Today’s post comes courtesy of Robert Cordray, a motivation and time management expert
It’s an age-old dilemma, how to plan and manage the time you have during the day. Managing your day requires a few important key points to remember. To be the most productive and effective in whatever you do the right environment must be in place, top priorities set, and realistic and attainable goals created and realized. There have been hundreds of books, software, and apps created to help people effectively manage their time. [Editor's note: Check out our article on 6 tips for better time management]
This article will focus on tips to help people start managing a typical day better. Most of us work so I will approach the subject material with that in mind. Tips on setting up a to-do list that can be both realistic and accomplished. Pushing away distractions to create more efficient work times to be the most productive person you can be each day.
Prioritizing Your To-Do List
We all have more to do than time in the day allows us. No matter how hard you try you always seem to have things on your to do list left over at the end of the day. By prioritizing, we can fundamentally change how productive we are by getting the most important tasks done first.
Start by making a list of every single thing you must do for each day. Include items which are important and also typical everyday things. Once the list is complete start to place the tasks in categories.
You can list the first category as a Category 1. These are things which cannot be procrastinated and must be accomplished without delay. Next make categories 2 through 3. Category 2 are things which have some mild consequences if left unaccomplished. Category 3 are items which can be completely ignored and you’re still fine.
Once you’ve got your categories set and the items appropriately filed in each category, you can then reorder the items within the category so the most crucial ones are on top. This will give you a good starting block to jump in headfirst and make things happen.
The important thing to remember is once the list has been made you must use it to be effective. Too many people make lists and then completely set them aside losing out on all the positive benefits that they bring. If you take the time to create a list at least use it. Trust me, it will make you more effective.
Eliminate Distractions While Working (Aka the 99% Productivity Booster)
I recently read an article of a San Francisco man who hired someone to literally slap him in the face when he started getting distracted while at work. Any time he logged in to Facebook or YouTube he got a hard slap to the face. If this cant keep you on task I don’t think anything will.
He claims that this increased his productivity by 99%! He paid the person eight dollars an hour, and they could work from their laptop at the same time. Its a pretty sweet gig if you ask me. Sit in a café all day and occasionally slap the guy next to you for looking at Facebook. This extreme example demonstrates how removing distractions can increase our productivity.
For me personally, I’ve tried to eliminate distractions by giving myself rewards for good behavior. I try to work like I studied in school. I’ll work for 55 minutes and then give myself a short five minute break. During my break I reward myself by checking Facebook, Twitter, or even dive into some meaningless distracting games like Words that I’m playing on my phone. I’m not a believer that completely abandoning all your distractions is the most effective solution. You’ve got to fit your distractions in when appropriate. Kinda like that old song, working for the weekend, I work for my rewards.
This works for me because I’m self-employed and it takes a lot of self-discipline and initiative to get my work done. Distractions come easily when working from home so my sweet little reward system has become a cherished few minutes of each hour, and best of all my productivity has skyrocketed. Give it a shot, work / reward — work / reward, and see if it can work for you.
These techniques require some thought and analysis to establish the most important and personalized pieces you’ll need. By creating effective lists of the most important things that need to be accomplished in the day, and eliminating the distractions hindering you from achieving them you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.
About the Author
Robert Cordray has seen his fair share of mismanaged time in the workplace with over 20 years of experience in the business realm. It is possible to manage time effectively, and allocate your time how you want. If he’s not writing articles motivating articles for noomii.com, he’s spending time with his beautiful wife and three kids, probably on the beach.