7 Time Management Tips to Boost your Productivity
Whether it is to impress your boss or excel your career, correctly managing your time can be a real challenge. Sometimes we get wrapped up in one task, only to realize our focus should have been on another. We try our best to knock out every project that lands on our plate, but sometimes it seems impossible to try and keep goals off the back burner. The question becomes—what can we do to be as productive as possible?
To answer this question, we compiled a list of 7 best practices alongside Skylight’s Ryan Puckett. Ryan is a former member of the United States Air Force with more than a decade of financial planning under his belt, so he certainly knows a thing or two about time management. Check out our 7 tips below to help you carpe each diem that comes your way.
Tip #1: Without prioritization, goals are just dreams
We have all gawked at a daily or weekly to-do list and thought, “how am I supposed to tackle all of this?!”
“There is no denying that setting goals helps you become your most productive self” says Ryan, “but what you must consider is that not all tasks are created equal.” Creating a system that organizes your goals will allow you to dive into your to-do list with purpose and confidence. Labeling tasks by level of priority (“High, Medium, Low,” for example) or assigning them a deadline are two very effective ways to accomplish this.
Tip #2: Your calendar is your new best friend
“Sometimes visualizing your goals is half the battle, so I always recommend that if you do not live and die by your calendar—start.”
Having an organized calendar is essential to boost your daily productivity. It allows you record time usage of previous tasks, while also preparing you for all the future projects to come. Ryan recommends color coding to help you visualize your workload and scheduling your travel and personal time on the calendar as well. This gives people a bird’s eye view of their own time management abilities and how it can be improved.
Tip #3: Forget the myth of multitasking
“Multitasking is something we are all guilty of, even I catch myself doing from time to time. What you need to realize is that this behavior negatively effects the quality of your work,” states Ryan.
To truly optimize your productivity, give yourself the opportunity to accomplish tasks without distractions. Focusing in on each individual task will improve the quality of the work and will give you a better sense of accomplishment when that task is completed.
Tip #4: Don’t be afraid to just say no
Sometimes, our time management hacks are no match for the dreaded “crazy week.” The kind of week where new projects keep coming in and our to-do list multiples endlessly. The kind of week when a colleague asks, “are you busy right now?” and you meet their eyes with a hostile glare.
The desire to keep your client or your boss happy is completely understandable, but to be successful you have to understand your limits. Sometimes, this means putting a hard stop to other incoming projects. This is where communication is key, talk with your company or boss about other delegation options that could help accomplish future tasks.
Tip #5: Make the most of every meeting
Regardless of your company or profession, we have all had to sit through meetings that could have easily been an email. During that hour-long mandatory meeting, your neglected list of goals sat idle—maybe even grew!
While you don’t always have a say in what meetings to attend, you can reduce sluggish meetings by optimizing your own. “Never, ever, walk into a meeting without a clear game plan” says Ryan. This allows you to handle the purpose of the meeting right away, allowing you to get back to the tasks at hand in a timely fashion.
Tip #6: Success requires wellness
When the pressure turns up at work, the first elements of life that get chucked out the window are proper diet, exercise, and sleep. When these elements slip off our priority list, we start to feel worse and worse, and that feeling creeps it way into our professional work. “There is no way around it—the most successful people in any business setting are always the ones who take care of their body and mind” says Ryan.
Always make time to consume nourishing meals and perform stress eliminating workouts, and the benefit will be seen in how you feel and the work you deliver.
Tip #7: Create and maintain a safe haven
The issue some people face when they look to boost their productivity is that the stress of work they looked to conquer ends up swallowing them whole. The best thing a person can do to boost their mental health and performance at work is to create a work-free space that puts aside these stressors—at least temporarily.
This “haven” is less of a location and more of a ritual. When you step inside your house, tuck away that phone or laptop and devote that time to yourself and your loved ones. Partake in hobby or activity that you enjoy simply because you enjoy it. These rituals build balance in your life and reinvigorate the mind, so it can tackle the projects of tomorrow.
Thanks to Ryan Puckett for his insight and contributions!
Ryan C. Puckett is a registered representative of and offers securities and investment advisory services through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC OSJ: 5455 Rings Road, Suite 125, Dublin, OH 43017. 614.790.9800.