Time is our most valuable, non-renewable resource so mastering effective management of this resource is paramount to consistent productivity and progress. The implementation of these twelve tips, though useful in any productive scenario, are fundamental for those of us who are self-managed.
Plan time to plan :
Start each week and, furthermore, each day with 10-15 minutes of planning. Mapping out your goals and deadlines before you start your week and your day helps organize and clarify your usage of time. Itemizing, strategizing and prioritizing to-dos, events, goals and deadlines sets an efficient and clear path for each day.
Establish a routine:
Consistency is key to progress. Our minds naturally gravitate towards habits so our daily routines are the best way to practice and integrate productive repetition to a point where the activity becomes completely natural.
Gather everything you will need for the day:
Before you get started, gather all of your resources for the day. It is too easy to get off track simply by having to interrupt your concentration and productivity for getting something trivial like pencil or a notebook.
Break it down:
Breaking a big picture down into smaller, individual paint strokes organizes each task into manageable paint strokes that ultimately build up into one large goal. After setting a deadline for a big task, divide it into sub-tasks with their own individual deadlines, each due date acting as a check point on a marathon to the encompassing finish line. Breaking down large tasks not only makes the overall goal more manageable, but you are also able to detect your progress in a more tangible, measurable and rewarding way.
Identify the top 3:
Prioritize the top three most important tasks, (generally those with approaching deadlines or fundamental elements for a larger project), for the day and start with those first. This method ensures that you are effectively accomplishing the most urgent items as efficiently as possible. You can then complete the less pressing, leftover tasks without the crucial project looming over your head all day.
When creating your schedule, identify how much time it would take for each item to be accomplished. Predict and then allow a specific amount of time for each task to be completed. Try to pace yourself according to the timer and move onto the next task once time is up.
Block timing of each to-do into a cohesive schedule:
If certain tasks are related in train of thought or even physical location, make sure your day is organized in a way that allows the most efficient transition, mental or physical, from point A to point B. Your tasks are more efficiently accomplished in a fluid motion. You would not want to aimlessly lose time because you are figuratively or literally wandering back and forth between tasks.
Set aside time to get distracted:
Changing your scenery or allowing your mind to wander spares you from the inevitable fatigue that comes from steadfast productivity. Permitting yourself an opportunity to get off task can help you to decompress and even be inspired. A refreshed mind is much more receptive to creativity and productivity than one that is exhausted, bored and/or strained. But make sure that your distractions have a time limit so that you don’t end up completely detached from your work.
Align your calendars so that you can transport your goals. With all the clouds, apps, and sharing methods today, our work can very easily mold and transport to our different errands and locations.
When multitasking, work on related tasks together and keep your to-do list in eyesight so that you can make sure you are not forgetting or skipping over anything.
Know what works best for you:
Identify your most productive times of day according to your personal lifestyle and your project at hand. For example, I know that I am sorely unproductive right around 2 pm. Like clockwork, at 1:45, I can feel my brain waves seemingly slow to a lull. This is usually the time of day I need a refuel, whether it’s a cup of coffee or a power nap. I also know that, for creative tasks, I am more productive at night and, for more administrative tasks, I have better success in the morning. Thus, I organize my schedule in accordance with these inherent personal trends.
End each day and week with a review of accomplishments so that you can map out tomorrow’s to-dos.
Photo via Instagram : @ardaisy_
Lauren is based in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to writing here on Pursuit of Daydreams, Lauren’s daydreams consist of all forms of design: Graphic, Fashion, Web, Interior, Art. On any given day, she can be found preoccupied with at least one of the above. She is happiest with a bowl of ice cream in hand.
Also published on Medium.