You only need three simple techniques to optimize your workflow, reduce distractions, and maximize productivity.
I am a productivity geek. And for the last five years, I’ve been wondering how I could improve it and get more free hours out of my days. I wish I could have at least 26 hours daily to do everything I wanted. But unfortunately, I cannot control time. So gathering that could make me effective is the only solution left.
Also, productivity comes with a lot of sacrifices.
You have to learn how to be consistent and practical. And for that, you must pay attention to each task to understand if it gives you any advantage. Unfortunately, only a few will, so you will remove most of them. And, sometimes, this behavior can transform into a course.
So here are 3 time-management secrets that doubled my productivity. But first, let’s see how to fight the productivity course.
How To Fight the Productivity Course
Relaxation is an essential factor for a highly productive person. If you don’t rest, your performance will decline, and you will burn out soon.
Sometimes, procrastination is an indicator your body uses to show fatigue. But if you only focus on productivity, you will filter everything else with a negative bias. And you will try your best to remove it.
Here is the productivity course. And it will damage your rhythms and good habits if you focus too much on it.
It all starts with removing useless tasks that could give you more time. And that is beneficial because procrastinating all day long is futile. But then, you will remove the few activities that help you relax after long sessions of hard work. Your body will revolt, making you procrastinate even longer. And you will live an unhappy fight against your well-being.
So instead of maximizing time to become more productive, you must optimize what you have. And these three time-management secrets can help you with that.
1 — The mystery of tier lists
When I wake up in the morning, I only focus on the most meaningful task of the day. So when I schedule my day, I usually rank the most critical ones. Thus, I reduce the uncertainty overhead because I already know where to start.
How can you even work on something if you don’t know which task matters the most?
Tier listing is a crucial activity in productivity optimization. It helps you schedule tasks and guarantee you finish the most important ones.
So every time you plan your day, try to understand the top three activities. And then start working on the first right away.
But what if you don’t know how to rank them? You can use some tricks to find the most relevant task:
- Long-time Reward. Usually, thanks to delayed gratification, you can reach higher goals. Therefore, privilege long-time reward activities.
- Effect on your Well-being. Activities that help you relax or fulfill your dreams should rank higher on your priority list.
- Necessary Activities. Some activities are essential to your life, like shopping or cleaning the house. And they will consistently rank high. Otherwise, you would live a miserable life.
2 — The timing plan enigma
I used to make stupid errors with my tasks in the past. For example, I scheduled more than I could finish in a day, so I always had to postpone them. And at the end of the week, I had only completed half of them.
I was reckless. But things changed.
Now I got used to knowing my timings. So every time I have to start a new project, I always worry because I don’t know how much it will take me. I struggle to put it into my routine, and it takes time to get used to it. But once I do, I hardly miss a schedule preview.
If your timing plan is an enigma, two things can happen:
- You may think a task takes less than it does, overload your day with too many activities, panic, and give up.
- Or you will schedule too few activities, have a lot of free time, and, eventually, start procrastinating and waste most of it.
So the results are the same, and the sweet spot stays in the middle. Therefore, your schedule should have two to-do lists:
- To-do → contains the activities you know you can do because you measured your timings.
- To-do at Best → contains the activities you should do if you finish everything else and still have free time for working.
And if you want to know more about how to measure your timings, I built a flexibility guide you can use.
3 — The riddle of the batching system
Multitasking has fooled many people. But doing too many things at once affects your efficiency because it causes a residual attention problem that prevents you from reaching your top-level performance.
If you focus on too many things, you cannot dedicate enough attention to any. Therefore, you can’t reach a deep work state of mind, and simple tasks will take much longer to complete. So why would you ever want to do that?
Multitasking is evil. Yet, you could try batched tasks as an alternative.
There’s extensive research on the reasons why batched tasks work. For example, in Batch Processes, T. Cameron wrote about their advantages, challenges, and various techniques to use them.
But how can you set up such a system in a short time?
- First, list all the usual activities you need to schedule.
- Then, group those activities into categories. You shouldn’t need more than five or six. And the grouping may consider similarities in environmental and mental requirements.
- Once you finish, schedule each category’s fixed time zones (batches).
- And then assign at least one to-do and a few to-dos at best tasks to each time zone.
So you will have an organized list of tasks to complete and information about when to work on them.
If you are a productivity geek and want to get more hours out of your days, you could follow the 3 time-management secrets that doubled my productivity.
- First, unveil the mystery of tier lists and use them to rank your tasks from the most to the least relevant.
- Then, solve the timing enigma. Analyze and understand how much it takes you to complete each task to plan it better in the future.
- And last, decrypt the batching system code. Learn to split your tasks into categories and work on each of them. Avoid multitasking and improve your performance.
These three simple time-management secrets helped me double my productivity. And they can do the same for you.
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Cover photo by Stas Knop from Pexels for 3 Time-Management Secrets that Doubled My Productivity.