Time is precious. We all have 24 hours in a day. The effective use of your time will help maximise your productivity at work and across any other area of life.
Below are some tips which have helped me during my time at university; whilst also balancing other commitments in the form of paid work; voluntary work and health (gym/swimming).
- Set long-term tasks/goals, then work backwards. For instance, establish your goals for the year and then break them down into monthly goals. From this, break your monthly goals into weekly objectives; whilst breaking this down even further into daily objectives. This was a very powerful strategy which helped me tackle long-term goals, such as writing up a Masters dissertation over a span of three months.
- Follow the 50/10 rule. Work for 50 minutes. Take a break for 10 minutes. Repeat. I used a countdown timer such as ‘Egg Timer’ which helped me focus and commit to doing actual work; during the allocated 50 minutes. http://e.ggtimer.com/
- Do not multi-task. Focus on one task at a time. Multi-tasking only makes you feel/look busy. Eliminate this bad habit.
- Adopt a ‘Do It Now’ mentality. Where possible, complete tasks there and then. Get things ticked off the list right away.
- Set early deadlines for everything. Stress helps you get things done. If you set earlier deadlines, you’ll have more time to refine/improve your work whilst the real deadline approaches. The more you do, the more you can do!
- Wake up early. Preferably at 5am as your environment is usually quieter during this time of the day. Use the extra hours in the morning to work out/mediate/plan your day ahead. This habit compounded over the year will allow you to get more done.
- Use your commute time wisely. Listen to audiobooks/podcasts; read/answer emails; create a to-do list; brainstorm or catch up with occurrences around the world by reading a good newspaper.
- Just start. “Perfection is the enemy of execution”. Just make a draft; make it good; then great, and then excellent. Excellence takes time to achieve.
- Say no. Anything that does not help you towards reaching your goals, say no. Stay focused, avoid distractions.
- Treat yourself after achieving a major accomplishment. We’re all human, celebrating big gains helps you stay motivated.
- Check your emails at set intervals of the day. Be proactive with other meaningful tasks, not reactive to emails 24/7. If it is important, they will call you.