Ever wish you had more than 24 hours in a day to get more things done? As 2018 draws near, this is the time of year to start thinking about new habits, tools, and techniques that work to our advantage without us working ourselves to death.
Well, nothing you do in 2018 can make you more productive until you have a firm grasp of how to manage your life. Since you can't control "time" itself -- as seconds, minutes, and hours tick away to never be reclaimed again -- you can control your ability to discipline your mind to be more efficient and productive.
As you learn to train your brain and adapt these habits next year, you'll notice a greater sense of control over your work day.
19 top self-management hacks
1. Don't multitask or juggle too many things. Research says it can be damaging to our brains. You end up splitting your focus over many tasks, losing focus, lowering the quality of your work and taking longer to hit your goals.
2. Start and end meetings on time, and don't get sidetracked or allow the meeting agenda to get hijacked.
3. Set boundaries and say "no" to people when needed, so your valuable time is protected.
4. Schedule low-priority calls and tasks during windows of time when your energy level is at its lowest.
5. Identify the times of the day when you're most productive and focus your energy on doing the most important things during those times.
6. Delegate to free up time and ensure that you do only what you should.
7. Be aware of time-wasters like visitors dropping by your workspace to gossip, useless meetings and distracting phone calls, and anything that else that disrupts your state of flow.
8. Break down larger goals into smaller goals and tasks that can be easily accomplished in order to avoid being overwhelmed.
9. Avoid, as often as you can, meetings that are not a good use of your time.
10. Schedule specific blocks of time to return phone calls and emails, and avoid doing it sporadically throughout the day.
11. If at all possible, maintain a healthy work-life balance and rarely bring work home.
12. Finish a task before you move on to the next one.
13. Do what requires the most discipline first.
14. Devote some time on Sunday evening (like 30 minutes to an hour) to plan and mentally prepare for the upcoming week.
15. Never touch things more than once. When you read an email or get a text from a colleague, reply promptly.
16. Turn off unnecessary notifications that become more disruptive than helpful. If it diverts your attention and interrupts you constantly, turn it off.
17. Limit the amount of time you spend on social media. At work, allocate the appropriate amount of time to use it during business hours, and mostly for business reasons.
18. Only start side projects that you're committed to finishing. Determine what's involved and the amount of time that it will take to do it with excellence. Otherwise, walk away.
19. Adopt the preferred work routine of super productive people: Spend 52 minutes engrossed in your work, then take a 17-minute smart break. Research says shifting your focus away from intense work to a state of rest, and having longer periods of downtime, are keys to being more productive. Who knew?
Your turn: What would you add to this list heading into 2018? Leave me a comment.