Too Busy? No Way! These Successful People Share Their Secret Time Management Hacks
Sometimes, it would feel like a 24-hour day is just not enough to do everything that you want to accomplish. There’s always a mountain of e-mails to answer, a pile of bullets in your to-do list, and a pile of books and magazines collecting dust in your shelf that you never just got around to reading.
One of the keys to success, as they say, is effective time management. And with so many distractions out there, it’s hard to stay focused on productive.
But if these successful people can do it, why can’t you? Here are some practical and completely doable time management hacks that these successful people have been utilizing to make each day as productive as they can.
Make use of idle time well
In this digital age, there really is no time for idle time. Although travel time is longer than ever with traffic, and lines to the bank is time-consuming as can be, there are always opportunities to use these idle times to your advantage.
Instead of scrolling through your Facebook and Instagram feed, or playing round after round of arcade games on your phone, why not turn these dead zones into productive moments?
Best-selling author Tony Robbins of the self-help book The Ultimate Guide to Time Management advises people to make use of these moments to start a reading habit—minus the actual reading.
People are scrolling through more articles than ever but are reading less than ever. Many people are now reading fewer books in general, too, which makes average reading comprehension lower nowadays.
One of the usual excuses for not picking up a book or a long article is the lack of time. And to solve this, Robbins suggest to turn to audiobooks or podcasts instead. Listen to audiobooks during your commute, or listen to a podcast during your morning or afternoon exercise. This makes for better knowledge and information than the idle time we spend on social media sites.
Schedule empty spaces on your calendar
It’s tempting to pack your schedule with tons of meetings and to-dos. Breakfast meeting from nine to ten, client meeting from ten to eleven, e-mail sorting from eleven to twelve, working lunch from twelve to one, and so on…there really is no space to breath! Literally!
Take this advice from Bill Gates, once the wealthiest man on the planet: it's crucial to schedule dead space into your daily planner.
According to Gates, he has always been overscheduled because there is no time on his planner to make way for unforeseen circumstances or emergencies. If you leave breathing spaces on your day, this gives you the flexibility to adapt throughout the day as a one-hour meeting surprisingly drags on for two, or a client shows up late for your schedule.
But if all goes to plan, then hoorah! You’ll have little moments to splurge on a nice quiet cup of tea and a newspaper, or maybe a short phone call to your family who you haven’t talked to in a while.
Create a well-scheduled work and break timetable
The minute you arrive at your office desk, what do you do? Do you immediately schedule meetings at the start of your day? Do you immediately receive inquiries and complaints from your officemates to handle as soon as you sit down?
According to Elizabeth Grace Saunders, founder and CEO of Real Life E Time Coaching & Speaking, it is crucial to protect the first hour of your every day and use it to set the mood for your whole day.
“I find that it helps immensely to not have meetings to start my day. During this first hour, I take time to organize myself, including completing my daily plan, getting an email in order and taking care of other small, time-sensitive tasks. This allows me to come at the rest of the day from a place of clarity and strength. I feel prepared for my meetings and know which larger tasks are most important for the day,” says Saunders.
After a productive first hour, then you can start tackling the bigger and more daunting tasks ahead such as negotiating with clients, meeting with your team, and brainstorming sessions.
But as far as schedules go, if you schedule all your work in a day, it is also crucial to schedule all your break times—and stick to it. Taking a break is essential to refresh your brain and give you that boost of energy and positivity from the dull and dreary humdrum of work.
What’s a great way to spend your break? Tina Willis, head of a boutique law firm in Orlando, says that a quick run or exercise in the middle of her work day proves to be a good way to boost her energy and keep her stay on track mentally throughout the day.
Willis says, “I work in the morning, then go for a run, then come back and get back to work. The run helps me stay focused when I am working, which helps me make the most of that time.”