A Guide To Productivity: Best Time Management Strategies

Despite its quantifiable nature, productivity remains an enigma to a lot of us. The ability to complete a task efficiently eludes many people not due to lack of will or determination, but because they don't have the strategies in place to effectively manage their time. Productivity is the result of consistent, hard work. It is time well invested and well spent. Thus, the better you manage your time, the better your productivity.
Productivity
Track How You Spend Your Time
How many times have you heard someone say that time is your most valuable resource? That's because it's true. Your time is invaluable. Treat it as such. To gain a better understanding of where your time goes, track how you spend it. You could use a daily planner with hourly slots to plan your tasks for each hour of the day.

"Another method for tracking your time is to create an accountability log," suggests Elizabeth Meyer, a business writer at Britstudent and PhD Kingdom. "It works similarly to a schedule, but instead of jotting down what you plan to do during that hour, you write what you accomplished." Accountability logs can be a useful tool for convincing yourself that your time matters and you're capable of accomplishing great things with it.

In addition, you can resort to paper daily planners if you're not into keeping a digital planner. Believe it or not, people still use paper daily planners in their day-to-day planning.
Prioritize Your Most Crucial Tasks
Your most important tasks should be given priority over your more mundane chores. When planning your day, ensure key tasks are placed at the top of your to-do-list. Learning how to manage your time means knowing which tasks must be done and in what order of importance. It might be helpful to create a priority coding system, such as assigning urgent tasks a code red, less important tasks a code yellow, and tasks without a deadline a code green. Instead of colours, you can assign numbers signifying levels of importance instead, such as Level 3 for most important and Level 1 for least important. Regardless of the system you which to implement, being aware of which tasks must be done sooner than the others will help you manage your time better.

"A lot of people waste their time completing less urgent tasks like organizing their inbox to avoid tackling the larger, more important ones. Don't fall for this trap," advises Daniel Hay, a journalist at 1Day2Write and Australia2write. "By the time you get to your urgent tasks, you have no mental energy left."
Be Prepared
Like other things in life, when it comes to time management, preparation is key. You can't manage your time well without a clear plan. Some people prepare by jotting down tasks for the upcoming day the night before so they can start their day knowing exactly what needs to be accomplished. Others prefer to prepare on the day of. Neither approach is necessarily superior to the other. Ultimately, it boils down to preference.

Preparing to be productive can be something as small as packing healthy snacks for yourself as opposed to sugary snacks so you can avoid a sugar crash during the workday. It can be placing your gym clothes or your gym bag somewhere visible the night before your scheduled workout. Being prepared could look like meal-prepping to save time cooking meals for the rest of the week. There are endless tiny ways to set yourself up for productivity and success.
Use Planning & Schedule Tools
Planning your schedule might not guarantee that you will follow it strictly, but it's certainly more beneficial for productivity than just winging it. There are countless tools available to help you plan your schedule and manage your time better. Apps have made it easier than ever to schedule and plan your life. Online calendars are especially useful for keeping track of upcoming project deadlines and due dates.

For those who prefer to the more traditional paper planners, consider using an online one to accompany it. Though your planner should remain easily accessible at all times, having an online version of your schedule is extremely useful for times when you're not able to check your physical one. Creatives hoping to manage their time better can try bullet journaling. In addition to being an effective planning tool, it can be therapeutic and spark inspiration.
Planning Tool
Stay As Organized As Possible
A cluttered space is often a reflection of a cluttered mind. To create an environment that is conducive to productivity, ensure your workspace is always organized. Ensure everything has a place and take care to put items back in those places to avoid the buildup of clutter. This also limits the time you spend cleaning up and decluttering later on. An organized environment can work surprising wonders on your productivity.
Eliminate Distractions
After religiously tracking how you spend your time, noting any distractions, prioritizing tasks based on importance, preparing, planning, and organizing, the final and most challenging step to managing your time well is to eliminate distractions. This may seem impossible at first, but it can be done. There are even apps designed to help you remove the distraction of social media by locking certain sites during specified times in order to maximize productivity.

Getting rid of distractions is key to entering a work state called flow, during which your productivity and creativity are significantly higher than other times. Although resisting distractions is a difficult task, the resulting increase in productivity is definitely worth it.

On the other hand, some distractions may be helpful in managing your time. Say that you're stressed out about something outside of your work. Being productive can distract you from the stresses of every day life outside of work.

Plus, let's not forget that breaks can be a reasonable distraction from work, since they allow individuals to unwind before the next wave of tasks needed to be done. By having a break every so often, you'll eliminate your chances of getting unnecessary distractions during your work.
Team having coffee break
Wrapping Up
Time management should be priority when it comes to productivity. As you follow this helpful guide in time management, you will be able to do tasks effectively, and get more done from your work.
Michael Dehoyos
Author
Michael Dehoyos is a business writer who understands the value of time as a resource and the importance of managing it well. He is an editor at Do My Coursework and Write My Assignment. You can find his writing on numerous sites and publications, such as Assignment Help.
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