5 Time Management Tricks That Actually Work

by Barbara Clifford | Featured Contributor


Everyone fears procrastination and beats themselves up for not being disciplined enough to manage it. But we all do it, we all get distracted.


It’s important to find ways to ‘trick yourself’ into being more productive.


1. Find out what gives you greatest return for your effort.

From time to time it doesn’t hurt to take a step back, a moment to shift gear and participate in an exercise in mindfulness. Draw a quadrant on a page and label it as suggested in the diagram. In each of the squares write down the projects or tasks you are currently working on. Which ones are hard work, labor intensive (including brain labor) and which ones are easy work?  Which ones give a big result or impact and which ones give a low impact? What activity should you drop from the list?

2. Discover your productive zone and work there – even if it’s unconventional.

For example, I find I am really productive writing blogs when I am away from home.  Writing is a creative process for me.  When I am in a different environment or travelling, I find that I can think more creatively.  Can you use your commuting time to do productive things? Or maybe go to a coffee shop and use noise cancelling headphones.

3. Create a ‘BackBurner’ folder.

You can easily get lost down a rabbit hole when a great idea strikes you. You start writing, researching, brainstorming when really you should have been finishing that report. Create a file where you can capture all those ideas, books to read etc. I like to use Evernote.

4. Understand the Power of No.

Think about this for a moment. The power of your yes comes down to how well you can say no.  The things you say yes to will have more value if you are clear about what you can say no to.  Learn to pause before immediately saying yes, ask “Is this something you can have a go at yourself? or “Can it wait?”

5. Make an Appointment with yourself.

Women constantly spend their days working on other people’s needs. But how about our own needs? Schedule time every day with yourself – it is ME time and it is non-negotiable.  If someone asks to book that time, treat yourself like one of your clients or your boss and say “I’m sorry, I”m busy at that time, can we do it another time?”
These are just some basics, but if you can develop these as part of a routine, you’ll find yourself staying and feeling on track.

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