You can’t change the number of hours in a day, but you can fill them more efficiently, with less stress and mental effort. You’ve likely heard this before, and perhaps your past efforts at time management have been, well, a waste of time. But most people’s attempts to increase productivity get derailed by two virtues of modern living: technology and options. Today’s onslaught of tech — smartphones, iPads, search engines, social media — is fragmenting our attention spans, gumming our mental gears with useless facts, and turning us into surface-level thinkers. However all of these gadgets if used smart can actually save time. It is all about the planning and time management. The only thing as delightful as saving money is saving sweet, sweet time. Spend a day following these easy tips, and you’ll find you’ve suddenly got more time to spend having fun.
1. Sleep, food and exercise can boost your productivity, because they increase focus, motivation and energy levels.
2. The 2-minute rule: think fast if you can reply the email or make a call in two minutes time, if the answer is positive – do it right now, as postponing and thinking to do it later will take another five minutes from your time.
3. The 5-minute rule: try to switch your way of thinking when it comes to accomplishing task – instead of focusing on how to finish it just work 5 minutes on it. You’ll find out that most times it continues well beyond the 5 minutes, as you enter a flow state, thus you will kill the procrastination.
4. Seinfeld’s productivity chain: in order to be good at something, you have to do it every single day, even on your birthday, Christmas or Easter. There are no exceptions.
5. Tiny habits , highly linked with the 5-minute rule, helps you create good habits quickly. It does work, proved by many.
6. Your memory sucks. You can’t memorize every single thing, that’s why you have to take it out of your head. Write it down, type on the phone or laptop, it doesn’t matter.
7. As few tools as possible. There are plenty of to-do managers among which Cultured Code and Google calendar are basically the most effective. However you may use anything you like until you get the next rule.
8. Routine beats tools. You need a discipline, that’s why it is recommended to make a plan for a day and write it down in the morning in few thesis. It will help you to stay sane, prioritize well, scrap useless tasks, and do what matters. You can literally save hours with this technique.
9. Pomodoros. That’s timeboxing—for exactly 30 minutes do one task only. No such distractions as Facebook, mail or phone. Only emergency counts, otherwise stick to the half an hour task.
10. Always wear your headphones. You don’t have to listen to music, but it will discourage people to approach you.
11. Email scheduling and inbox zero. Make a schedule for checking your emails by trying to do it not oftener than 3 times a day: at 11am, 2pm and 5pm. Never check it first thing in the morning or in the evening, you will kill a bunch of time like this. Clear it: every message should be an actionable task (link it from the to-do app), a reference document (send to Evernote or archive), or should be deleted now.
12. Same thing for phone calls.Unless it is not required by your job, you don’t have to be always available. Keep on silent mode in order not to be distracted.
13. Batch small tasks. Like mail, phones, Facebook etc.
14. MI3. Most important three tasks. Start with the most important first thing in the morning.
15. Willpower is limited. Make important decisions in the morning and automate everything possible (delegate, batch etc). US presidents don’t have to choose their menu or suit color everyday — otherwise their willpower will be depleted at that late hour when they should push (or not push) the red button).
16. The most powerful thing. Always ask yourself what is the most powerful thing you can do right now. Then apply rule #4.
17. Ship often. Don’t polish it too much — as they say in the startup world, “If you’re not ashamed of your product, you’ve launched too late!”
18. Scheduled procrastination. Your brain needs a rest too. So don’t force it to work all the time, make a time-lapse for watching your favorite series and turn off completely for an hour.
19. Delete. Say No. Ignore. Don’t commit to schedules. This statement belongs to Marc Andreessen and is really awesome, because it allows him to meet whomever he wants on the spot. You don’t have to do things for other people especially if you don’t really care for them, and do it just to be recognized or appreciated. Is it worth of your time and effort?
20. Fake incompetence. It’s a diplomatic way to apply the previous rule.
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