This is The Time Diet’s 100th Post! Usually, I try to keep my time management blogs brief. However, this momentous occasion deserves a celebration! Presenting my list of 100 practical time management tips. Read them, skim them, or forward them to a friend. Even if you only pick five and apply them to your work day tomorrow, you’ll notice a gain in your productivity. Enjoy!
100 Time Management Tips
1. Set your own deadlines earlier than the “real” ones
2. Close your email for an hour
3. Get up earlier
4. Start a difficult task today
5. Keep a list for daily tasks and consult it frequently
6. Lower your stress
7. Write down your goals and post them prominently
8. Keep a calendar
9. Set a start date for a dreaded task
10. Talk to a trusted friend or co-worker to gain another time management perspective
11. Schedule a Dessert into your day
13. Remove a Time Killer
14. Break up a larger task into smaller chunks
15. Change your scenery by doing work in a different place
16. Delegate something you’ve been holding on to unnecessarily
17. Finish a small Vegetable task you’ve been putting off
18. Start something non-urgent to get ahead
19. Time how long a dreaded task takes
20. Talk to someone you admire
21. Learn how to use new and efficient technology that will make work easier
22. Visualize completion to stay motivated
23. Ditch your excuses
24. “Unplug” for an hour and do your work away from your computer for a change
25. Spend time rather than “filling” it
26. If it takes less than 5 minutes, do it now
27. Stop worrying and start doing
28. Ask for help
29. Don’t confuse busy with productive
30. Use social media as a tool not a distraction
31. Define your home workspace
32. Ignore your cell phone once in a while
33. Match your most difficult task with the time of day your energy level is highest
34. Don’t reinvent the wheel, seek resources from others
35. Re-evaluate your tasks. Are your processes working? Or is there a faster way.
36. Make time to say “thank you” frequently
37. Return that email you’ve been avoiding.
38. Don’t waste your time with things that don’t produce results
39. Don’t go into meetings assuming they will waste your time. Look for the benefits.
40. Give tasks your full effort. Anything less is a waste of your time
41. Anticipate your busy times and prepare for them
42. Keep a Slow Day List
43. Pick your most important Meat, Vegetable, and Dessert for the day and schedule those tasks first.
44. No task will ever be “perfect.” At some point, it just has to be done
45. If a time management application doesn’t work for you, ditch it.
46. Practice good Time Management Karma
47. If you have the money to pay someone else to do a task that will free up your time for more important things, do it.
48. Clear your workspace
49. Take care of small problems before they become big problems
50. Don’t strive to be the last car in the parking lot
51. Stay positive. Attitude truly is everything
52. Fun Desserts only count if you’re not thinking about work
53. Maintaining relationships takes time. Make the time. They are important.
54. Make sure “time-savers” actually save you time.
55. If an idea isn’t coming to you, stop and do something else.
56. If working from home is distracting, go somewhere else!
57. If you don’t want to be available 24/7, don’t answer email at 2am. You train people what to expect from you.
58. Celebrate your accomplishments
59. Set a designated time for people to “interrupt” you. Then they’ll be less likely to do it while you’re working.
60. Working sloppily and working quickly aren’t the same thing
61. Be proactive, not reactive
62. Become skilled at ending phone calls politely and quickly
63. Measure your productivity in quality not quantity
64. When juggling multiple projects simultaneously, focus on one at a time.
65. Keep a cool head on a hectic day
66. Stop procrastinating
67. Actively search for inspiration
68. Schedule at least a little bit of physical activity every day
69. You may wear many different hats during the day (multiple jobs, family, mentor, etc.) Don’t try to wear two at the same time.
70. Do not say “yes” to obligations you can’t keep
71. Do not say “no” to potentially beneficial obligations just because you’re scared of them.
72. Focus on one thing rather than haphazardly moving from one task to the next
73. Start in the middle if you’re stuck at the beginning
74. Be flexible
75. Don’t avoid setting goals just because you’re afraid they’ll change
76. Never be caught with an idea and no means to write it down
77. Think of your day as being divided into 30-60 minute chunks. That’s less overwhelming than trying to schedule 24 hours at a time.
78. Tune out your inner-time waster
79. Guard your personal time fiercely
80. Make sure the time you put into a task is worth the benefit you get out of it
81. Read with a pen to stay engaged and maximize swift comprehension
82. Don’t work where you sleep
83. Use cell phone alarms for appointments if you are forgetful
84. If it takes longer to make your to-do list than accomplish something on it, you’re spending too much time organizing
85. Don’t be afraid of failure
86. Don’t just set a paper on your desk. Either act on it, file it, or pitch it.
87. Resist the temptation to carefully script out each minute of your day. That just invites unexpected emergencies.
88. Be well-versed in your priorities
89. Find time to volunteer
90. A calendar and a list are useless if you don’t keep them with you
91. Don’t allow yourself a week for a task that takes one day. (Work expands to fill the time available)
92. Coffee is great, but it’s a temporary, not permanent, substitute for sleep
93. If a task becomes a waste of your time, stop, even if you’ve already sunk a few hours into it.
94. Smile while you work
95. Set a timer rather than watching the clock
96. You can’t afford to be “too busy” to stop reading and learning
97. Frequently ask yourself, “Is what I’m doing right this second moving me closer to a goal?”
98. Don’t begin a long task haphazardly without a plan
99. Spend your time in a manner consistent with your goals, not in a manner you think is consistent with other’s expectations.
100. Remember, you can do more than you think you’re capable of!
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Photo Credit: Stuart Miles