Knowing how to manage your time is key to being productive and, most importantly, happy.If you don't know how to organize your day most effectively, here are some tips for you.
Do you ever get to the end of the day dead tired, but with the feeling that you haven't been able to organize the day?
It sounds absurd, I know. Yet that is what happens when precious energy is wasted because of disorganization mainly due to a Poor time management.
Until recently, it happened to me a lot, too, then I started to study from different authoritative sources (to begin with I point you to this Forbes article - in English) and figuring out how I could improve my personal performance.
At first I couldn't focus on one thing, I used to fill my schedule which then punctually I was struggling to respect. Each task took me longer than necessary, and I had the constant feeling that I was behind on everything.
A growing frustration, nervousness running high and a lot of dissatisfaction that was reflected in all aspects of my life.
There, at some point I realized that I could not continue like that. I had to Find a way to better organize my day If I wanted to get results.
Building a new routine to improve the personal productivity is not an easy task. One needs to set rules for oneself, and most importantly, be able to stick to them. It is not enough to have many good resolutions if you do not have the constancy to follow them and put them into practice.
That is why it is important to work hard on one's motivation before starting. Otherwise, at the first difficulty, everything will fall apart.
If you don't know where to start, I suggest you continue reading this article. In the next few paragraphs you will find several tips on how to better organize your day and achieve your goals.
How to organize your day: 9 strategies
#1 Get enough sleep and if you can wake up early
You will be surprised at the amount of things you can do by pointing the wake up at 5 a.m.. At that time the world is still sleeping. You, on the other hand, have a chance to devote a part of your day to yourself and the projects you never get to do.
During the early hours of the day distractions are virtually zero. The phone doesn't ring, e-mails are slow to arrive, and everyone is asleep but you. There's you, alone, with your projects and passions.
If you can overcome the trauma of the alarm clock, you will soon realize how productive these moments are. You will probably get most of your work done between 5 and 8 a.m.
During the day, things are different. Hundreds of WhatsApp messages, notifications from social networks, sudden phone calls and emails arrive, wasting a lot of our time. Ignoring them is really difficult, and so the time is stretched out of proportion. In the early morning, however, it's a different story.
My personal experience on this point is extensive, for a time I woke up early and I can assure you that this brought enormous benefits to the tasks I had to complete, with enormous benefits to the time management of my whole working life.
The other side of the coin is that if you wake up very early in the morning, then you have much less energy in the evening and have to find time to get enough sleep.
The right balance came some time later, with a Good trade-off between waking and sleeping hours, without sacrificing the latter. In my specific case, I noticed that I achieved greater concentration and personal productivity if I slept at least 7 1/2 hours a night.
So OK to wake up early but even better to figure out what is the right amount of hours of rest we need to get the most out of it.
This method is very effective if you know how to use it. A to-do list is not a simple to-do list-you can't fill it out in a hurry, in 5 minutes, just before you start working. Or rather, of course you can, but don't expect it to bring you great results.
A well-made to-do list requires a good dose of calm, planning e organization. You have to find the ideal time in the moments when you are calmest. If you wake up early in the morning that might be the time, if you can carve out a calm moment in the evening, do it in those moments.
Many people like to be able to organize ideas in the evening, just before they go to sleep.
Marco Montemagno, in the interview I did with him some time ago (video - podcast), he explains how ideas for his videos often come to him in the evening just before bedtime or when he has already mentally bypassed the day.
Then take advantage of the evening relaxation or morning quiet to set priorities for the next or current day.
If you do it in the evening, this simple ploy will help you rest better and wake up with less anxiety because, in principle, you will already know what's coming.
If you do this in the morning, you will have a clear picture of the day ahead to face with a clear head.
But be careful not to overdo it!
Make a short list, which contains from 3 points to 6 points maximum. The more points you enter, the greater the temptation to prioritize marginal (but easier) tasks in order to cross them off the list. The risk is to leave out the larger tasks and then find yourself racing against time to complete them.
Don't forget to Set a maximum time to devote to each task.
#3 Create working blocks without interruption
Another very effective strategy for organizing your day is to set on your agenda some moments to work without interruption. Blocks can be 15, 30, 45 or 90 minutes in length, you decide according to your pace and needs.
No distractions of any kind are allowed during these sessions. The reason is very simple: if you keep interrupting what you are doing, you will end up getting nothing done (and feeling exhausted anyway). Don't let others dispose of your time; you decide how to use it.
Most people underestimate the power of proper planning and mistakenly overlooks the time management. At first glance, it seems like a very tedious task, which, moreover, takes a lot of time.
The truth is. planning one's commitmentsi is critical Not to succumb to the pressure. Having a clear idea of things to do before you start helps you not to panic, as long as you have been truthful and honest with yourself.
What do I mean?
That it is necessary to plan the days according to the real rhythms of each person, otherwise we will not be able to fulfill even a commitment made to ourselves.
Some trivial but effective examples: if it usually takes you 6 hours to write a post for your blog, there is no point in planning an editorial calendar of 60 articles per month.
No one is going to judge you for this, but it will serve you to realize where things stand and what you can do to change direction. In this case, you could perhaps try to shorten your writing time, or delegate the task to someone else.
Once you have filled your agenda with to-do lists, try grouping similar tasks into a single block of work. You may not know it, but our brains become faster and more productive when they perform the same task over an extended period of time.
This means, simply put, that after a while of working on a task, it will take you half the time to complete it. So write all the articles for your blog in one day, then devote another day to planning social campaigns, then set a day in your schedule to devote to personal branding, one to marketing strategies, and so on.
Organizing your day is essential, but that won't shield you from the unforeseen events that are always lurking. Make sure you leave enough room in your schedule to handle them so that you don't find yourself at a deadline.
I usually do this: I keep the number of macro task not exceeding 3 and I try to optimize them o shatter them Into smaller tasks. For me the tasks are always 3, but in reality there will be many more things to do. This in case of unforeseen contingencies, however, means being able to attack a task and having brought some of it home, even if it is minimal.
Another ploy is to leave the In your time and agenda management, some buffer zones which you can fill with contingencies or you can use them for a treat, stimulate your creativity or get ahead on the next task.
Breaks have the same importance as an intensive work block. You cannot expect to work at a fast pace and with maximum concentration all day long. Such a day is not sustainable (or even realistic).
Try to avoid distractions while working, but don't forget to take a well-deserved break after a busy productive session. Go to the gym, run, meditate, in short, do whatever you like to recharge your batteries.
In addition to these macro breaks you absolutely must give yourself shorter and more frequent breaks. Every 45 minutes give yourself at least a 10-minute break, and please follow these simple guidelines:
1. Taking breaks does not mean staying at your desk or in front of your computer. Get up. Your body needs movement and your blood needs to circulate.
2. Taking breaks does not mean taking your cell phone And get on social media. Look up, stretch your field of vision (look at things far away from you) and don't get caught up in digital notifications.
3. Drink plenty of water! That our body is composed of water you already know from elementary school, but you may not know that our brain consumes the most water. If you drink water, you not only rehydrate but also improve brain cell function and wake up.
4. Try to do something that is completely different from your job duties. Do you have a hectic job? Stop and meditate. Do you have a sedentary job? Walk and move!
5. Don't overdo the coffee. We Italians often combine a break with coffee, but too much coffee is bad for you. Don't overdo it, you only risk getting nervous, speeding up your heart rate and becoming somewhat dependent on the energy spikes it gives you.
#8 Do one thing at a time
But do it the best way you can.
Focusing on one thing allows you to concentrate better, stress less, and complete a task without getting distracted.
We are not meant to be multitasking, because switching from one activity to another within a short time confuses our ideas and dissipates our energy.
Rather, define your priorities and work hard to organize your day as best you can, one step at a time.
#9 Stimulate your creativity
It can happen that you feel drained after a period of hard work. In such cases there is only one thing to do: unplug and devote yourself to yourself.
You could take a day off and relax at a spa, or go to the movies to see that movie you've been waiting for. But you could also listen to music, rehearse with your band, go to the gym, go swimming, or simply take up that hobby you had abandoned or have been wanting to start for some time. All of this is to relieve tension and to Recovering one's view of the world, which is the real engine of human creativity.
Organizing the day: the most useful online tools
All right, you understand the importance of planning but you still don't know how to organize your schedule.
The good news is that there are a lot of online applications that can help you to monitor your schedule and the time you take to meet them. Once you delve into this aspect, you will also know how to organize your day.
Want some examples? Here they are:
- Toggl: is a time tracker, which is essential for understanding how you spend your time each day.
- Be focused: punctuates your work sessions according to time intervals inspired by the Pomodoro technique.
- Stay focusd: is a Chrome extension that blocks browsing on sites that take you too long.
- Trello o Asana: your online agenda, a digital calendar where you can collect your work projects and daily commitments.
- Todoist: the best way to organize your to-do lists.
Time management and organizing the day effectively is not easy. However, if you don't learn how to do it, you will find yourself paying a rather high price. You'll be forced to give up your free time to run after deadlines you've put off one too many times.
After all, it's all about creating a work-life balance. This is the real key to personal success.
So no more procrastination; it's time to take back your time.