Article by Loreena Walsh
So you don’t have enough time? Can’t get everything done? Struggling with over-committing yourself with work, family and study; and stuck in a never ending cycle of unfinished tasks? The great news is that you can take control of your time management and enjoy an efficient and successful year ahead, simply by implementing some easy time management strategies and life-hacks.
Breaking news; while you think multi-tasking is helping you get more done; it is actually slowing you down and making you less efficient. TIME reported that multitasking on more than two tasks lowers effectiveness and performance as compared to completing tasks while focusing just on that task.
Break Down Large Tasks
No-one likes the overwhelming feeling of a large task towering over them. It can feel impossible to achieve, and steal your focus and motivation, leading to procrastination and decreased productivity. Instead of attacking a large task in an unstructured way that leads to frustration and disorganisation, take some time to split the task up into smaller chunks that give you a sense of achievement when each is complete, and ultimately an effective path to achieving your large tasks effectively.
Set Yourself Blocks of Time
Blocking time to achieve results is highly effective. Why? Because almost everyone works better to a deadline with a set time limit, and small time-blocks that are dedicated to a single task, reduce the temptation to multi-task instead leaving you focused until the timer sounds and giving you permission to take a break and do something else. To do this: Before you sit down to your task, be sure everything is in place ready to go and all distractions are removed. Set yourself a timer for 20 minutes, and focus on nothing but the task at hand for those 20 minutes. After the timer sounds, feel free to take a short or long break or if you’re in the groove, commit to another undistracted 20 minutes.
It goes without saying, that the most important tasks should be tackled first. There’s nothing worse than completing a myriad of tasks only to find the most important ones have been left until last and deadlines are at risk of being broken. The problem of course, is that sometimes the most important tasks are the ones we’d rather delay until later. When we delay things that are urgent we’re simply delaying the inevitable and putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves, leading to frustration and procrastination. While it won’t always feel good doing tasks we don’t like, it will feel great to get important tasks out of the way.
Be Aware of Time-Sucks
Getting distracted is a sure way to destroy your time management. How often have you turned on the computer with the intention of doing work or study, only to check your emails or social media and find that hours have slipped away without achieving a thing? When you have tasks to do, then eliminate possible distractions, close your email, social media, turn your mobile phone off or to silent if you need to and don’t look at anything other than your task until you’ve achieved your goal.
Take a Break
Reward yourself for achieving your task by taking some time out to relax your mind. Go for coffee, go for a walk for a little exercise and fresh air, or call a friend. Giving your brain some down-time will help you stay more focused and productive when you need to be.