Effective time tracking is a must-have skill in today’s fast-paced world. No surprise that the phrase “Time flies” exists. Time does indeed fly. You close and open your eyes and the day has finished, a whole season has passed, then a year, and so on.
Do you want to keep up with the world?
Learn to manage your time first.
In this article, we will go through 5 unexpected time management tips. You have surely heard the to-do list method, the plan-your-day-ahead method, the prioritization, and other common methods.
While these are indeed good pieces of advice to follow, they are not always enough or may be even too banal for some.
For that reason, it is time to learn new unexpected ways of time management.
Let’s get into it.
Create tangible (real) deadlines for yourself
Instead of adding just a date on the calendar, try creating real deadlines. Real deadlines mean that when they approach, you will have to finish work whether you want it or not. These can be using your device with a limited battery and not charging it on purpose. Or scheduling your work to be sent at a custom time.
Let’s admit it, the latter is a little savage. However, sometimes deadlines are the best motivators.
If you think these are a little rough for you, you can always stick to the tried and tested calendar deadline method.
Learn to stay focused
Very occasionally it is distractions that slow down the work process and affect time management.
That is why it is essential to learn to stay focused on work and everything else that requires concentration.
Otherwise, you start working, get a notification, check what it is and BAM, half an hour has passed. You get back to work and promise yourself you will not be distracted anymore. But, a coworker starts a chat and another half an hour passes by.
However, when you learn to stay focused, no distractions stand a chance. When you are focused on work, distractions come and go instead of lingering and wasting your time.
You can start with the Pomodoro method. It implies working for 25 minutes and taking a 5-minute break. Then after several cycles, take a longer 15-minute break. If you think 25 is a lot to start, you can customize it and start smaller. However, make it longer day by day until ideally the 25-minute rule.
Learn and use keyboard shortcuts
You are most likely using a computer for work. And you know that there are shortkeys intended to make the work process faster. You most likely already know CTRL+C and CTRL+V, but there are so many more for equally common actions.
Simply open a list of the keyboard shortcuts for your OS and save the ones that stand for actions you do regularly.
For example, Alt+Tab enables you to switch between open tabs, Win+M minimizes all open windows, or Win+period (.) opens the emoji panel. Actually, not many people know that Windows has its own emojis and you can access them so easily.
If you are using macOS or Linux, do the same for them. The thing is to keep practicing your shortcuts.
You will then notice how much quicker your navigation process becomes. Plus, you will impress many people:)
Make your to-do list precise
You have most likely made a to-do list in your work process. Ok, at least once. Did you write your exact to-dos? Or did you write a word or just a phrase connected to the task?
Whatever the case, start writing your to-dos word by word. Do you want to do house chores today? Instead of writing down “do house chores”, be more specific. Write what exactly you are going to do, “Take out the trash”, “Mop the floor”, “Clean the windows” and so on.
No matter what the to-do list is about, work, routine, hobbies, or anything else, being specific is the best way to go. It not only helps you visualize your day and plans but also gives you a crystal clear idea of what you should do. That way everything is on paper and you do not have to load your brain.
Additionally, you can use a digital tool so that you can access your list wherever you go. Moreover, ideally, you can use a time management tool so that you also see how much time your to-dos take you.
For example, you can use WebWork, a time tracking software that has a task management section. You can organize your tasks there and whenever you start working on them, turn on the tracker. As a result, you’ll be able to improve your time management skills while completing your to-dos.
Working too much does not equal being productive
First of all, it is not possible to be productive all the time. Let that sink in. Second, there is no point.
Read the first sentence again.
Let’s get one thing clear. Being productive is not the same as working a lot.
Despite the abundance of productivity books and productivity gurus claiming that consistent work is the answer, it is not always so.
Sometimes, you should let yourself do nothing. Letting your mind wander has the potential to make you more productive in a much shorter time, than working all the time. You know that working all the time is highly likely to result in burning out which is no good.
Why risk burning yourself out, when regular rests can do you more good and make you more productive?
Just like for the previous tip, you can use a digital tool for improving your productivity in a healthy way as well. The tool mentioned above is also a productivity monitoring software. WebWork tracks the apps and websites you use and categorizes them as productive, neutral, and non-productive, based on your ranking. That way you see which platforms waste your time and are reminded about them whenever you spend much time on them.
To sum up
Time management is not easy, let’s admit it. However, with the right approach and mindset, it is easy to learn and perfect. The tips mentioned in this article are meant to help you. If you have tried the common tips and didn’t have success, with these unconventional time management tips, you surely will.
Give them a try.
Liana Papyan is a content writer and an English language enthusiast. Her current writing niches are remote work, productivity, time tracking, and the like. Liana also writes marketing copy and is trying to be a UX writer at the same time. The only thing she likes more than writing is reading.