3 Simple Time Management Tips to Help You Get More Done in Less Time

Do you get distracted easily throughout the day?

Do you have the best of intentions of getting things done, but for one reason or another, it just doesn’t happen?

I‘ve had more of a challenge with distractions recently.

I’m not exactly sure why, but I suspect it has to do with so much going on in the world around us.

And yes, I’m aware that on average, humans now have shorter attention spans than goldfish.

So that doesn’t make it any easier!

Plus, I’m a relatively new freelancer, so this type of time management is different from when I was in a corporate job before the pandemic.

Anyway, I knew I needed to stop letting these interruptions and distractions get the best of me.

However, I didn’t know the best way to handle this.

I thought I’d heard about all the top time management tips before, but apparently not!

I recently learned 3 valuable time management pointers from some great coaches.

I wanted to share them with you, if you feel like you can use some help in this area.

Here goes:

#1. Get a Timer That’s Not on Your Mobile Phone

Whenever I’m writing during the day, I constantly get interrupted and distracted.

So, I started setting time on my iPhone for 45 to 60 minutes at a time.

That proved to be a really bad idea…

When I’d go to set my iPhone timer, I immediately got distracted by dozens of app notifications, endless breaking news stories, and several random text messages.

And what did I do 99% of the time? I’d say to myself,

  • “Oh, I’ll just answer this one text message quickly.”
  • “Oh, I want to skim this breaking news article for a few seconds.”
  • “Oh, while I’m thinking about it, let me put in my Instacart order.”

And lo and behold, 30 minutes or more would go by — and that’s if I was lucky.

So, I bought myself a hexagon timer (see the cover photo of this article).

Special thanks to my coach Angie Colee from Copy Chief for her simple, yet brilliant suggestion to purchase this timer instead of using my phone.

What a difference it has made!

I now put my mobile phone in another room for a couple of hours at a time and bring my trusty hexagon timer with me.

I set my timer for 45-50 minutes and work. I don’t let myself do anything else but the task at hand.

Then I take a 15–20-minute break and do something completely different. Then it’s back to my original task for another 45–50-minute session.

The length of the time doesn’t really matter, but I have found that two-hour time blocks work best with the break in between.

I’m amazed at how something like a simple timer can make such a marked difference as to how much I get done each day.

#2. Find Out What Productivity Method Works Best for You

Here is this really useful time management quiz Andy Brenits shared with me. Andy was a guest coach in Ilise Benun’s AWAI GRO Business Incubator program.

It’s a quiz on Todoist.com that helps you identify what productivity method(s) would work best for you.

It only takes about 5 minutes (how’s that for time management?), but it identifies what productivity method is appropriate for you based on your answers.

Todoist Productivity Management Tool

I got the Time Blocking Method when I completed the quiz.

However, there are features from all these methods I could easily identify with.

Time Blocking involves blocking off chunks of time on your calendar to complete certain tasks.

The idea is you’d focus only on those tasks.

Time Blocking is for anyone who:

  • Has trouble staying focused.

  • Wonders at the end of the day where all the time went.

  • Juggles many different responsibilities throughout the day.

Before each week begins, look at your calendar and all the tasks (small and large) you need to complete. Then plan your schedule accordingly.

Here is a visual example of time-blocking on a calendar (right side). 

As new tasks come up during the week, you can adjust your calendar as needed.

Time blocking can best be summed up in this quote: “If you don’t control your calendar, your calendar will control you.”

You can read more about the time blocking method here.

#3. Tailor a Productivity Strategy That Works for You

In addition to Time Blocking, there’s another method Andy told us about that I’d like to test soon (in tandem with Time Blocking).

It is called Getting Things Done or GTD.

The productivity expert David Allen invented this. He authored a best-selling book of the same name.

You can also learn more about this GTD technique here.

GTD is for anyone who:

  • Wears many hats.

  • Is often overwhelmed by the number of tasks they have

  • Starts projects, but then has trouble finishing them. 

Here are the 5 main steps of GTD:

1.  Capture Everything-Capture anything that needs to be done, regardless of the size of the task. You can put these tasks into a physical or digital “in-box” of your choice.

2.  Clarify-Process each task and categorize them into projects, next actions, or reference materials to be filed.

3.  Organize-Sort all of your tasks. Update your calendar, delegate projects as necessary, and file reference materials.

4.  Review-Go through and update your lists often.

5.  Engage-Start working on the important stuff.

Do This All in Good Time

As we all know, daily interruptions will never go away.

However, we can minimize these frequent distractions through simple and proven techniques that help us to stay focused and get more done in less time.

Finding a system that works for you could mean saving several hours each week.

I think most of us want to work smarter, not harder.

I know I do.

P.S. I really had to put these time management tips into practice this week since my internet was down for most of Monday!

Dina Marovich

Marketing Consultant, Direct Response Copywriter & Advertising Strategist. Meaningful results for your business.

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