What is more important – working harder or working smarter? Though both are crucial to a company’s success, when you can’t have both, working smarter leads to faster and more efficient results. Unless you are in medicine or engineering, generally, 5 goods are better than 1 great. What do we mean by this? Teach your team Time Management and Productivity tips to get more done in less time, even if the end deliverable is not perfect.
One extremely efficient star employee is often worth more than several other average ones. They not only raise the bar for organizations but also are more cost efficient, allowing business owners to allocate capital to other needs.
These performers are hard to come by, but they don’t just randomly grow from trees! All great employees have some natural raw talent that was developed and honed through training and experience. We’ve collected some of our best tips and pieces of advice on time management & productivity. Its time to raise the bar at your own company or organization.
Time Management and Productivity Tips
Not all of these time management and productivity tips are for every individual in every organization. Ultimately, you as well as your organization will need to determine which tactics work best in your culture. With that said, try these strategies one-by-one and give them 3 weeks each to become habits. If done right, we guarantee that you’ll see an increase in productivity.
Plan Out Your Calendar in 15 or 30 Minute Intervals
Have you ever had so much to do that you just didn’t know where to start and eventually waste hours in a state of limbo accomplishing much less than you thought you would? We surely have.
When you organize your tasks for the day and week in 15 to 30 minute intervals and put them on your calendar, it helps you mentally commit to working on those tasks. The shorter chunks of time also make the tasks not as intimidating. Placing these soft internal deadlines on yourself will also help you see how much time you should budget for each assignment and help organize your day. We also suggest organizing your tasks in order of priority so you get the important things out of the way first.
Of course, there will be times when you can’t complete tasks in time, but you can always re-budget your time and move things around in your calendar as needed. The important thing is to commit to them on a calendar and getting to work.
Great for: Procrastinators, those struck with “analysis by paralysis“
Create the Right Working Environment and FOCUS!
This time management and productivity technique is crucial and easy. We know it’s tempting to check your phone and see that cat meme your friend tagged you in on Instagram. We know and feel your pain.
It may not seem like a big deal, but each small distraction greatly lowers productivity as a whole.
To focus well, you need to create the right environment by putting away any potential distractions. This includes turning your phone off (yes, OFF!), putting food at a distance where you can’t see it, and placing blocks on your calendar so your co-workers know not to interrupt you.
This isn’t a new or novel time management and productivity technique but it is an extremely important one that should not be overlooked.
In one of his recent works, Cal Newport talks about how focus is the new IQ. In our distracted world, the ones that get ahead are the ones who can limit distractions the best.
Great for: The easily distracted (so, all of us)
Set Expectations so You Know When You Are Done
Perfection is would be great to achieve consistently – but we must recognize that more often than not, perfection is an ideal, not a necessity. Setting high but reasonable expectations with each task is important in boosting your productivity.
An author could write and revise a book endlessly but at some point, she needs to put down her pen and publish. The same goes for work.
While spending extra hours on certain things is necessary, spend too much extra time on every assignment is a productivity killer. Understand expectations from your seniors and do the best you can with the limited time you have. Do jobs well, not perfectly.
Great for: The perfectionist
Manage Your Energy Rather Than Your Time
There are certain times in the day that are better for certain tasks. For example, if you’re a morning person who thrives with creativity energy from 6AM-10AM, then block that time out for brainstorming and strategizing. You don’t want to be wasting that time in meetings or answering emails.
Everyone is different, but if you are a manager at a firm, make sure to speak with your employees. Learn what their best habits are and do your best to accommodate to their periods of productivity. It may make team schedules a little less flexible, but it will likely lead to a boost in productivity.
Great for: Everyone
Take Smart Breaks
It may sound counterintuitive, but taking breaks in a strategic way is actually a very important way to increase productivity. If you feel burnt out, there is no way for work to be done in an effective manner. We recommend taking breaks after a certain interval (i.e. 30 minutes) or after a significant task is accomplished.
Additionally, make sure you are taking small breaks that won’t lead to longer ones. For example, you may want to take a short walk around the office rather than \ browsing through YouTube and risk getting sucked into a black hole of recommended videos.
Great for: Everyone
Time Management & Productivity Tools
There are many other tools and structured ways to manage your time and boost your productivity. Here are a few that have stood the test of time:
- Warren Buffett’s “2 List” Strategy: You don’t get to be one of the richest men in the world without having great time management and productivity skills. This productivity strategy created by the Oracle of Omaha helps you determine your overall life priorities. Essentially, you create a list of 25 of your biggest goals and then out of that list, pick the 5 most important. Those 5 are what you should focus on and avoid all the others at all costs, as they will take away your focus.
- The Ivy Lee Method: Under the Ivy Lee method, at the end of each night you write down your six most important tasks to accomplish the following day – in order of importance. This productivity method motivates you to tackle the most important thing first. This method helps reduce decision fatigue and forces you to prioritize on your goals.
- The Eisenhower Box: This simple decision matrix will help you take action, organize tasks, and increase your overall productivity. In this matrix, you compare the urgent vs. important tasks you have and prioritize working on the urgently important ones first. The tool is extremely flexible and is applicable to both small and broad plans.
Boosting productivity is a goal for many of us. The great thing about time management and productivity is that they are not esoteric skills that require heaps of natural talent. Both skills can be improved by implementing the right strategies and tactics and sticking to the ones that work best for you and your organization.
- Business Writing: Definition, Tips, & Examples
- Answer First Communication
- 6 Productivity Hacks & 2 Productivity Killers
- Top 6 Leadership Skills for Managers