- Worst first. To defeat procrastination learn to tackle your most unpleasant task first thing in the morning instead of delaying it until later in the day. This small victory will set the tone for a very productive day.
- Peak times. Identify your peak cycles of productivity, and schedule your most important tasks for those times. Work on minor tasks during your non-peak times.
- Timeboxing. Give yourself a fixed time period, like 30 minutes, to make a dent in a task. Don’t worry about how far you get. Just put in the time.
- Agendas. Provide clear written agendas to meeting participants in advance. This greatly improves meeting focus and efficiency. You can use it for phone calls too.
- Pareto. The Pareto principle is the 80-20 rule, which states that 80% of the value of a task comes from 20% of the effort. Focus your energy on that critical 20%, and don’t overengineer the non-critical 80%.
- Slice and dice. Break complex projects into smaller, well-defined tasks. Focus on completing just one of those tasks. Chunk it down!
- Single-handling. When you're faced with a pile of things to do, go through them quickly and make a list of what needs doing and when. After this handle each piece of paper only once. Do not under any circumstances pick up a job, do a bit of it, then put it back on the pile.
- Challenge your own tendency to say 'yes' without scrutinising the request - start asking and probing what's involved - find out what the real expectations and needs are. Really think about how you currently spend your time. If you don't know, keep a time log for a few days. Knowing exactly what's wrong is the first step to improving it.
- Do not start lots of jobs at the same time - even if you can handle different tasks at the same time it's not the most efficient way of dealing with them, so don't kid yourself that this sort of multi-tasking is good - it's not.
- Realize that time management is a myth. No matter how organized we are, there are always only 24 hours in a day. Time doesn't change. All we can actually manage is ourselves and what we do with the time that we have
These tips are a selection from Steve Pavlina’s blog and other sources, combined to make my all time favourite list.
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