Wouldn’t it be nice if there were more hours in the day? Until we find a way to make that happen, your best option is to practice good time management to make the most of the day. Here are five strategies that help me make the most out of the day.
1. Sleep early, rise early
Getting sufficient sleep lets you wake eager to take on the day. Everything starts with a clear and focused mind. Additionally, waking early lets you get in some extra work time before the rest of the world wakes up and you get buried in emails and phone calls.
People who practice sleeping early and rising early tend to be more productive and are highly attentive to small details. I swear that sometimes I get more done between 5 and 8 am than I do the rest of the day.
2. Plan out the day
Before you dive headfirst into the day’s work, write a list of day’s tasks you need to accomplish and see if it is achievable. Better yet, don’t “write,” but instead put it in a task management system. Me? I use Things for Mac.
Do you have a large task that must be done? Put that first on your list. By making a realistic list of what you can accomplish for the day you hold yourself more responsible and are more likely to complete it.
For me, I organize my to-do list the evening before, using Things. That way, when I start the next day I can jump right into what is most important.
3. Organize your email
If you’re like me, you’re wading through hundreds of emails per day. Literally, hundreds. When you work as an SEO consultant or other desk job, emails are unavoidable. However, how you manage emails can be addressed.
Set email rules and filters to automate the organization of important emails and the separation or deletion of non-important emails. You can save hours from wasted time in your inbox. For me, I only check emails once or twice per day. This allows me to be less distracted, more productive, and keep my sanity.
4. Listen to music
Listening to music that you like can help you think more creatively and keep more calm. When you let music take you to a relaxed or dialed-in state of mind you can crank out hours of work in the blink of an eye.
I love Pandora One. I can listen to the music of my choice without any commercials or distracting audible interruptions. I also like SimplyNoise.com. You’d be surprised at how peaceful “noise” is.
5. Use your break time efficiently
Do you check your favorite social media app or your favorite blog during a break? Not me. I can’t do anything online for my breaks; otherwise I don’t detach and feel like I had an actual break. Not being able to mentally check out from what I’m trying to take a break from – the internet – means I come back more exhausted. This is the same reason that I don’t have my emails synchronized to my phone, and I don’t login to my computer after hours. If I don’t definitively detach than it mentally exhausts me.