Many of us try to be hyper-productive. You know, running around with a coffee in hand, making calls, and checking e-mail, all while trying to eat breakfast in the car. You know who you are. Those who do this often think that since they are "staying busy" they are more successful. To the contrary, "staying busy" leads to mindless productivity - a constant need to do something but actually a waste of time on tedious tasks.
Instead, you've got to work smarter, not harder. Consciously think about each task you're doing. Can it be done more efficiently or eliminated altogether? Managing time isn't about how many tasks you can possibly squeeze into your day, it's about prioritizing and getting the most important ones done faster. Believe it or not, there are enough hours in the day to do everything you want to do. You can workout, get your work projects done, make a homemade dinner, take a bubble bath, and spend time with your friends and family. You just need to rearrange a few things and clear away space in your life.
To make your day more efficient, you've got to complete the most important tasks first. This is the golden rule of time management. Each day, identify the two or three tasks that are the most crucial to complete, and do those first. If losing weight is number one on your list of goals, then do your workout first thing in the morning. While you're at work, do the task that's going to make you the most money or get you promoted. Once you have completed your most important tasks, your day is already a success and you can move on to smaller things such as laundry or running errands. You've finished the essentials.
After creating a prioritized list, give time limits to each task and allow transition time. Instead of saying, "I'll work on this until it gets done", try thinking, "I'm going to finish this in two hours." The time limit will motivate you to work more efficiently and push you to focus.
In order to focus at your fullest potential, you must avoid multitasking. We repeat, do not multitask! We all do it. Texting while in an important meeting or checking Twitter every five minutes while at work. You may think you're being productive but you're just limiting your potential and wasting time. It's not nearly as efficient as sitting down and focusing on one thing. Moving back and forth between tasks actually wastes productivity and causes you to make mistakes. As much as you dread the thought of not being near your phone, put it in another room on silent while you complete the task you are working on. No distractions means no excuses.
Despite what you may think, all these time management strategies won't be worth using if you're not getting enough sleep, plain and simple. Get an early start each day and make sure you're getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Our bodies and minds need 7 to 8 hours to function at optimum capacity. Not to mention, we are more productive in the mornings, so why not get an early start on something?
By changing a few simple things, you will become a more productive person and have more time for the people you love, play, and rest. Trust us, the time management strategies we've listed are worth using.