As a HR or Recruitment Agency manager, there are times when you need to guide others through managing their workload. And other times when you need to present yourself to others as calm, in control and focused. With the ever changing personalities and situations you need to deal with, you may find yourself getting lost under the mountain of work and needing a better way to manage. Being motivated and comfortable with your work, will ensure that you can work with others effectively.
Below are 50 different productivity and time management tips that can help you stay on track and motivated. You can use them when guiding others or for yourself, there’s something for everyone.
- The Day Before
Take time to organise your timetable and to-do list the day before. By setting everything out, the next morning is less stressful and you can begin the day with a clear view of priorities and tasks. You’ll know what needs to be done and how best to organise yourself for optimal time management. If you are interested in effective less formal task management, then investigate personal Kanban. A simple strategy using post it notes to prioritise your days.
Try not to let your mind wander. If you start thinking about tasks you need to do the following day or week, you will lose focus on your current one. Keep your mind in the present, otherwise you might forget about the priorities of today.
- Remove Distractions
If you have trouble focusing or you get distracted easily, make use of automated email replies, voicemails and call diverting. Let your co-workers know you need the next hour or two to concentrate and focus on a deadline. Let them know you’re unavailable at certain times each day so you can look forward to those sessions of no distractions.
- Chrome Plug Ins
There are many apps, plug ins and extensions that can help you stay on task. Particular extensions create timers that let you work for a set time and then remind you to take a short break between each. Others present visual reminders to stay focused on the tasks you prioritise.
- Create Deadlines
When you create your own deadlines for each task, and hold yourself accountable, the deadline timers will create an outside motivation to keep you focused and efficient. But don’t fall into the trap of wasting time feeling horrible that you didn’t accomplish a deadline. Adjust your expectations accordingly and get straight back into it.
- Afternoon Emails
If you have a habit of checking your emails first thing in the morning, you may notice you lose hours responding and working out the problems of others, and leave your own tasks on the backburner. Instead, leave your emails until after lunchtime and you may find you get more done. You won’t be starting your day completing someone else’s to do list.
- Use Free Time Productively
If you’ve completed deadlines early and find yourself with unexpected free time, take the opportunity to complete other tasks so you’re even further ahead. You do need free time to switch off and relax, but don’t make a habit of never using it productively.
- Short Work Sessions
Your mind can get exhausted being switched on for long periods of time. Try set a timer to take short 10 minute breaks, often, throughout the day. This will prevent your mind and body from getting over-tired and it’ll help maintain your overall efficiency and focus.
- Simplified Strategies
Everyone has a new time management tip or tool, something different that helps them. Everyone has different needs and it’s great to try out a new method if the current one isn’t working. But if you spend too much time organising your tasks, you’re using up valuable time for productivity. Keep your management methods simple and clear.
- Half Finished Projects
A long list of half completed tasks is more overwhelming than having a few big tasks to do. If you’re experiencing this problem, pick a task and set aside time to complete it before moving to the next. You’ll shorten your list and feel refreshed every time you cross off another.
- Daily Walk
Moving your body in such a simple way for just 20 minutes will boost those good hormones and help your mind rest and recover from a hard work session. Starting the day off with a walk will boost your overall mood and confidence, or taking a break at lunch will keep you going for the rest of the day. Even walking at night can help you get a better sleep and feel refreshed the next morning.
- Small Steps
If you’re tackling large projects, break them into small steps. Every time you complete a step, you’ll feel motivated to start the next. It’s all just a journey to the final destination and every step is a win.
- Actual Output
Instead of focusing on the tasks you haven’t completed, work out what you have completed and how long it’s taken you. Set your goals based on your actual abilities and work out what you can improve on. This’ll keep your mind in a positive frame and help increase your efficiency.
- Self Awareness
Everyone’s journey is different and everyone puts unseen pressures on themselves. Do a bit of research into understanding how your mind works and what may be affecting your outlook and productivity. Recognition of a problem is the first step in finding a solution or a way to work with it.
- Two Minute Time Out
Taking a short break to have a laugh or doing something to boost your mood will give you that little restart to dive back into the task at hand.
- Task Chunks
As above, the simple act of breaking huge tasks down into small steps will increase your efficiency and positivity. You’ll see yourself completing each step in a short time, rather than pushing through several hours of work and feeling like nothing has been accomplished.
- Rough Days
Everyone has those days where they just can’t find the motivation to get started or everything seems to be going wrong. Push through anyway. Sit down, look at the last thing you did and continue or start the next step. You’ll find you can force the productivity out when you just sit down and get started.
- 18 Minutes of Planning
Taking 5 minutes in the morning, 5 minutes in the evening and 1 minute every hour to glance over your to-do list and schedule (or kanban board), will keep you on track and focused on the bigger picture without destroying your productivity.
- Overcome Bad Habits
It’s good to take the day off every now and then, but if you’ve made a habit of it, choose to do the opposite. If you wake up thinking about it, push it aside and force your mind to focus on being productive. Make your bad day even more productive than it would’ve been and you’ll slowly break these bad habits.
- Eliminate the Unnecessary
Take a long look at your to-do list and cut out anything that’s not essential. Clear out built up emails, cross off outdated tasks and delete old voicemails. You’ll cut your list down and feel like you’ve accomplished something, creating the motivation you need to get back into it.
- Perfection; Enemy of Completion
Keep your standards high of course, but trying to work on a project until it reaches perfection is detrimental. You’ll never find perfection and you’ll only slow yourself down.
- Don’t Exaggerate
If you’re spending time telling people about how busy you are, you’re not actually being productive. Focus on your priorities and the rest will prove itself.
- Only a Few Things a Day
Set aside two or three specific tasks you want to complete that day. If you don’t get anything else done, at least you reached your goal. Start small. Don’t expect yourself to complete everything or you’ll end up feeling drained and unmotivated.
- Your Impact
Many tasks seem mundane and mindless. It’s hard to find a reason to care and complete them. Think instead about how the tasks impact others and how it makes the workload easier for yourself or your business on a whole.
- Reward Yourself
Set aside a specific time once or twice a week when you’ll take a longer break and do something as a reward for pushing through the work.
- Valuable Input
Every communication, every comment, every task, doesn’t need a response from you. Question whether or not you’ll add value to others in the circle or just reiterate what they know. Cut your email response time by only replying if absolutely necessary.
- Eliminate Excuses
Sure you deserve time for breaks, but learn when you actually need the break and when your mind is just convincing you to procrastinate. “Because you’re up to date”, and doing something that boosts the dopamine is much easier and feels better than working. Develop self-discipline and keep yourself on track.
- Imagine Your Future
Envisioning yourself clearly arriving at the destination of your project list, at the top of that mountain of hard work. Envision yourself achieving the success you want and you’ll find it easier to push through that next small task, that next step.
- Start It and Finish It
Once you begin a task, push through to the end. Don’t put it aside to come back to later. Once you’re on a roll, keep that ball going. It’s harder to pick up where you left off, than to keep a train of thought on track.
- Help Others
If you feel like your work isn’t adding any value, take a break and use the time to help someone else. You’ll feel like you’re part of a team again, whether it’s in the workplace or in the community, and that your work is important.
- Pick One App
There are plenty of programs out there to help with productivity and time management. Pick one and stick with it. Don’t waste time chopping and changing your methods.
- Happiness is Key
Be content with what you have and where you are in life, instead of expecting your work to create your happiness. Once you’re feeling great about what you’ve already accomplished, you’ll cherish the opportunities of each future step.
- Things Happen
Bad things happen. Let them. Don’t waste energy worrying about what could happen. Create potential solutions, focus on your task at hand and tackle any mishaps as they appear.
- Questions List
Instead of searching for irrelevant answers in the middle of your project, write questions down. Keep a list of things you need to check and tackle them after you’ve completed your current task.
- Information Intake
Surfing the internet is productive for research, but it can get out of hand easily. With all the different perspectives on a single topic, it’s easy to get confused between healthy research and overconsumption. Monitor the time you spend online researching and cut back on unnecessary distractions.
- Future Plans
Take a day out to make a tangible plan for the future. Break it down into steps with deadlines so you know where you’re going and that your work today is a key to the end result.
Most programs come with automated processes, customisable for those mundane tasks. Use these to your advantage, and give yourself more time for the challenging tasks.
If your space is messy or uninviting, you won’t want to be there. Change it up. Aim for natural light, a neat work area and ventilation.
- Work from the Bottom
Work out what are the most difficult tasks, and break them into smaller steps. Tackle the easiest ones so you’re crossing them off often and building motivation to reach the most challenging ones.
- Travel Time
If you take public transport, use the time to research something new or practice a skill. You’ll feel refreshed by the personal growth and ready to take on the day.
Focus on what you can do, don’t worry about what you can’t. Keep your mind positive and you’ll keep up your energy and efficiency.
- Positive Reminders
Use positive words around you wherever you can. As with passwords, usernames or task and project notes.
- Run Early
If you’re normally late, convince yourself your start time is earlier and hold yourself accountable. Turn your clocks forward by 10-15 minutes. You’ll be surprised by the extra time.
- Rest Often
Ensure your work sessions are productive and use your time off to really rest. You need to frequently re-energise your mind from being focused all day.
- Specific Timing
Set particular time frames for small tasks and ensure you stick to them. If you know a task will only take 15 minutes, you’ll be more motivated to complete it.
- Large Projects
Break up large projects into small time sessions. Split up each session with a different task or with regular, short breaks. This way it won’t feel like a huge mountain and will appear as several small hills along a path, with regular rest stops.
It’s okay to feel proud when you complete a huge project. Make sure you congratulate yourself and do something special with co-workers, friends, family or on your own. Treat yourself and you’ll feel more eager to begin the next project, just to celebrate all over again.
- Rest Does Help
Some people aren’t procrastinators and instead are fearful of stopping. They feel worse when they take a break, they only focus on time being lost and wasted; work that could’ve been done. If you’re one of these people, convince yourself to believe that rest does help. Find a routine that helps your body and mind recover, and do it often. Whether it’s 8-10 hours of sleep at night, or a coffee and news break before heading to work. Use it.
- Your Body Know what it Needs
Listen to it. If you feel tired, if you have a headache, if your body is sore, if you’re having trouble staying focused, your body is telling you that you need a break. Listen. You’ll lose efficiency if you don’t. Others feel stress in different ways too and their body reacts uniquely. A short fuse, feeling hopeless, tired, unmotivated, anxious. Additional support from a professional can only do you good, and give you tools to recognise your triggers, if nothing else.
- Don’t Crash
As soon as you get home, keep yourself occupied with a short routine. Packing away your work clothes, your lunch dishes, your paperwork. Setting aside 5 minutes to play with the pets or tidying up a few things on the bench. If you give in to the temptation to crash after work, you’ll feel less motivated to get up and go back the next day.
There’s an approach here for everyone, try out different strategies, different perspectives, and you’ll be sure to find something that works for you.
Productivity and time management are the key to a happy workplace environment, using these may well create drastic improvements for yours.
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