How To Manage Time Effectively – 15 Tactics That Work

how to manage time effectively

How do you manage time effectively? There just never seems to be enough time in the day, does there? Sometimes we just rush around all day long and still only get about a fraction of our pendings tasks done.

How do you fix that? How is it that some people can work half the hours we do while getting twice as much done?

Here are 15 effective tactics the ultra productive people use to get more done in less time.

 

1. Write Down The Day’s Goals

“If you have a goal, write it down. If you do not write it down, you do not have a goal; you have a wish.”

– Steve Maraboli

When you write down your goals, you naturally take them more seriously. You don’t forget what needs to be done that day because you have it right there in front of you.

This also prevents you from becoming scatter-brained when it comes to what needs to get done.

When you don’t have a clear idea of what to work on, you waste time on small things as well as trying to think of what you should be doing.

All you have to do is follow the list, checking tasks off one by one as you knock them out.

 

2. Prioritize By Importance

It’s not just about writing tasks down and checking them off one at a time as you finish them, it’s also important to prioritize what to do first.

We only have so much brain power to use during the day before we start to slow down. You need ask yourself if you could only do one task to move you closer to your most important goals, what would it be.

Brian Tracy teaches us in his book, Eat That Frog, to prioritize tasks by writing them down and putting A, B, C or D next to them. A equals the most important task and D is least important.

Spend a few minutes each morning writing down each task that must be done that day and ranking them in terms of importance before knocking them out one by one. This will save you time and help be more productive.

 

3. Focus On 1-2 Big Tasks Per Day (80/20 rule)

20% of your tasks will typically account for 80% of your results. When it comes to managing time effectively, you need to understand that you are human and can’t just work all day and night.

You can only do so much. This is why the most successful people in the world find which tasks account for their biggest results. Then, they focus on those each day and outsource or automate the rest.

This will save you time, ease your stress and make you more productive. Just do the big things, don’t worry about the small stuff, so much.

 

4. Eliminate All Distractions

To get tasks done fast, you need to be 100% focused on what you are doing. If you keep getting distracted, the quality of your work will suffer and you will take much longer to get things done.

Eliminate your smartphone, tablets, and other things that might distract you. Try to work in a separate room without a TV with a door you can shut to keep others from disturbing you.

You need your full focus if you want to get quality work done in as little time as possible.

 

5. Get Most Important Task Done Before 11 AM

Tim Ferriss, author of The 4 Hour Workweek, says we should get our most important task done before 11:00 AM each day. This is just a productive habit that will always pay off.

There will always be those days where things come up like your kid getting sick at school, you need to have lunch with a potential partner for a business venture, etc.

Get your important task done before lunch, so you won’t have to worry about wasting time as much if something comes up later.

 

Related: Focus On Being More Productive Instead Of Busy

 

6. Learn To Say “No”

There will always be people who don’t respect your time. There will will always be too many tasks that need to get done each day. You have to learn to say “no” pretty often to be more productive.

Don’t go out to lunch with people unless your important work is done. Don’t stress over small tasks that can easily be one by others. Stay focused and respect your time.

 

7. Divide Big Tasks Into Phases

“A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.”

– Greg S. Reid

Sometimes when you take on your most important tasks at the first of the day, you might get overwhelmed. If you have a big task, it can be hard to know where to start and what process to use to get it done.

The best strategy for knocking out those big tasks is to divide them up into small phases or steps. In fact, everything in life is pretty simple if you just break it down this way:

  • First, make a goal. What do you want or need to accomplish?
  • Second, divide that goal into a plan with steps or daily activities that will help you reach that goal.
  • Third, divide big daily tasks into smaller steps to follow one by one until completion.
  • Last, execute.

This will save you time, make you work more efficiently, help you stay focused and allow you to achieve more goals.

 

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8. Organize Your Work Environment Before Calling It A Day

One great way to save yourself some time is to actually know where everything is before you go to work the next day. If you get to work and you have to search through files, papers, etc., to find something, you’re wasting time.

Keep things organized and ready for you to get a quick start the next morning.

 

9. Eat, Sleep And Exercise

If you get sick, you’re going to lose valuable time just trying to get better. If you sleep 2 hours a night, you’re going to waste time by falling asleep during work hours.

If you eat a bunch of junk food at lunch and try to go back to work, you won’t feel like getting much done. You’ll either keep nodding off to sleep or spending too much time in the restroom.

When you optimize your health, you optimize your performance. Keep that in mind if you want your days to be productive.

Do these things:

  • Workout at least 3 days a week
  • Get a standing desk or do whatever you can to keep from sitting for long stretches at a time
  • If you’re full, don’t eat
  • Sleep at least 7-8 hours a night or at least enough to make you feel rested for a whole day
  • Eat lots of lean protein, vegetables, nuts, fruit, and drink a lot of water

 

10. Automate And Outsource Minor Tasks

If don’t have to do it specifically yourself, don’t if possible. Get software, freelancers or employees to do tedious or minor tasks for you.

Does Richard Branson do every single task that Virgin Inc. needs done himself? Of course not. He has thousands of employees. All he does is make the big decisions that really matter the most.

Do this if you can and you will get a lot more done in less time.

 

11. Use Time Limits On Tasks

Sometimes you just have to stop and move on to the next task. If you’re stuck on a certain part of your task and can’t seem to break through, take a break from it and move on to the next one.

You can’t afford to just halt all production for a whole day because you’re stuck on something. Try putting time limits on how long it should take you to accomplish each task.

Use a stopwatch or whatever you need to make it happen.

 

12. Write Down What You Did At The End Of The Day

Time really flies sometimes, doesn’t it? In fact, a whole day can easily go by without anything really getting accomplished. To prevent this, write down what you did each day after work.

Give yourself a complete breakdown of how your hours were spent. Then, review everything and see if you need improvement. To manage time effectively, you must first know how you are consistently spending it.

If you don’t define your problems, how can you solve them?

 

Related: How To Manage Money More Effectively In 2016

 

13. Try To Make Fewer Choices Before Work

“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suites. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.”

– President Obama

One of the most productive things you can do during the day is preserve your brain in the morning.

This is why high-level leaders like President Obama or Mark Zuckerberg tend to wear the same couple of outfits everyday, have a chef to make their food decisions, etc.

Believe it or not, there is actually something called decision fatigue that affects us as we go through the day.

The more you decide on your wardrobe, breakfast, what weights to lift at the gym, what emails to respond to, etc. in the morning, the harder it is to make more critical decisions later.

Try to simplify your wardrobe, have your food premade and plan out your day the night before to avoid an overload of meaningless choices every morning.

You only have so much decision juice everyday, make it last and use it wisely like the president would.

 

14.  Make Work More Enjoyable

What is the best way to ensure that you finish tasks and put in the extra hours? It’s to love what you are doing.

If you hate your work, you will do nothing all day but find excuses to do other things. Your motivation will not be where it needs to be for you to be productive.

Whereas, if you love what you do and truly have a passion for it, you will never have trouble following through on your important tasks.

If you hate what you do for a living, take as step back. Think about what you constantly read about on the internet or what hobbies you tend to spend your free time on. Think about what you areas you have natural gifts in.

Those are the types of industries you should be working in. Love what you do and work will never feel like work. You’ll end up wasting less time distracting yourself from work and spending more time getting things done.

 

15. Work Using The Ultradian Rhythm

how to manage time effectively

The Ultradian Rhythm is just a method of working that allows for a 20 minute break after every 90 minutes of work. Doing this keeps your brain fresh and in a peak state.

If you don’t take periodic breaks, your brain will start getting fatigued and you’ll just be burnt out. Get higher quality work done by giving yourself a quick rest every 90 minutes.

 

Conclusion

If you really want to manage time effectively, you have to have a plan for doing it. It’s always good to model after the successful people of the world that already have this down as well.

If you follow these 15 strategies, you progressively get better and better at getting work done efficiently until you eventually turn yourself into a production machine.

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I’m an entrepreneur, fitness freak, artist, car enthusiast, sports fan and self improvement addict. My goal is to help people be their best and create incredible businesses that change the world.
About The Author

Justin Bryant

I'm an entrepreneur, fitness freak, artist, car enthusiast, sports fan and self improvement addict. My goal is to help people be their best and create incredible businesses that change the world.

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