On too many days, you feel like you’re playing catch-up all day – you start on one task, only to decide that something else is more important. You may decide to make an early start, but the story is the same. By the end of your working day, you’re exhausted – but you feel like you haven’t really accomplished much. The good news is, you can turn this around. You can take back control of your time and lift your productivity just by applying a few new habits. Once applied, the more you’ll find that your new, improved actions become habitual.
The biggest step is change, and here is my top 8 tips to transform your work/life balance;
1. To-do List
Start each day/week by making a list of the jobs you need to do and the things you want to accomplish. Include everything, even smaller tasks like checking your emails and doing paperwork. Allocate a priority for each. Whether you favour old-fashioned pen-and-paper or modern technology, there’ll be something out there that suits you and your to-do list. Microsoft Outlook perhaps, or a project management tool like Asana.
2. Plan Your Work
When are you most productive? Morning or afternoons? Plan important tasks, or tasks that require a lot of concentration, for the time of the day when you’re most productive and schedule in the easier, less laborious tasks for your quieter times.
3. Batch Process
A great way of saving time is by batch-processing smaller tasks such as making phone calls, responding to emails and processing paperwork into hour-long periods. Working through them consecutively will save you the time you would normally waste switching between tasks. Most people find that getting these out of the way first clears the mind/desk/inbox. It’s helpful to have time slots that can then become routine.
4. Factor in Weekly and Monthly Tasks
When you’re planning your daily tasks and processes, don’t forget about those equally important weekly and monthly tasks that also have to be completed. Fit these into your weekly schedule and give yourself enough time to complete them in case there are any last minute problems or changes.
5. Schedule in Breaks
Research shows that people who take regular breaks are more productive than those who attempt to power through without stopping for lunch. Find out what works best for you – but take time out, it will allow you to recharge and get you in the right state of mind to fully concentrate on work again.
6. Plan for Distractions
Like most people on the planet, you’re probably aware that social media and mobile phones are huge time wasters. You just mean to click on your Facebook page for a quick catch-up – and an hour later, you’re still there! It’s more sensible to plan for these distractions and factor them into your day. When you have your scheduled break, use that time to for a quick flutter on your socials. By making them a part of your routine, you can limit the amount of time you waste on these.
7. Use Technology to Help You
Technology can be so distracting – but it can also be a time management saviour! There are a host of Productivity apps such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Toggl, Zoom, Lastpass, Grammarly that all have their purpose. These are super tools you can rely on to work faster and more efficiently by helping you keep organised, on task, and bring order to your day. Experiment and see what works best for you – just don’t waste too much time on it as that would be counter-productive!
8. Stick to It
Don’t expect any of this to be easy. Changing a lifetime’s worth of bad time management habits won’t happen overnight. Once you’ve found a routine that works for you, the hardest part is sticking to it! Whatever you do, persevere. You can do this – and it will become easier with every day that you do!