If you have been keeping up with my blog posts over the last week or so, you can probably see a theme.
Our life keeps getting busier, so it is becoming increasingly important to better manage my time.
I reached out to Google and ChatGPT looking for tips on how to be more efficient with my time. Based on this research, here are the 5 best tips I am now doing more of and wanted to share with you (just in case you need a little extra help as well):
One. Prioritize Tasks Daily
This seems like an obvious one, but it's actually a lot more in depth than it appears.
It is not good enough to just say, "For 2 hours I am going to focus on work stuff, then I am going to go work out for an hour."
Time blocking is a good technique, but this alone will not lead to total efficiency. To be more efficient, you must have a distinct list of tasks to perform during that two-hour work period. Then, when you start working, work on one distinct thing at a time and start checking things off.
If you are a visual person, actually getting to mark something out with a pen or marker feels great.
Two. Set Specific Goals
The key part here is to make sure your goals are measurable in the short term. Broad goals are great, but shorter, measurable goals will keep you on track.
An acronym I found online is to set "SMART" goals. Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant (to your long-term goals), and time-bound.
Do not be stuck on the word "achievable" when writing out your specific goals. In my mind, achievable comes down to whether you believe it is possible to accomplish or not.
If you are able to set a clear and measurable goal, you may be surprised at how achievable things will seem.
Three. Use Time Blocking
Just as I mentioned above, time blocking is an effective way to get legitimate work done. This requires you to be extremely disciplined and be able to stick to the task at hand.
Time blocking seems to work best if you plan stuff out weekly instead of daily. Having a weekly schedule that you set will also keep those around you on the same page as well.
If you spend every morning from 7 to 8 a.m. running, it will be less likely that a friend or family member will ask you to do something during that time.
Being passionate about something that betters yourself is an attractive quality, and others will usually not want to get in the way of that (besides the unavoidable haters).
Four. Limit Distractions
Hopefully, by now you can see how most of these tips work hand-in-hand. If you are able to properly utilize time blocking and prioritizing your tasks, limiting your distractions during those time blocks is crucial.
It will not do you any good if you have a clear plan and a list of priorities, but you are constantly being distracted during your designated time blocks.
The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss has some great tips for limiting distractions during these designated time blocks.
Some tips include not checking your phone or email during your time blocks. Also, if you are in an office setting and cannot work from home, try letting others know that you are not to be disturbed during certain hours of the day.
Every situation is different. Start trying to find ways to limit distractions while you are trying to accomplish your goals during your designated time blocks.
Five. Take Regular Breaks
This does not only mean during the day, but also weekly and monthly breaks.
As much as we try to be machine-like, we are not robots. Many of us would love to work 16 hours a day, sleep, then do it all again. But, this is not a formula that will work in the long term.
Such a schedule hurts your physical and mental health and your relationships. An old way of thinking is just to put your head down and get to work. Then, if it takes 16-hour working days for a year straight, then that's what you do.
I find myself being a little old school and new school when it comes to this way of thinking. I am an advocate that you need to get used to putting your head down and doing the hard work.
BUT, you need to do it in the most efficient way possible. Combining both methods will tremendously cut down on the number of hours you are forced to work a day (unfortunately, this is not true for every profession).
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