Regardless of your profession or location, you stand to benefit greatly from proper time management. Most people don’t realize just how much time they waste daily. Rather than fall victim to all-too-common time wasting habits, why not prepare and form productive habits?
Sleep is vital for everyone; to refresh and recharge. Sleep is so important that major companies are promoting “nap times” for their employees. As such, all professionals can benefit from setting aside time to unwind at the end of each day. Rather than trying to abruptly go straight to sleep after completing a long list of assignments.
Individuals should establish a cut-off time for their work in their daily schedule. In this way, they learn to plan their day accordingly, and foment a healthy sleep schedule. In turn, this will lead to a boost in energy for the days ahead. After all, a healthy sleep schedule leads to a clear mind and a healthy body.
Another challenge for working professionals is avoiding distractions. With social media at our fingertips, family and friends can easily become distracting. When working on a project, it’s good to set aside pockets of time for deep focus.
During these periods, it’s important to get used to setting all distractions aside. By disconnecting from social media and finding a place of solitude, professionals can accomplish significantly more tasks in less time.
Schedules should aim to utilize the body’s natural highs and lows by planning for smaller bursts of work with short breaks in-between. Longer sessions of intense work often lead to fatigue. For this reason, it is essential to often take breaks.
As soon as you feel your energy levels begin to wane, it may be time for a break. Be aware of your body’s natural queues. Hunger, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating are all indicators that it may be time for a break. Here are a few strategies to make the most of this time:
- Step away. Look away from that project, change environments, and think of something else. By disconnecting, the mind can rest and recharge. These small “social breaks” or “mobile breaks” can be planned directly into your schedule.
- Go outdoors. Get some fresh air and natural sunlight. These two are natural energy boosters that can increase your overall productivity.
- Rest your eyes. Staring at a screen for long periods of time can cause eyestrain, headaches, and even lead to long-term vision problems. When working on a laptop or computer for longer stretches, it’s important to rest your eyes every 20-30 minutes.
- Eat healthy and drink plenty of water. Avoid excess carbohydrates throughout the day, especially when working on long projects. Foods that are rich in carbs tend to make people feel tired and can cause them to lose focus.
Studies show that focusing on one task at a time leads to higher productivity. Likewise, working on numerous tasks, or multi-tasking, can lead to a slower workflow. Admittedly, if you are used to multi-tasking, it can be difficult to focus on just one task. This is only at first, however. The mind will naturally learn to expect these periods of intense focus. Try to:
- Remove distractions (ie; your phone)
- Use a timer to keep track of how long each task takes
These time management strategies help develop healthy and effective habits and routines. It’s all about working around the time you have available, and striving for evermore productive mornings, afternoons, and evenings.
In essence, we can condition ourselves for success by breaking our goals into “baby-steps.” These smaller, easier to achieve, tasks instigate a sense of fulfillment in the person. What’s most important for long-term success, however, is not accomplishing the smaller tasks themselves but in the repetition. Constant, daily actions towards self-improvement lead to massive results.
Every person has a different schedule and different times when they work best. The key is in developing a personalized schedule around these times and establishing healthy routines to reach long-term goals. Remember to put your health, both mental and physical first by following these easy suggestions for better time management.
For 5 additional time management tips, stay tuned for Part 2 of this article. Learn about scheduling, defining priorities, and other great actions that can be taken right now to improve efficiency throughout the day.