How to be Productive – 23 Tips for Mastering Your Time

tips for better using your time

Managing your time is one thing, but for it to be productive you have to make some smart decisions. This is more than just being productive and motivated, which do help but aren’t the building blocks of being efficient with your time. That’s why we put together a list of tips for mastering your time!

If you want to be time-efficient, you have to know how to maximize your time and productivity without just spending more hours on things. This can even result in being unproductive. We go into detail about this later. What you’re about to see is a list of 23 Tips for Mastering Your Time.

23 Tips for Mastering Your Time

tips for mastering your time

To help you manage your time better, we put together a list of useful tips for mastering your time. For this, we recommend you take a piece of paper and write down the tips which you can implement without too much trouble.

Why? First, habits are easier to maintain if the changes you have to make for it fit your current lifestyle. And second, you’ll forget (some of) these tips the moment you leave this article. So, get that piece of paper and see if there are any tips you like. Let’s start with the first of many tips for mastering your time.

1. Do something useful while traveling

tips for better using your time

If you’re in the car for an hour every day you can consider listening to audiobooks about topics you want to know more about. The same applies to other types of transportation. Open a book instead of sitting on your phone. We got a list of 18 Personal Development Books if you’re interested!

2. Plan your day/week

For time to be used wisely, it can be helpful to plan your day and/or week in advance. This schedule can help with spotting things you need to fix to be more time-efficient. For example, if you see that you do groceries 4 times a week, try to do this in 2 trips in the future. In addition to this example, you can make a grocery list. This will save you time and money because you know exactly what you need to buy and because you will avoid impulse buying.

3. Prioritize what’s important

A lot of things you do are, to say the least, unnecessary. They take a lot of your time without adding much value. To do this correctly, you can use the Eisenhower Matrix. This matrix allows you to set priorities by importance and urgency. This will help you decide what to do first, and what to delegate. In this Article from MindTools, you’ll learn how to use this matrix.

4. Do important things earlier in the day

Multiple studies show that it’s better to do harder and important things earlier in the day. You’ll have more energy, make fewer mistakes and can think more clearly.

5. Wake up early

sleep is important for time management

Waking up early has some disadvantages, but after reading this, you’ll see that the pros outweigh the cons.

First, waking up early means you can avoid early traffic. There are fewer people on the road and you will get to work before the traffic starts. The same is true when leaving work. Because you start early, you can go home before the evening traffic rush. A win-win!

Finally, you can get more done in a day. You get to work before most of your team or co-workers get there and got more so-called ‘quiet time’ to focus on your tasks and priorities without everyone interrupting you.

This one was one of the eye openers for us in this whole list of tips for mastering your time. We recommend to write this one down!

6. 80/20 rule

The 80/20 rule suggests that 20 percent of your work contributes to 80 percent of what you want to achieve. This principle is also used with other business (and money) principles. When looking at a supermarket, for example, 20 percent of the products make up for 80 percent of the revenue. These are for example the ‘fast-moving-consumer-goods’ (FMCG) like milk.

Knowing this, we want you to think about which activities seem important but aren’t worth your time. Skip those or find a way to get rid of them. Focus on the things that are important.

7. Ask for help

When you got a lot on your mind or a lot to do at work, you can ask others to help you. Some think it’s a sign of weakness, but in another perspective it lets you focus on more important things.

8. Let others take over tasks that take too much time

delegate to use your time better

Delegate work that others can do for you. This can be someone in your team at work, a virtual assistant if you’re a business owner or someone who can do the task better and faster.

9. Start With Why and The One Thing

Besides a good read (if you haven’t read them yet) these two books use an interesting approach you can use to better use your time (and energy).

Start With Why suggest that with everything you do you ask yourself why it important or why it’s useful for you and/or someone else. By doing this you focus on what tasks and activities are worth proceeding. Learn more about this theory.

In the book The One Thing, the author introduces The One Thing Thing principle. We used a small example to explain this theory.

Say you want to go on vacation. The One Thing wants you to focus on figuring out the one thing you have to do (first) to make it happen. This strategy helps you with making a plan of actions points instead of tasks. Instead of trying to do everything at once or in a somewhat random order this books helps you to focus. Instead of packing your bag or buying an airplane ticket it wants you to think about what you absolutely have to do first to make it happenThe One Thing. It will look something like this:

  • Ask your boss for vacation days on Tuesday when you have a meeting with him;
  • When permission is given at the end of the week (Friday), look for places you want to go;
  • Decide where you want to go and look for plane ticket prices;
  • When prices are okay, book the vacation accommodation;
  • Buy a plane ticket for the trip;
  • Make a list of thing you need to go on vacation;
  • Buy things you don’t have but are on your list;
  • Wash your clothes and pack your bag;
  • Print your tickets a week before you leave;
  • Go to the airport and relax;
  • Have fun;

10. Set up goals and make a plan

set goals

Setting goals will help you to focus on the direction you want to go in life. Without a goal and plan to achieve those goals you’re wasting your time on things that aren’t important. Writing down your goals also make it 42% more likely that you will achieve them. In this article we put together a list of 5 Reasons Why Goal Setting is Important.

11. Say no more often

Saying no can be hard, but it’s important that you learn how to do this. Don’t just say no, but help with coming up with new ideas on how to resolve the situation. You can, for example, suggest another co-worker who got more time to do the task/project instead of you.

Now, you think you learned enough tips for mastering your time, because there are 12 more to come!

12. Don’t blame others for your results

blame others

Don’t blame someone else if something doesn’t go as planned. For example, don’t say you didn’t have the time to do it, while in reality you did but postponed the task and prioritized other things.

13. Have a good night sleep

Sleep is important to think clearly and to have enough energy on a day. Try to sleep for 8 hours every night. Although this tip sounds contrary to having more time, your time will be better used. It can also prevent you from having a burnout, stress or a depression caused by overtime at work.

14. Get off social media

social media wasted time

Social Media can be addicting. In most phones, you can see how much time you spend on each app. On your iPhone, you can see this for the last 24 hours or 7 days. All this time can be used on more important things. You will also feel happier, not constantly comparing yourself with someone else.

15. Time block certain hours of a day

Time blocks are certain hours on a day that are meant for working alone, without being disturbed. This can be a project or task at work, or something completely different like reading a book without getting disturbed. If you’re doing this at work, try to do it on a daily basis. Even your co-workers will get used to it when you do it at the same time every day. Some will even respect you for doing it.

16. Follow the 90-minute focus sessions

With this technique, you take advantage of the natural cycles of energy peaks your body produces. The technique is as followed: work for 90 minutes and then rest for 20 or 30 minutes. Learn more about this technique on Zapier.

17. Stop procrastinating and self-sabotaging yourself

Procrastination is something everyone experiences. It’s the destroyer of time and efficiency. When it’s hard, try to break a task or project is smaller tasks so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. The same is true for self-sabotage. We blame others, but in reality, we’re the one withholding ourselves to do something because of fear or discomfort.

18. Meditate and/or exercise for good mental health

meditate for a clear mind

Meditation and exercise can look time-consuming. However, the opposite is true. You’re less distracted, more clear-headed and will have more energy on a day. In addition, it also helps against stress and can prevent a burn-out.  

19. Don’t overdo it

Don’t try to be the most efficient person in the world. There is a difference in being productive and being busy. Don’t think you’re gonna be the next superhuman and burn yourself out.

20. Make lists/scripts to do things you do often, quicker/faster

If you find yourself doing a certain task more often, try to make some kind of script, list or guide to complete te activity faster. It will take time at first but will benefit you in the long run.

21. Organize your house

organize your house

Really? Being in an organized environment helps with being (and feeling) more organized. Think about it: Will a messy house with your desk full of trash and other things motivate you to start working?

22. Don’t try to do everything perfectly

When you’re working on a project or something, look at the bigger picture and don’t focus on every detail. Remember the 80/20 rule from earlier? Often these detailed things take more of your time than you think. Therefore, ask yourself: are they really that important?

23. Learn from your mistakes

Don’t make the same mistake over and over again. Learn from them and try to do them differently in the future. Also, remember that mistakes are there to learn from. Don’t wind yourself up over them but look at them with a different view. You’re a self-learning machine!

Here you have it; All the tips for mastering your time! We hope you wrote down a lot of these tips. If you’re interested in being productive you can check out other articles in the category Personal Development.

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