The irony of time-management techniques
is that they can end up wasting your time. “Every person is different. We have different brains, personalities, traits, tendencies and circumstances. There’s a lot of productivity advice out there that isn’t wrong so much as it doesn’t work for you,” says Alexis Haselberger
, productivity and time-management coach and consultant.
“And a lot of the time, you won’t find out what does work for you until you try. For instance, there’s a lot of productivity advice out there about waking up early and getting a jump on the day. Well, that doesn’t work for me (or for any other night owls I know). But that doesn’t make me any less productive.”
When considering time-management methods, Haselberger says you should always keep in mind two golden productivity principles
It’s not about the tool, it’s about consistency. Tools are helpful, but if you have inconsistent practices, the tools won’t save you.
Interruptions and distractions are the biggest productivity killer. Turn off notifications and the expectation (real or perceived) of immediate response on all communication channels and productivity will increase immensely.
Now that you’re equipped with the right mindset and approach
to making the most of different tactics, here are nine time-management techniques that are worth you and your team’s time, according to Haselberger.
1. Writing it down
First, she says you should avoid relying on memory for time management: “It doesn’t work and it’s stressful.” She recommends using a task-management app
, spreadsheet, bullet journal, or any other method that allows you to get your priorities out of your head and onto a paper or tool.
is her personal favorite task-management app and one she recommends to her clients. “I would estimate that TickTick saves me between 5 and 10 hours a week,” she says. “It’s easy to use, it has all the features you need (and none of the ones you don’t), it has comprehensive recurring date features, and it seamlessly syncs between mobile and web.”
3. Breaking it down
The best technique to manage tasks, beyond having a tool to support you, is breaking things down. “Define the smallest next step to move any task or project forward and do that. The next step will then become obvious. This tip helps stop procrastination in its tracks,” says Haselberger.
4. The power of “no”
Now, once you have a clear focus and the right tool, it’s super important to learn how to say no
. While you may not view this as a time-management technique, it’s probably one of the best ones out there.
“Even if you’ve already said yes, sometimes you need to take stock of what’s on the list and remove, delegate or outsource some items. Being productive isn’t about doing all the things, it’s about doing the right things,” adds Haselberger.
If you want to shave off even more hours out of your busy week, a proper scheduling app is a must. Calendly
is one of the best out there, and it allows you to give people access to a pre-set calendar and book you without needing to coordinate availability back and forth.
But you can leverage it even further by creating different event types (team meetings, discovery calls, etc.) and settings around a maximum amount of time per meeting, meetings per day, and even buffer times between meetings.
“This allows maximum control of my schedule while allowing others to schedule time at their convenience with no back and forth. Calendly probably saves me at least five hours per week,” shares Haselberger.
6. Advance planning
“If you spend the last 10 minutes of your day making a realistic plan for the following day you can actually mentally disconnect from work on evenings and weekends and you can avoid having to muster up a lot of activation energy to just get going in the morning,” she adds.
“When you sit down to tackle your list. you’ll already have a prioritized list of what you plan to accomplish that day and can just start executing without sitting there thinking what should I do first/next?’”
7. Intentional breaks
Speaking of being able to properly disconnect outside of work, the importance of recharging so you can get more done cannot be understated. Being as intentional and rigorous about taking breaks during the day
as tackling your deliverables is key.
“When you feel yourself starting to fidget, starting to feel unfocused like you can’t go on, take a break,” suggests Haselberger. “Instead of fighting yourself to double down on focus, instead, listen to your mind and body and go for a walk around the block, to the kitchen for a glass of water, or just read a few pages, listen to a short podcast, or even scroll social media for 10 minutes. Studies show that breaks improve productivity, focus and creativity.”
You probably spend a lot of time writing documents or emails. There’s a genius hack for maximizing this time, and it’s an app called TextExpander
“It allows you to expand snippets of pre-written text in any app on my computer (email, docs, web forms, etc.). Instead of spending time writing and rewriting similar answers, or searching email and docs for templates, in a couple of keystrokes, I’m able to expand whole templates and paragraphs, including links and formatting. It’s truly amazing!” says Haselberger.
9. Hive‘s My Actions
Lastly, it’s helpful to have a place where you can go to see everything that you need to do and prioritize your tasks. That’s where Hive’s ‘My Actions’ comes into play. It’s one-stop to help you visually see what is on your list and check it off as you go. We help you — and your team — move faster.
What's your no. 1 piece of productivity advice? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss'ers!
This article originally appeared in Hive — the world's first democratically built productivity platform. Learn more at Hive.com.