Doug Dvorak's Blog

Top Five Ways to Manage Time More Efficiently

How well do you manage your time? Do you find yourself working longer and longer on tasks you used to handle with ease? If so, fear not! Improving your time management skills is as easy as these five steps:


Eliminate Distractions


This one sounds like a no-brainer but it’s perhaps even more important than you think. Research shows it takes almost 30 minutes to return to your original focus after being distracted. As a result, if you don’t eliminate distractions, you’re far more likely to never regain your focus, resulting in unproductiveness and missed deadlines.


As you drift in and out of focus, you waste precious time. To avoid this, it is recommended you first silence your phone. According to most studies, social media is today’s main distraction. All social media platforms have timers and other reminders to encourage time away from mindless scrolling. Setting them up requires discipline on your part but it is important you use them.


Look into downloading and using tools like FocusMe that allow you to adjust what websites and apps you are allowed to access but with restrictions you place for yourself. You can’t change your day’s limitations once you’ve set them, which forces you to remain productive throughout the day.


Give Up Perfectionism


Actress Marilu Henner once said, “Don’t let perfection be an excuse for never getting started.” Taking pride in your work shows passion but being overly meticulous can hurt you in the long run. Nothing slows down a task like a crippling fear of making a mistake. To overcome this, remind yourself that no one and nothing is perfect. To grow in your field, you must understand that mistakes are nothing more than learning experiences.


Try the Pomodoro Technique


Since the late 1980s, millions have used the Pomodoro Technique to practice productivity in their daily tasks. It involves doing four 25-minute work sessions with small breaks after each one. In the fourth session, you can give yourself up to a 30-minute break. Then, you repeat the cycle, beginning with a 5-minute break. These work sprints have been proven to improve productivity for those that commit to them. Consistently working in timed bursts with slight breaks relieves feelings of restlessness after spending hours on a task. It’s okay to give your mind a break, but moderation is vital.


Organize Your Time


The best thing you can do is make a To-Do list and stick to it throughout the day. MIT’s (Most Important Tasks) should be prioritized so your remaining tasks will be easier to complete as the day draws to a close. To avoid spending any extra time not focusing on your work, you may find it beneficial to prepare your To-Do list at the end of the day so you know exactly what to do when you arrive at your desk the next morning.


Work In an Environment That Suits You Best


Work preferences vary from person to person. Music is preferred by some while others require peace and quiet to focus. Keeping your workstation clutter-free will help you concentrate on the task at hand. If possible, try opening a window or even seeing if working outside your office is an option. Making your work environment as comfortable as possible will help boost your motivation to perform efficiently.


Boosting productivity takes patience but over time, if you practice these steps, you will be able to complete tasks sooner and have more free time. Regardless of what works for you, stick with it, and watch your time management skills improve.


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