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Nobody Is Born Productive
Most highly productive self-motivated and successful entrepreneurs start their day at 6 am or even earlier because it gives them enough time to perform their powerful morning rituals, revise their prioritized to-do list and drink their bullet coffee in peace. They use their calendar to block time and schedule their days down to the minute because they understand the value of time. They know how to combine hard work with smart work and most importantly they know how to get more things done in less time. How they do it? Well, by using the right time management techniques. What are these techniques you will discover in this post. So without further ado, let’s dive in. Here are the top 7 time management techniques that will make your productivity skyrocket and help you to accomplish more in less time.
1. Master Calendar Blocking
Have you ever experience a zone-like state of absolute focus and undisturbed concentration? Would you like to repeat this? What is I tell you that you can enter your brain’s most productive way on command? And what happens if I add that that achieving flow state is easier than you think. Because developing laser-like focus is actually very simple, but it requires some strategy. The strategy comprises five consecutive steps:
- Get out tasks of your head into your notebook
- Add all your tasks to your prioritized to-do list
- Decide on specific time slots in your calendar and reserve them for the tasks (you can also schedule your breaks to boost your productivity levels)
- Work on your tasks within the prescribed time period
- Be disciplined and act on your schedule
I am sure you have already figured out that the strategy we’re discussing here is called time-blocking or calendar blocking. There is no coincidence that the most successful entrepreneurs use this simple time-management method to increase their productivity levels, minimize the cost of the context switching and maximize their commitment to their goals.
If you ask me, time-blocking was a real life-changer for me. I didn’t realize how effective and simple this strategy really is until I tried it. That is why I HIGHLY recommend you to use this technique to organize your task, increase your focus and make your productivity skyrocket.
Best Apps And Tools For Time Blocking
Best Time Management Apps Of 2020
- Trello – project management app here
- Any.do – get seriously organized here
- Todoist – task management software here
- FocusList iOS / Android – productivity app that helps you get more DEEP work done
- Y Productive here
- TickTick: ToDo List Planner, Reminder & Calendar (Android / iOS)
- Hours – Time Tracking App Online here
- Toggl – Free Time Tracking Software here
- RescueTime: Fully Automated Time Tracking Software here
- Google Drive (My Absolutely Favourite!)
- Google Calendar
2. Do More By Doing Less With The Pareto Principle
Is it true that despite working really hard you’re not seeing desired results? What if you are working hard on the wrong things? Have you ever thought about that? Because in most cases it’s not a lack of productivity but lack of priorities that make someone work harder instead of smarter. Most people think that productivity is only about working hard.
Productivity is not only about time management but also about attention and effectiveness. Because if you want to accomplish more in less time you need to identify what produces the most results of all the work you do and focus on those activities. And what better way to do that if not by using the Pareto Principle? This theory, also known as the rule 80/20 developed by the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto states that 20% of your actions or the activities produce 80% of the outcomes. That means that if you manage to identify that 20% correctly you will spend more time doing the right things and as a consequence, you will see better results sooner compared to your current working approach. If you want to know how does the Pareto Principle apply to time management, John Rapton explains this perfectly in his post that you can read here.
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3. Use Task-Batching Method To Increase Your Producivity
Next time management hack I have for you today has a lot to do with entering the flow state and achieving absolute focus that is crucial if you want to manage time effectively and increase productivity and creativity. Yes, we’re talking here about batching similar tasks together. This simple act of grouping of similar tasks together such as responding to emails, making important phone calls or doing errands will not only save you a lot of time but also it will increase your efficiency immediately.
I am sure you’ve already noticed that if you switch from one task to a completely different task you lose continuity, effectiveness and flow state. If happens because after having completed one task we need to be mentally prepared to be able to begin with a completely different one.
According to a University of California Irvine study, “it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.” That’s an awfully long time. So if you want to drastically increase your efficiency, boost your productivity levels and get more things done in less time you need to start batching similar tasks together.
4. Use The Eisenhower Matrix For Task Management
Have you ever felt overly stressed and anxious because everything was so urgent and important that you weren’t able to choose what tasks you should be doing first? And how did you handle that situation? Please let me know in the comment section! Because for me prioritizing my work and deadlines seemed impossible until I discovered the Eisenhower Matrix.
Honestly, I am amazed how this simple method improved my entire life. I just wish I had discovered it sooner. If you haven’t already tried this simple but incredible effective time management strategy created by the 34th president of the United States – Dwight D. Eisenhower, I highly recommend you do that ASAP. It’s a life-changer! But how exactly this strategy works.
Well, the Eisenhower Matrix, also known as Urgent-Important Matrix is a simple decision-making tool that will help you prioritize tasks in order of urgency and importance so that you can focus on what’s really matter and use your time more effectively. This visual method of time management consists of four quadrants;
- DO – urgent and important tasks that need to be done immediately (ex. finishing a client project, paying bills)
- DECIDE – important but not urgent tasks that aren’t your top priorities but you should schedule them to ensure that progress is being made (ex. strategic planning, personal development, new opportunities)
- DELEGATE – urgent but not important tasks that need to be done but they can be done by someone else (ex. responding to some emails, meal prep)
- DELATE – not urgent and not important tasks that don’t add value to your life (time-wasters, distractions, unnecessary decisions, non-critical choices)
Below you will find a free printable copy of virtual Eisenhower Box you can print right now, fill out with a pen and hang over your desk.
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5. The Pomodoro Technique Is The Perfect Productivity Tool
According to a popular mental model called Occam’s razor “the simplest solution is most likely the right one”. This famous problem-solving principle developed by the Scholastic philosopher William of Ockham in the 13th century is still relevant today. Because correct me if I am wrong, but simple solutions are typically easier to execute and simple theories are usually easier to understand. But of course, this isn’t always the case. However the general idea is not to make simple things complicated, but to make complicated things simple.
Meanwhile, this rule applies to almost every situation, I do think that it is the most effective in the workplace. For this very reason, the Pomodoro Technique developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s is so popular in the working world. And I don’t mean only so-called typical employee but also one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. Why is that? Well, because successful people know that simplicity is the key to success. So rather than making everything much more complex than it ever needs to be they search for simple, smart and effective solutions.
Complexity creates confusion while simplicity usually generates better and faster results. So instead of looking for sophisticated time management tools, apps or methods just grab a Pomodoro kitchen timer, increase your productivity levels and start creating real results. Learn to work with the time you have—rather than against it. Plan your workday appropriately so that you may be as effective as possible. Break your daily tasks into cycles of work blocks separated by short breaks and use those breaks to reset your mindset. Trust me, these short mindset resets throughout the day will help you skyrocket your productivity.
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6. Use The Parkinson's Law To Your Advantage
Most people are afraid of tight deadlines because they think that stress and pressure to get things done in a short amount of time will make them unable to focus on their work. In fact, the opposite is true: a little bit of pressure makes people more productive and focus on their goals. Furthermore, tight but realistic deadlines force you to use your time more effectively and practice good time management skills.
While loose deadlines are not only elusive and actually they invite procrastination. Parkinson’s Law explains this perfectly. According to this principle stated by a famous British naval historian, Cyril Northcote Parkinson “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. This means that if something must be done in a month, it will be done in a month and not a moment sooner. Let’s take another example: if you give yourself a day to complete a two-hour task it will take you a whole day to accomplish this task. It happens because from the psychological point of view a particular task will increase in complexity so as to fill the entire time you have. Not to mention that if you have too much time to get the job done, there is a high probability that you will be either overcomplicating even the simplest thing or you will be procrastinating most of the time. That’s not a good use of your time.
If you want to be seriously productive and highly efficient you need to learn to estimate accurately the time needed to complete a certain project. And if you’re wondering what’s the easiest and most accurate way of estimating how long it takes to perform a task the answer is quite simple. You need to perform it several times until you find an average value. That’s exactly what you should do if you want to maximize efficiency and productivity. Don’t let loose deadlines waste your time. Instead set smart goals and give yourself strict time limits to actually achieve them. Use Parkinson’s Law to your advantage, make your productivity skyrocket and start producing spectacular results.
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7. Create A Healthy And Solid Work-Life Balance
Last but not least, if you want to get more things done in less time you need to create a solid work-life balance. Seemingly simple, it is one of the most difficult things to achieve.
Most of us are convinced to have clear boundaries between work time and personal time when in reality we check our emails and social media accounts in every five to 10 minutes. Not to mention making private phone calls or shopping online during our working hours. Oh my gosh, I used to that all the time. No wonder I was constantly running out of time desperately trying to finish my never-ending to-do list.
Everything changed when I created a solid work-life balance. To achieve that I used the 3 x 8 hours method and I applied it to my daily life. If you haven’t already heard about that, here’s how this simpler method works: you split your day into three 8 hours parts where:
- 1st part is dedicated to work
- 2nd part is dedicated to personal life
- 3rd part is dedicated to quality rest
It’s that simple! And it works. This simple method is a life-changer. But don’t just take my word, try it out and see how it works for you. And don’t forget to share your experience in the comment section! I would love to hear what you think about that! And if you want to learn more about the 3 x 8 method and how you can easily apply it to your daily life I wrote a detailed post about it that you can read here.
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Best Posts About Achieving Goals:
- Build Your Own Productivity System: 10 Proven Tips To Organize Your Life And Make Your Productivity Skyrocket. HERE
- Done Is Better Than Perfect: 10 Reasons Why You Start Before You Are Ready. HERE
- My Top 10 Tips On How To Manage It All & Still Succeed: Quarantine Edition HERE
- Maximize Your Productivity: 6-Step Method To Get More Things Done In Less Time. HERE
- Perfect Morning Routine to Reduce Stress & Anxiety HERE
- The Ultimate Guide For Setting & Reaching Your Goals HERE
- Get into the Habit of Being Seriously Organized in 2020. HERE
- Powerful and smart ways to manage your time efficiently and effectively HERE
- The ultimate way to overcome procrastination and become a highly productive person HERE
Make Every Minute Of Your Work Count!