Everyone gets the same 24 hours a day. But you feel like a hamster running on its wheel.
You’re working your butt off, but your progress sucks.
So what’s the secret to getting things done?
Check out this list of fantastic time management hacks.
- Hacks to prime your mind & body for success
- Tips to get stuff done
- How to manage your time
- Learn to decide (faster)
- Get better focus
- Bonus hacks
- Time Management FAQ
How different would your life be if you stop wasting your time on tasks?
Better Time Management for a Better Life
Successful people use time management strategies to organize and plan their daily activities. They know how to get things done!
Everyone gets 24 hours a day. What you do with your 24 hours determines what you will get in life. – Improve your time management skills
Some people are naturally organized.
Others look for effective time management hacks because their hair is on fire.
Tired of running around like a chicken that lost its head?
Take a deep breath and relax.
It’s almost impossible to think and plan anything when you’re in panic mode.
The time management hacks in our list will upgrade your organizational skills and reduce stress.
Are you busy or productive?
The sad truth is that you can be busy all day – without getting anything important done.
What a waste of time. This leads to
- high stress levels
- poor work quality
- inefficient workflows
- missed deadlines
- a bad reputation
- self-doubt and a guilty conscience
But it doesn’t have to be like that. You can stop wasting time and get more productive.
So let’s dive right into your time management tips.
Time Management Hacks That Set Your Mind & Body up for Success
1. Sleep enough and rise early
If you rise early, you can work on your to-do list before your regular day takes over.
Reserve at least 30 minutes in the morning for yourself.
And start your day with a big glass of water to hydrate your brain.
It’s also important to relax when you need a break. It’s hard to get anything done when you’re tired and cranky.
2. Plan your day
Take a few minutes to list the tasks you want to accomplish today.
If you define your goals, it’s much easier to stay on track. Without a plan, you’ll be at the mercy of whatever gets thrown your way.
And then you go mindlessly from activity to activity. That’s why you need to set your priorities before your day starts.
This time management hack may seem counterintuitive.
How do you get anything done sitting around with your eyes closed?
But meditating for 15 minutes can sharpen your mind. This makes you more productive and creative during the day.
Don’t use meditation to rattle off your to-do list in your head.
Your goal is to calm your mind to prepare for the challenges of the day.
4. Move your body
When my hair is on fire, I surely have time for exercise…
We all have different priorities.
But try to move a bit in the morning – even if it hardly qualifies as physical activity.
Jog in place or do a few jumping jacks to get your blood flowing.
Also, your muscles love a good stretch after a long night’s sleep.
Your body will appreciate the movement – and snap out of zombie mode to actively start your day.
Time Management Hacks to Get Stuff Done
5. Make a to-do list for a better time management
To-do lists are fantastic time management tools if you use them correctly.
You can find great tips on how to supercharge your to-do list here.
Making a list helps you organize your time and gives you a sense of accomplishment.
Ticking off completed tasks can feel epic.
So, list all the tasks you want to do.
If possible, add the order of priority, especially for urgent tasks.
But be realistic.
An overwhelming to-do list is useless. It only adds frustration.
Use time management hacks to make your life better, not worse.
6. Eat your frog – do the most unpleasant thing first
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first”. – Mark Twain
Dragging your feet never helps. The awful task you put off will be on your mind all day.
Procrastination is the anti-time management hack.
What a relief when you can check the worst activity off your list.
And this motivates you to finish the rest of your to-do list.
But if the task is truly overwhelming, start with something easy. You’ll gain positive momentum and motivation to tackle your unpleasant task later.
7. Schedule important tasks and plan enough time
Research shows that we are far more likely to complete tasks if we plan when and where we will do them.
So try and schedule important activities.
Pro tip: Make sure you block a longer time slot than you think you need.
Big tasks tend to be tedious and complex. And we waste a lot of energy on them.
But if you plan for the extra time, you can get a grip on these tasks you have been (secretly) ignoring.
A fixed time and date mentally prepare you for the task and avoid distractions.
8. Create templates
Templates are magical for your time management.
You surely have recurring activities that are always the same.
Templates take time to create.
But you’ll save precious hours once you use them.
Do you write the same email several times a week?
Don’t start from scratch each time.
Create a template and switch out what needs to be changed.
You need to calculate monthly payments, for example, for a nanny?
Set up a spreadsheet that automatically fills in her paycheck when you enter the hours she worked last month.
9. Time Management hack: Batch activities
Batching similar activities like phone calls, emails, or errands into a single chunk is a great time management hack.
You naturally do this when you run errands. It’s quicker to go to all the shops before you return home.
The same is true at the office.
If you’re already in “phone-mode”, make all your calls one after another. This way, you can knock them off in dedicated sessions.
Likewise, write all your emails before you switch to the next activity.
Batching is far more efficient than a phone call here, an email there, and sorting your files for a bit.
So, when you have several activities of the same type, do them all in a row.
10. Touch tasks once for a better time management
Without time management tips like this one, you waste precious minutes that add up over time.
Each time you pick up a half-completed task, you have to remember what it’s about, and what you need to do next.
Maybe you even have to check old emails to get back up to speed. All this remembering and searching is bad for your productivity.
It’s more efficient if you complete tasks in one go.
Whenever possible, finish the task you started without switching to something else.
Manage Your Time With These Tips
11. Use a calendar app or notebook whenever you can
As a kid, I was super proud that I didn’t need to write homework assignments in my notebook.
Today, if something is not on my calendar – it’s gone.
Free your brain and let your calendar app remind you of tasks and appointments.
Don’t waste precious gray matter on something you can outsource that easily.
12. Set a timer to complete tasks
Have you heard of Parkinson’s law? “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
The more time you have, the longer it takes you to do the work.
I can fiddle with projects forever. Unfortunately, all this extra tweaking may not be worth it.
Talk about time management…
That’s why a timer is a powerful time management hack.
When you know you get 45 minutes and not 1 minute more, you hurry.
You’ll make decisions quicker instead of wasting an hour to get this one thing just right.
Next time, try a timer.
13. Set deadlines
Are you task-oriented or deadline oriented?
When you set yourself a deadline, it can help you get things done.
Even if your deadline is technically made up, it helps to have a finish date.
Don’t use a ridiculous delay, though.
If you set yourself a date, you have to mean it.
If you don’t commit to your deadline, you’ll just postpone it – making this tip useless.
14. Famous Time Management hacks : Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a famous time management hack created by Francesco Cirillo. You will need a timer, even if this is not the same tip we saw earlier.
This is how it works: you set your timer to work for 25 minutes. When the time is up, you take a 3-5 minute break. Repeat this four times.
Each interval is called a “pomodoro” as in the tomato-shaped kitchen timers.
After you’ve completed four 25-minute periods, you get a 15-30 minute break.
Then you start over: 25 minutes of work/ 3-5 minute break, with a longer break every four intervals.
This time management hack is so wildly used that you can even get a Pomodoro app.
Who would have thought that breaks make you more productive?
This is because your productivity plateaus after a while. Planning tiny breaks ensures that you can refresh your mind.
15. Make good use of your peak times
You’ve probably noticed that your brain is more or less performant depending on the time of day.
If you’re a morning person, your peak performance may be at dawn – while a night owl may prefer to work at dusk.
Once you know when you’re most productive, you can tailor your daily tasks to that period.
In the spirit of better time management, do creative or complex work at your peak performance time.
You can save less strategic activities (like sorting your inbox, uploading files, or routine paperwork) for periods when your brain is naturally more sluggish.
Productivity Tips: Learn to Decide
16. Focus on smaller tasks instead of the whole project
Large projects can be daunting. Even paralyzing.
When you think of everything to do and the time it will take, you don’t even want to start.
So, don’t think about all the complications. Focus on what you can do right now.
Break huge projects into small and manageable tasks.
What can you realistically do today to make progress?
When you get stuck
Sometimes you can get stuck with your project without realizing it.
You get stuck because you lack information – but your mind only registers that you’re procrastinating.
When you “don’t feel like doing anything” it could be because of missing information.
To unblock yourself, get everyone’s input, so you can continue working on your tasks.
17. Organize your day around what matters to you most
In a perfect world, what matters to you most should determine how you spend your time.
So, if your family is your top priority, you plan your day to get plenty of quality time with them.
If you live and breathe for your passion, then that should get the most of your time.
When you get clear on your priorities, you can manage your time accordingly.
And if you can’t focus on what matters to you, you may need to make some changes in your life.
Check out Warren Buffett’s 5/25 rule and learn how to set your priorities to be successful.
18. Limit yourself to 3 priority tasks per day
When you have too many priorities, nothing is a priority.
So, an important time management technique consists of limiting yourself to three priorities per day.
When you plan your day, decide what you absolutely need to get done – and what is purely “nice to have”.
This FREE downloadable daily planner makes planning easy!
19. Focus on the next important task
Time management strategies shouldn’t be overwhelming.
So it’s important not to get consumed by your to-do list.
You probably cram more in there than you can handle in one day.
When your mind gets overwhelmed by options, it shuts down.
So, keep your brain sharp and concentrate only on the next task you need to complete.
This works especially well with this trick to make the best to-do list ever.
20. Decide faster to improve your time management
Of course, it’s important to make well-informed decisions when it matters.
This productivity tip is not about being hasty.
But not all decisions are crucial. And they don’t need to be mulled over.
Limit your decision time when there’s no risk.
Don’t get stuck in analysis-paralysis over every single topic.
Simply make a choice and stick with it.
Time Management Hacks for Better Focus
21. Isolate yourself
Your brain needs peace and quiet to function best.
So what can you do if you’re stuck in a cubicle with noisy co-workers?
Even if it’s background noise, it’s still distracting.
If you can’t shut your door (because you don’t have an office) try noise-canceling headphones.
Even regular headphones.
Calming or instrumental music can also help.
Just avoid your all-time favorite pop songs. They would be counterproductive.
22. Avoid nonessential meetings at all cost
Meetings can be a huge time drain, especially when they are mismanaged.
Ever been in a meeting where the conclusion was to set another meeting?
Avoid them at all costs.
If you’re required to go, you can’t do anything about it.
But at least get clear on your goal for each meeting.
Is there information, a decision, or approval you need to move on with your tasks?
Make sure you get them before the meeting is over.
And if you can control the duration of the meeting, keep it as brief as possible.
23. Limit unnecessary emails
Do you still get newsletters you don’t care about?
Even if you delete them directly, you lose precious minutes that add up over time.
The cleaner your inbox, the better.
It’s an obvious tip, but your time management improves if you only get emails you’re excited about.
24. Write short and on-point emails
Be as efficient as possible in your emails.
Unless you need to be particularly social, keep small talk to the minimum.
No fluff. No rambling.
This doesn’t mean you have to be unfriendly.
But the clearer you are, the less back and forth is necessary.
25. Don’t check your emails immediately
Real-time emails are distracting.
When you focus on the activity at hand, you shouldn’t be interrupted by your inbox.
Set fixed times to check your inbox and answer emails – rather than reacting to them in real-time.
But make sure to clear this with your boss.
26. Turn off your smartphone notifications
Just as with emails, phone notifications are distracting.
Turn them off completely, or limit them to the bare minimum.
27. Designate a time to check your Social Media
If you ever went down the social media rabbit hole, you know how bad it is for your time management.
To avoid distractions and temptation, it’s better to limit your social media access to specific time windows.
Every interruption breaks your flow.
Getting lost in the Bermuda Triangle of social media may be fun. Sadly, it doesn’t help you make progress with your to-do list.
28. Organize and get rid of clutter
When your hair is on fire, things tend to pile up on your desk – and in your home.
This signals to your brain that you have even more mess to take care of.
Remember our tip earlier about your brain’s not so peak times?
Declutter your surroundings during these moments, since you don’t need much brain power.
This can also help you find items more easily (unless you know that the invoice is under the red binder behind the green folder).
At the very least, this tip will reduce your visual stress cues.
Bonus Time Management Tips
29. Don’t shoot for perfection
Perfectionism is an incredible time waster – and destroys all hopes for time management.
This tip is not about settling for mediocre quality.
But many results are reasonably good long before they are perfect.
It’s enough to do a great job, while perfection is overkill.
As Sheryl Sandberg said: “Done is better than perfect”.
You can aim for perfection after you’re done. If you still have time.
It’s unbelievable how much time I could save if I let good be enough. It’s a constant struggle.
30. Treat yourself
Yes, time management can also be fun.
Everyone needs a pat on the back every once in a while.
Especially when you’re working on tedious or complicated tasks.
So, reward yourself for completing even routine tasks.
For this, I recommend the marble jar method.
You put 100 marbles in a jar. 10 of those should look different from the others.
When you’ve finished your routine task, you pick a marble from the jar (no peeking!).
If it’s one of the regular marbles, nothing happens.
You just leave it out of the jar.
But if you pick one of the special marbles, you get a reward like
- a bubble bath
- some ice cream
- a Netflix session
- reading a few pages
- some fresh air
Whatever you love to do.
This way, you randomly get a reward for routine tasks.
31. Say “No” for a better time management
This last time management tip is also difficult for most people.
You were surely raised to be helpful. But you have to get your priorities straight.
For everything you accept (to do for others), you’re saying “no” to your own goals and priorities.
You need to train your “no-muscle” so you don’t end up with activities you shouldn’t be doing.
Whenever you can, kindly but firmly decline.
Accepting all requests hurts your success.
Time Management FAQ
What is the importance of time management?
Excellent time management skills impact your entire life. The better you prioritize your tasks, the easier it is to finish your projects within the deadline. This reduces stress, improves the quality of your work, and leads to better career opportunities. You also have more spare time.
What is good time management?
Good time management means you are a conscious planner and make thoughtful decisions. You focus on your priorities and don’t get distracted from your do-do list.
What are the 4 categories of time management?
The 4 Ds of time management are: Do, Defer (Delay), Delegate, and Delete (Drop). It’s not efficient to do everything yourself. Put your tasks into these 4 categories to manage your limited time more effectively – and stay focused on the activities that matter most.
What is the result of great time management?
Great time management makes you feel confident and in charge of your life. The more competent and capable you feel, the higher your self-esteem. The higher your self-esteem, the more productive and capable you’ll be.
You’ll also have more energy, be more productive and sleep better.
What causes poor time management?
The main causes for poor time management are vague goals, a lack of priorities, and a lack of planning. So, ask yourself what you are trying to do. And how you are trying to do it. Is this the best way to get it done?
Can you sleep better with time management?
It’s hard to fall asleep going through your virtual to-do list. So, write down all your tasks for tomorrow before you go to bed. You’ll sleep better and wake up more refreshed.
Plus, better time management gives you more control over your day – which makes it easier to fall asleep.
What is the most important word in time management?
The biggest time saver and your greatest ally is the word “no.” And the more you use it, the easier it becomes.
Whenever someone asks you to do something, ask yourself, “Would this be the most valuable use of my time right now?”
You can’t improve your time management if you waste time on low (or no) priority tasks.
What is the most important question for successful time management?
Always ask yourself “What is the most valuable use of my time right now?”. Then do that!
Why Time Management Matters
Time is the most important asset you have – and these 30+ Time Management Hacks help you make the most of it.
You want to invest your time into learning, growing, and taking action to reach your goals.
Constantly thinking about your entire to-do list isn’t only draining but counterproductive.
It stresses you out.
So download your FREE PDF to stay focused, organized, and save time for what you really want to do.
Which of these time management tips is your favorite?
Special Productivity Tip: I recommend you get a free time management app like Clockify (no affiliation, just something I use) that allows you to track how much time you spend on what.
You might be surprised.
I hope these time management hacks gave you at least one new idea to make you more productive.
Improve yourself. Improve your life!
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