1. Think ahead. How do you want to feel at the end of your day? Taking time to visualise your day when you wake up, going the best way it can go and achieving all you want to achieve sets you up for success. At the end of the day reflect on your wins and savour that feeling, it will act as motivation the next morning if you can recall it more easily.
2. Reduce Unnecessary Distractions - Cal Newport has a book called ‘Deep Work’ which has the core principle that we spend most of our time doing ‘shallow work’ which is fragmented, admin type work such as checking emails, checking messages and doing many things at the same time. This type of work may make us feel like we are being productive but real progress and achievement comes from our deeper work - focusing on one task and finishing it. We can only finish it, effectively when we are not distracted. He says, imagine you have an office assistant - shallow work is all the work they could do but deep work is only work YOU could do. E.g. certain projects and things you know about. Things that require your unique skills, knowledge and expertise. Distractions mostly come from smartphones these days. Use an app such as OFFTIME to do focused work. Or set a timer and use the Pomodoro technique - work 25 mins and have a 5 min break. Repeat. Then have a longer break after a few cycles. Turn off notifications, put your phone in another room or even turn it off. Those funny videos and memes will be there when you're done.
3. Be realistic - Always overestimate how long things will take to ensure you have enough time for the unexpected to arise! Learn to become aware of how long things take.
4. Give others around you spacial clues so they know not to disturb you.
You may change your whatsapp status to busy, or put your headphones in so people around you know you are working, close your door, put an automatic reply on your emails stating you are busy today and will reply when you can. You may distance yourself and find a quieter space to work.
5. Ask yourself why certain things on your task list do not get done. Why is that? What can you do to tackle them? Maybe you need to a) break them down into more manageable chunks or b) do them at a set time of day (such as first thing) or take another look at the following point…
6. When you are time managing at your best, you are like what? Ask yourself this question and then the following. What needs to happen for me to be like that?
E.g. When I am time managing at my best I am like a train station manager, ensuring all the trains leave and arrive on time. What needs to happen for me to be the train station manager? I need to be up, showered, dressed and fed and ready to be at my best. I need to have a written plan of the day etc.
7. Make a plan at the start of the day. Even a rough draft will give you direction and structure.
8. Using software or paper? Do setting phone reminders work better for you or post-it notes? Does a Google calendar suit you better than a physical diary? Experiment with different ways of working until you find one that suits you.
9. Put appointments in your diary as soon as you make them. Maybe it works better to allocate certain times of the week for appointments or maybe you prefer them spread out. Consider what works best for you.
10. Chunk your time. If you are working from home set your work hours and stick to them. Allow yourself flexibility IF you get your work done. The more rigid you can be with your work hours, the higher your sense of achievement will be and the more you’ll manage to get done in those hours.
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