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The internet is littered with productivity hacks and time management tricks. You could waste a lot of time learning about managing time. Instead, use each of these three tips for at least a week. If they don’t work for you, stop. But if they do….imagine the time you’ll have!
You can’t fix a problem you can’t see. Pro-athletes watch tapes of their performance. Businesses analyse past projects to find areas for improvement. Understanding your baseline before you make changes shines a light in the dusty corners that time can disappear into. If you’ve ever looked up from your desk at 6 PM and wondered where the day went, this one’s for you.
Procrastination isn’t a problem with time management, it’s a problem with mood management. We sacrifice getting necessary, unfun tasks done for feeling better in the moment. We convince ourselves that Future Me will be thrilled to write that report, make that difficult phone call, or clean the toilets. No point in upsetting Today Me as there’s games to be played and fun to be done!
The most insidious form procrastination can take is Q3 busy work. That’s when you take the time you have and prioritize the things that you know how to do and are good at over the nebulous hard tasks that will likely pay higher dividends. Often the urgent / less important (Q3) can be delegated or ditched (if you don’t respond to that email seven people were cc’d on someone else might). The important / not urgent (Q2) work won’t go away but will increase in urgency, causing you more pressure and anxiety that make you want to hide from those tasks even more. Yes, it may feel better to cross more off your list, but it won’t improve performance. Future You really doesn’t like Today You when Today You goes for quantity over quality.
For those that say, “Yeah, but I work best working to a deadline,” I might challenge that assumption. That pressure may be a helpful crutch you’ve adapted to, but imagine if you could focus and produce high-quality work without that looming deadline? The ability to let something sit, review, and revise it, and then ship it could actually produce your best work.
Did you know that a lack of sleep can actually kill a person? Breaks are not a distraction from productivity – they’re integral to it. Don’t forget to stand up every hour. If you’re standing at a desk, don’t forget to drink some water or take a few deep breaths. Taking five minutes after an hour or so gives your brain the break it needs to perform at its best. Set an alarm if you find yourself forgetting.
Some people just get way more accomplished than others. Of the ones that get less done, some wish they were more productive. If you, too, dream of more productive hours, try the tools. They work! If you don’t care, Netflix has an email that goes out each week to let you know the new shows that will be dropping.
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