7 Habits for Time Management Success

Too much to do and not enough time. That’s the mentality of millions of us no matter how much is sounds like a cliché. Managing time is easier with rules as we’ve all learned. Some rules make sense, others are a struggle to follow, and breaking a few is like sneaking candy when you’re on a diet. Once in a while won’t hurt, but too often will set you back.

Reading information from dozens of sources, here is a proven list of tips and tricks used by millions of people for 260 years:

To-Do Lists Are Both Angels and Devils. A task itinerary is a simple and useful tracking system. You know what you gotta do, it’s a prioritized list, and each task gets crossed off when done giving you a feeling of accomplishment. Make the to-dos manageable by breaking bigger projects into smaller steps. Setting deadlines and end dates is important. Otherwise, the task won’t be perceived as a priority and loses its importance. That was the angel side of a to-do list.

On the devil’s side: Lists can cause angst by creating a sense that everything MUST be completed by the end of the day or else. The list doesn’t allow any flexibility to routine work or unexpected but necessary interruptions. A to-do list can be written to avoid complex tasks by loading it with things that are easier to complete or seem more urgent.

Blocking time on your calendar for each task is an alternative to a list. This focuses you on a single task instead. Be sure to give yourself the proper amount of time to complete it.

The last thing you should do every day is prep for the next day. Carry over whatever task wasn’t completed no matter which tracking system you use.

Find Your Groove Time. Each of us has three or four hours a day when our energy is unstoppable. We’re a focused, determined dynamo! Leverage this to take on your daily major accomplishment, a big project, or whatever you think deserves this level of energy.

Achieve One Major Accomplishment Each Day. What’s that one thing that needs doing that would change your future? Not talking about routine work because there’s always something that needs doing at home, at work, or for school. Completing a major accomplishment would be like going up the stairs two steps at a time. Please don’t confuse ‘major’ with ‘big’ or ‘complex’. It can be as simple as making two sales appointments, reading ahead two chapters for a class, or reorganizing one kitchen cabinet.

Keep Thoughts on Today and The Future. You can’t change the past; you can only learn from it. Brooding about yesterday wastes energy and time and creates a bad attitude. Good things happen when you move forward. Make sure your thoughts are on today to make the future as awesome as possible.

Multitasking Makes for Failure. This is a difficult habit to break, speaking from personal experience. Our brains take several seconds to adjust to new stimuli. That’s the reason people forget why they walked into a room. Our brain shifts to process a new environment for threats. While not a menace, shifting between projects causes a shift to acclimate to the new data.

Stop the distracting ‘ding’ of emails, voice mails, and other tech. Change your point of view by looking at those items as a grouped task. Schedule specific times throughout the day to answer emails, return calls, and check other apps. Direct messages are not on this list because it’s the virtual version of somebody standing in your doorway. It’s a better practice to see what they want.

Handling a random thought or idea is easy: save it for later! I’ve used notepads, Word documents, or a voice recorder app to make sure my brilliant notions are noted while remaining focused on the task at hand.

Delegate. Not everybody has the ability to delegate tasks but consider doing that when possible. Concentrate on the project that are equal to your talent and expertise.

Take Regular Breaks. Respect yourself. A healthy you is more important than any task. A break will benefit your mind, body, and spirit. You’ll actually get more done after a short break.

Finishing a project is the best time to step away for a while. Make it a long break as a reward to give yourself that sense of closure. You’ll have renewed energy and a clear mind.

Use this list as a foundation to develop your own routine. Get organized and just get started! Get your momentum going and keep it going. Be proud of your accomplishments no matter how big or small.

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