6 great ways to manage your time better and be more productive

If only there were more hours in the day. I’ve said it. You’ve said. Everyone has at one point or another wanted to not need sleep, have 30 hours in the day or clone in order to manage their days.

Talk about work-life balance has become irrelevant in a global pandemic, where your home is your everything (for those lucky enough to be able to work from home) and time has virtually stopped, but responsibilities can’t wait even for a second. Time management is the one skill we need!

Managing your time has never been easier

Time, being the most crucial personal resource to date, is a hot commodity – everyone is in a race with the world or themselves to cross the finish line and squeeze out more time out of the day. The good news is that humankind has really pushed the pedal to the metal in terms of how to function and best streamline everything you do.

If you have the drive, there’s a way to fit in all the tasks and responsibilities and even fun activities all in one day.

6 ways to manage your time better and become more productive

Use task management apps and systems

Productivity applications dominate the mobile application market. You can go as simple and clean as Todoist to elaborate and fun like Habitica. If you’re looking for a way to boost your productivity overall and intentionally use your time, there are a thousand ways to do it on your phone. Maybe you swear by your digital calendar. Then TickTick is the best route for you. Or do you prefer the no nonsense of keyboard shortcuts? Remember the Milk is the one for you. The list goes on!

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However, if you don’t trust yourself around your mobile devices and prefer low-tech options, the bullet journal system can step in. The appeal of turning to a journal, rather than an application, is that you are the designer and can create a system of tracking tasks that makes sense for you. Also putting plans pen to paper gives you the opportunity to think without pressure.

Use RSS feed reader

Aside from task management apps, RSS feed readers are the best thing you can introduce to your work or creative process. We all spend quite some time reading articles on the Internet. Some for sheer enjoyment. Others in order to remain in the professional loop.

Through RSS feed readers you contain your reading to a single space, thus eliminating distractions that may come from scrolling through social media and your browser. Modern RSS readers are a superior tool for organisation of subscription, search and filtering so that you only get the most relevant content according to your interests.

Readers like Inoreader are also adept at researching topics. Users can tap into the discovery zone for overview of the most popular feeds on Inoreader organized by specific interests ranging from business news to political commentary. In addition, Inoreader’s Chrome extension integrates the app with your browser for a smooth experience.

Declutter your inbox

Do not overlook your inbox as a source of distraction. You’d be surprised how many minutes are lost in search of specific emails in a sea of undeleted meeting invites, memos and newsletters. If you can’t commit to an inbox zero, then at least develop a system. Purge emails as often as possible and leave only those most important. Start tagging based on projects or specific tasks so you don’t lose sight of them. Remember RSS feed readers? They can take care of your newsletters in case you can’t part with them.

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Set clear deadlines

I do abide by the power of deadlines. There are hard deadlines required by work, but then I’ve also found the utility of soft deadlines, which I set for myself as a guideline. If you risk losing sense of time, because your workdays kind of blur together, then consider clear deadlines as your thread – a set system that anchors you to the here and now. Deadlines are an efficient way to prioritize the tasks ahead of you, and not forget something important.

Personally, I tend to play around with deadlines that are day-specific (as in this task needs to be done on THIS very day) or week-specific (as long as these things happen by the end of the week, then it’s all good). This way you free up necessary mental space for accomplishing, rather than figuring out what to do next.

Learn how to prioritize your tasks

As we mentioned above, prioritizing tasks is essential, when the job requires you to fill numerous shoes and have several responsibilities all running at the same time. You might be tempted to pursue different tasks all at the same time, but though appealing, multitasking only creates the sensation of being productive rather than delivering results. So don’t fall for its siren call. You’re only going to burn out, while fetishizing how busy you are.

It’s far more important to discern what’s the most important thing about the day – break it down into steps, and methodically cross each item on your to-do list. What is time sensitive? What is a big task that needs more time to accomplish? These are your priorities.

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Clearly define your goals and ambitions

Ultimately, time management is all about knowing what you’re doing with your time and knowing why – the why is actually the key that unlocks everything else, because it has to do with motivation. Are you career-oriented and want to take on additional projects, because you’re gunning for either a promotion or a lateral move within the industry? Do you feel as though work is swallowing your personal time now that you’re working from home? Are you hopeful to squeeze in studying a new language or pour yourself into a personal project?

Intention leads to strategy. Strategy leaves to concrete solutions and actions, which can impact the trajectory of your professional and personal development.

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