How to Get More Done in 24-Hours

“My favourite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time” said Steve Jobs. True, but easier said than practiced. An average person spends 20% of the workday doing ‘important’ things, while 80% of the day is spent on things that have ‘little or no value’. Not only is this surprising but alarming too, as we are clearly far behind our ideal productivity level. Maximizing productivity is all about intelligent time management and here are 5 simple tips to get you started.

#1 Schedule tomorrow’s work today: Preparing for the next day in advance gives you the head start you need to not just complete all scheduled tasks but also take on urgent last-minute work. Research shows that planning ahead causes your subconscious to work on your plans and goals while you are asleep and you are likely to wake up with insights and ideas relevant to your work. Use time management tools and applications like Things, RescueTime, CalenGoo, etc. to sync your tasks across devices and accounts and manage them seamlessly.

#2 Ignore the distractions: Smartphones, mobile apps, web organizers have made us super productive. Really? Emails, chats, Facebook, and Twitter can now eat up an entire day and if that’s not enough, constant photo stream showing pictures of how someone is enjoying while you labour on a high-priority project are anything but motivating. The key is to stop being a slave to the distractions and set aside pre-defined periods (ideally no more than two of 15-min each per day) to respond to your email and social feeds.

#3 Stop multitasking: Only about 2.5% people in this world are able to effectively multi-task and still do each activity perfectly. That leaves 97.5% of us struggling to handle multiple tasks and failing to complete any of them satisfactorily. While it’s certainly good to multitask when you have mundane things to complete, tasks that require high quality demand undivided attention. In such cases, set a timer to ensure you focus on that one task until it’s complete. The key is to know when to multitask and when not.

 #4 Set bite-sized goals: Don’t eat more than you can bite i.e. don’t aim to accomplish more than what you can realistically achieve. An ideal workday should consist of a series of goals with specific milestones and time slots for each. Space out your tasks basis their order of priority and do some introspection to figure out your most productive time of the day. Most people are highly productive between 9 AM to 12 Noon and productivity often declines gradually post lunch. Using the correct organizational tools can improve time management by 38%, so choose wisely from a plethora of time management techniques and tools to prep yourself for maximum productivity.

#5 Delegate whatever you can: Famous management consultant David Allen who created the Getting Things Done (GTD) time management technique says “If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.” To be able to give appropriate attention, you must free your mind of less important stuff and therein comes the significance of delegation. Declutter your life and don’t shy away from taking assistance for personal and professional tasks to make your day simpler and more productive. With people across the world turning to the internet for every need, virtual assistant services are expanding rapidly and research predicts that by 2018, the virtual assistant services industry will be worth a whopping $5 billion.

Know what works for you

When it comes to effective time management, there is no one size fits all strategy. Whether it is writing down tasks, striking them off upon completion for that little positive reinforcement, or relying on digital tools, it’s important to experiment and devise your personal time management technique. Get started now to get more done, and get more free time too.