Doug Dvorak's Blog

Top 5 Ways to Manage Your Time More Efficiently

While most people want to manage their time more effectively, learning to manage your busy day-to-day life is no easy task.


With more distractions in our daily lives than ever before, it is more difficult than it has ever been to stay on task and get things done. However, if you utilize these five tried and true methods, you will be able to tune out the distractions and be more productive in your business and personal lives:


  1. Use a day planner


In the good old days, day planners took up an entire section of just about every office supply store you walked into. Today, while day planners are no less important, all those tools have moved on to our phones and computers meaning they are a little more “out of sight, out of mind” than they used to be. Use the tools at your disposal to make a list of everything you need to achieve ever day. Whether that be in Notes on your phone or your email calendar, making a list will help you be more aware of upcoming tasks and deadlines. Then, crossing off what you have accomplished will help you keep track of what you have left to do.


  1. Set reminders


Once you have identified your favorite tool or system for planning out your days, weeks, months or even years, use your phone or computed to set reminders. That chime or pop-up will help you remember what you had committed to completing that day. If you’re using reminders for things like meetings or zoom calls, make sure the reminder is set to give you enough time to prepare adequately.


  1. Limit time on each task


A great way to stay focused on tasks is to set a time limit for how long you think it will take you to complete each one. If you do not end up finishing a task in the time you originally allotted for it, take a break, and evaluate whether it is worth the extra time considering everything else you have to do that day. Oftentimes, you’ll realize it’s not as urgent and important as the other items on your list and you’ll move onto to something else. Later, when you come back to the original task, you’ll be in a less stressed frame of mind, and you’ll be able to knock it out in no time.


  1. Learn to say “No”


While we all like to please the people we work for, sometimes you just need to say “no.” For example, your boss tells you he wants to reward you for all your hard work by promoting you to a new role, but you don’t have much experience in that area. Accepting that promotion can have disastrous results if you turn out to be a poor fit for the position and the boss forgets why he gave it to you in the first place. Do not take on any roles or tasks that you are not prepared to handle but be diplomatic when you say “no.” Give your boss a good reason and they will usually respect you for it. You should also say no in situations where you already have enough on your plate. Saying yes may make the boss happy in the short-term but that will soon be forgotten when you start missing deadlines or doing shoddy work.


  1. Tune out distractions


Possibly the most important of these five tips, learning how to tune out distractions to focus on what you need to accomplish is a hugely important skill. You must become proficient at managing your time when it comes to social media, emails, phone messages, co-workers, friends and even family. The key to managing these distractions is being proactive in allotting time to engage in them. Shut your office door when you need peace and quiet. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb. Log out of your email or turn off the pop-up feature. Identifying what distracts you the most and having a plan to reduce their impact is critical when it comes to having a productive day.


One final thought: Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and drinking enough water. Being well rested and hydrated will help you stay motivated and on task as you tackle each and every day like a champion!


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