Top 10 Tips for Time Management and Curbing Distractions

Long gone are the days where if someone wanted to contact you, they had to pick up the telephone and give you a call. These days it’s all about email, Facebook messaging, Google+, Twitter posts, Text messages – not to mention the countless on-line chat applications (Skype, Google Talk, MSN, Yahoo)… and that’s only looking at the communication channels in your life!

Now lets throw in a few to-do lists (that’s right, plural – I’m sure you’ve all got multiple lists of stuff you need to get done), some personal goals, work commitments and of course all your other responsibilities around the house such as paying bills, chores etc… and before you know it you’re completely overwhelmed and your productivity slows down to a proverbial crawl as you’re frantically switching between tasks to try and get it all done!

Well there are things you can do to regroup, reprioritize and get your life back under control again. For those who haven’t already downloaded their copy, I’ve got a great eBook on Goal Mastery on my Facebook page which offers some terrific (and well established) goal-setting strategies that you can use to bring back your bigger picture objectives back into focus again. Define these life goals first so you know what your real priorities are, then follow my Top 10 Tips for Time Management (below) to regain control of your day-to-day tasks, so you can stop merely treading water and start to move forward again:

  1. Remove Clutter in your life – it’s incredible how when you clean up your surroundings, it subconsciously also cleans up the clutter (and distractions) in your mind.
  2. Switch off your email – Each time that notification popup draws your eye away from your work, your mind wonders off with it also. If you can compress your daily emails to 1 hour at most, you’ll achieve so much more during the rest of your day.
  3. Multi-task can be the enemy – sometimes it’s good just to focus on one task, and one task only and see it through to completion.
  4. Prioritize – Order to your to-do list so that the important things are the ones you target first.
  5. Know Thy Self – Some people work better in the mornings, others are more productive late into the night. Work out when your body’s peak performance period is, then organise your to-do list around that.
  6. Meetings and Appointments – Further to the item above, don’t schedule meetings or external appointments during your peak performance period (unless it’s a job interview)
  7. Schedule external appointments during off-peak periods – not just referring to your body’s peak periods, but this also applies to any kind of peak-hour period such as morning traffic or lunch times. By getting to the bank even 15 minutes before the 12-2pm lunch time, you’ll be straight in and out with minimal time wasted in queues.
  8. Reward Achievements – Don’t let your life become 100% about completing work tasks. Aside from being extremely un-motivational, you’ll only end up burning yourself out. So remember to make sure that self-time is on your to-do list, and take the occasional well earned break to recharge, regroup and refocus on your next priority.
  9. Block out time – If you schedule it in, then you’re committed to getting it done (or at very least make some good progress toward completing it)
  10. Out Source! – Possibly the most powerful time on this post. Learn to leverage other people’s time to achieve your own goals. Whether it be an individual task (such as getting your kids to take out the garbage, or mow the lawn) or hiring someone to take care of your ironing. Ask yourself, what your time is worth to you – and if it works out cheaper to hire someone else to do that task, then you’re ultimately saving time, and your sanity!

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