No (Thank You)
You might find that you’re your own worst enemy when it comes to being productive, as you keep saying yes to every single task that comes across your desk.
By being focused on the task at hand and steering clear of unwanted distractions, you’ll see your to-do list getting shorter instead of longer. That is the power of a well placed (polite) no.
- Be Accountable
Did you know that sharing your goals with friends, family or coworkers can actually improve your chances of completing them?
Research has shown that writing down what you’d like to achieve and sharing that with people close to you makes you 75% more likely to succeed.
- Always Have A Plan
This one seems a little obvious, but taking the time to make a plan can actually save you time in the long run. By doing so, you can stack the deck in your favor, accomplishing the easy tasks first before going toe to toe with the more time intensive projects.
You’ll also avoid that scattergun approach that means you’re juggling more than one priority at a time. Speaking of which…
- One Thing At A Time
Multitasking is often seen as a desirable skill, but you know the old saying “jack of all trades, master of none.” By running around trying to keep those metaphorical plates spinning, you’re not giving your tasks the focus they deserve, therefore compromising the quality of your work.
So it bears repeating, focus on one thing at a time.
- Enjoy A Powernap
The Japanese are renowned for a lot of things, from pioneering technology to giant lizards rampaging through cities. But here’s something we can all get behind; the powernap. By enjoying a quick 20 minutes of shuteye you can reinvigorate your mind and body, and improve your levels of concentration.
It’s even been adopted by the major technology firms in the US, with Google offering their employees sleep pods.
- Keep Travel To A Minimum
It’s often said that one of the keys to happiness is living close to where you work. When you cut out hours of commute, you can lower your stress levels and, importantly, make the most of your time.
- Reduce Decisions
The great innovators don’t waste precious brain time on choosing what to wear, so why should you? Steve Jobs wore the same black turtleneck and blue jeans combo for years, as that was one less thing to think about.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is doing something similar. Even President Obama has been known to not sweat the small stuff, as his day is typically chock full of major decisions.
- Budget Your Time Wisely
You’ve got a budget for your money (right?), so why shouldn’t you have a budget for your time too? Track where your time goes and try to understand if you’re spending it wisely or poorly.
- Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
If you have a support network around you of colleagues or employees, then there’s no reason why you should let yourself be swamped with excess work.
Learn the art of delegation and let your team take some of the strain off of your shoulders.
Bonus Tip – Show Email Who’s Boss
Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, has a novel way of dealing with an unruly inbox. To spend less time dealing with email, he simply sends fewer emails. Seems crazy, but it works.
You should also consider marking important emails as unread. Batch them and choose a time once a day to deal with those unread messages.
Give these time management tips a shot and take charge of your professional life today. Let us know which ones work best for you, or if you have any other time-saving recommendations.
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