Time management is one of the most important skills you can learn as a human being. Just like money and energy, time is a precious resource that must be managed properly. Unfortunately, with plenty of distractions in today's technology-driven world, it's easy to waste time procrastinating away.
Take note that, just like money, time is a finite resource that will eventually run out. But unlike money, time isn't renewable. If you made a bad purchase with money, you can earn that money back with a little work. In most cases, you could even get a full refund. But if you invest time doing the wrong things, you can never reclaim those lost hours.
However, taking full control of your time is easier said than done. As simple as it may sound, managing how you spend every hour is nigh impossible without implementing a deliberate approach. And if you want to make lasting changes in your lifestyle, the best way is to introduce one habit at a time and see how where they take you.
Without further ado, below are seven time management habits that everyone needs in their life:
1. Start at the end
Every morning, visualise a long-term goal as well as all the milestones you need to help you get there. It can be related to your career, relationships, health, business, or any other aspect of your life that you find valuable. The purpose of this is to help you channel your focus and possibly identify short-term objectives you can accomplish that very day.
2. Prioritise - don't multitask
Here's a quick fact - you can only achieve your peak productivity if you focus on one mentally intensive activity at a time. According to studies, multitasking causes a divide in the brain's prefrontal cortex. This makes individual tasks more stressful and more time-consuming than they really are. So instead of juggling multiple activities at once, finish the most urgent task first before moving on to the next.
3. Take a 30-minute break after 90 minutes of work
According to the "basic rest-activity cycle" by researcher Nathan Kleitman, the human body can only sustain maximum productivity in short, 90-minute bursts. To make full use of your energy and focus, try taking a break for 20 to 30 minutes between 90 minutes of intensive work.
4. Set plenty of reminders
When specifying short-term objectives, be it for the week or the entire month, it's easy to get too preoccupied with your urgent daily tasks. To recapture your focus, set timely reminders on your smartphone, wearable tech, computer, or any other personal device. You can also use simple post-it notes, but these aren't as conspicuous as digital reminders that popup on a gadget.
Apart from your time, organisation should be applied to everything else in your daily life. This includes your emails, contacts, work files, and personal belongings. A good practice is to make sure everything on your desk is significant for your tasks on that specific day. For everything else, make sure they are out of sight or neatly stacked in a paper tray or folder.
6. Use apps
Today, there are plenty of free apps you can use to manage your time and stay ahead of your tasks. Trello, for example, makes use of an appealing visual interface so you can effortlessly organize your workload. A flexible note-taking app like Evernote also works in collecting your thoughts and staying focused on what you need to do.
7. Make time for rewards
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is the key to staying motivated after prolonged periods of productivity. The best way to do this is to reward yourself whenever you accomplish something significant. For example, after completing all of your tasks for the day, why not spend the evening in your favorite night spot with your favorite people?
Of course, rewards come in different shapes and sizes. If you think about it, taking 30-minute breaks after 90 minutes of hard work is a way of rewarding yourself as it recharges your willpower and motivation. Just try to associate something tangible with the activity to make it more memorable and rewarding.
So you've spent a few minutes reading this entire article - the next step is to make those minutes count. Feel free to bookmark this post as you sort out your plans for next week, month, or year. You can also check out this post for tips on how to accomplish your goals this 2017.