Let’s face it, all of us want to be more productive than we actually are. We go to bed at night thinking about all the things we didn’t do, and hope we can accomplish them the following day.
Procrastination has risen to an all-time high given COVID-19’s regulation to stay at home. It’s hard to stay motivated, with everything online. However, there are ways to motivate yourself and increase your time management skills, just with some simple exercises.
Wouldn’t it be cool after the social quarantine is over to say that you were more productive than ever?
We hope to offer you that opportunity by giving you five simple tips for better time management. We can’t guarantee that these will boost your motivation, but they can make your work a whole lot more manageable.
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1. Use the Pomodoro method for structure and productivity
The Pomodoro method was created by Francesco Cirillo, who worked as a developer and entrepreneur.
He needed a way to help motivate himself, so he came up with a method, naming it after the “Pomodoro,” a tomato-sized timer he used when he was a student to help himself study more effectively.
Thankfully the Pomodoro method is straightforward: you break up a larger chunk of time into smaller chunks with breaks in between.
Here’s how to do it:
- Decide which task you want to complete and focus on that.
- Set your timer, whether on your phone or computer, to 25 minutes, the length of one Pomodoro session.
- Work on your task for the 25 minutes, then stop and take a five-minute break after the timer goes off.
- After every four 25-minute sessions, take a longer (30 minutes) break.
This method teaches your brain to focus in shorter time periods, allowing for more work to be done in a longer time period.
There are many online websites that can set Pomodoro timers for you, or you can easily just set a 25-minute timer on your phone. This method works and will make you feel more productive overall.
2. Allow yourself 3 main goals to accomplish by the end of the day
Sometimes, our to-do list looks overwhelming and we haven’t even started on a task yet. Feeling like we simply have too much to do is terrible for time management.
By acknowledging the three main tasks we want to accomplish by the end of the day, the to-do list looks smaller and more manageable, and we don’t overwhelm ourselves.
Plus, the three tasks give us three starting points for our list, and if we have extra time and feel more productive, we can keep working, knowing we’ve already accomplished our three main tasks.
3. Write out a physical to-do list ranked by priority
Studies have shown that people tend to remember things better by writing them down on pen and paper rather than typing.
This is why physically writing out a to-do list is more important than setting reminders on your phone, or sticky notes on your desktop.
The physical list allows you to have something to remember and reference.
Ranking the items on the to-do list in terms of priority (whether it’s whichever is due soonest or whatever will take the most time) will allow you to have a specific pattern to follow and not get distracted by avoiding the next task.
4. Keep distractions to a minimum—no phone on the desk!
I’m guilty of this one just as much as the next person: keeping my phone right next to my laptop on the desk.
While this is handy if I need to text or call someone, I do notice I get a lot less work done if my phone is on my desk and not on another table away from me.
I know we’re all attached to our phones, but do yourself a favor and put your phone on a different table or just out of sight while you’re working on a task.
Believe me, you’ll be less distracted, more focused, and more productive. You will thank yourself later.
5. Some days will be better than others
Don’t beat yourself up if you’re having a hard time focusing.
All of us have different times of the day when we’re the most productive, as well as times when we may just not be focused.
Take a break if you’re having a hard time focusing on your task, clear your mind, take a short walk or do some exercising, then come back to the task.
You’ll find that a fresh attitude and perspective will help you better manage your projects.
While there are many other tips to help with time management, these are simple and easy to do in order to help manage your time and workload.