I used to look at successful people and wonder, “How in the world do they get everything done?”
Are they super human?
Were they able to create an extra hour or two for themselves each day?
World renowned author Stephen R. Covey once said, “The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.”
When I surrounded myself with mentors and other people who had gained a fair amount of success, I learned exactly how they are able to accomplish so much. If there’s one thing successful people know, it’s how to use their time wisely.
Each of us are given 24 hours a day. So, how are you investing your time?
Twenty years ago, I wish someone had sat me down and gave me list of productivity hacks to enhance my life and improve my time management skills.
So, I’ll pass them on to you. Remember, time management starts with a mental shift and ends with practical implementation.
Here are 6 tricks to help you make the most of your days.
1. Learn how to say no.
One of the most powerful and impactful first steps to managing your time is understanding where to invest it. Often, people who desire to accomplish big goals are held back because they haven’t mastered when to say no.
Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a wise one. Saying no helps you better prioritize your day and ultimately your life. When you say no to doing things that don’t serve you, you are able to say “yes” to more of things that do.
2. Do work in 90 minute blocks with 10 minute breaks between.
Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t work all the time. In fact, working without taking breaks takes a toll on your productivity levels. Studies have shown that people who take breaks to recharge, refocus and refuel get more done than people who try to do marathon working sessions.
Work smarter, not harder. Try setting a timer for 90 minutes and commit to focusing on specific tasks to get as much done as possible in that time frame. When the 90 minutes are up, stop what you are doing immediately, walk away from your work space and either get a snack, take a brief walk or do something unrelated.
Track your results for a week. I guarantee you will see an increase in the amount of things you’re able to get done!
3. Watch less TV
When have you ever gotten anything valuable done while watching TV? If you’re used to plopping down and watching hours of TV at a time, this one might take a bit of sacrifice. But, I guarantee the payoff will be immense. Think of it this way: the time you spend watching others could be time you invest in making your dreams become realities.
4. Use your commute time to invest in yourself
If you ride or drive to work, school or anywhere else, a great way to make the most of that time is by investing in yourself. Many people have super busy lives and believe they just can’t make the time to read or learn new information. But, if you have a substantial commute, you can!
Think of it this way: if you spend just one hour commuting somewhere daily, at the end of a calendar year, you would have spent 6 weeks of 8 hour days in a car or another mode of transportation.
Use that time you’re in the car (if you’re a passenger) to read a book, if you have to drive, listen to audiobooks or audio courses. You’ll be surprised at how much you learn.
5. Stop multitasking
To be productive is to be focused. Our world is so fast-paced and “busy,” that we’ve been deceived into believing that multitasking is the best way to get more done. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Studies have shown that there really is no such thing as multitasking. Why? Because when you try to do more than one thing at a time your productivity levels decrease, the quality of the work is also compromised and you’re not able to fully focus on the task at hand.
Discipline yourself so you can focus on doing the best job possible by devoting your attention to only one task at a time. You’ll get more done and the quality of your work will increase exponentially!
6. Do the hardest thing first
If you really want to feel like you’ve accomplished something major each day, then I dare you to start your day by tackling the hardest task first.
While studying successful people, I learned that the reason why they’ve accomplished so much is because they were able to properly prioritize their daily to-do lists. This is because once you’re able to complete the most difficult task on your plate first, the rest of your day seems to flow smoothly, allowing you to give you mental bandwidth to focus on other things to be done.