Updated: November 18, 2020
A friend recently told me that he admires my time management skills because I never seem to get overwhelmed by tasks.
Well, I told him that if I can be honest, I do get overwhelmed every now and then.
However, I’m able to handle it quickly by following a set of rules that I created for myself whenever things start to pile up on my to-do list.
I often think of it as a “productivity first-aid” whose goal is to prevent things from getting any worse, i.e. missing an important deadline, forgetting to do a necessary task, and responding late to an urgent matter.
What are these rules? Here they are.
Put everything on your to-do list.
Never rely on your brain to remember everything that you need to do. Break down big tasks into smaller tasks, and write it all down. And remember that there’s emotional satisfaction, which comes from crossing items off, so make sure to do that as you accomplish your tasks.
Give each task a priority. I use the Eisenhower Matrix or the Urgent-Important Matrix to give myself a proper perspective. Needless to say, those that are urgent and important comes first.
Choose your daily BIG 3.
Accept the fact that you can’t do everything. So for the next several days, decide on 3 tasks that you’ll ruthlessly prioritize for each day. Be sure to put everything else on the back seat so you can put all your time and effort into finishing your BIG 3.
Do an hour of 5-minute sprints.
Create a batch of 10 tasks that can be finished in 5 minutes and set an hour to accomplish them. For instance – paying bills, replying to an email, filing a document, scheduling a social media post, among others.
Schedule a time for rest.
Energy management is as important as time management. Include time for rest and recreation into your schedule. I usually take quick 5-minute breaks every hour and a longer 30-minute break every 3 hours.
Learn to say NO.
Easier said than done, especially if it’s your boss, an important client, or a loved one who’s asking. But it’s important to learn how to refuse additional responsibilities when you already a lot on your plate.
And that’s it. I hope this list can help you with your own time management and productivity as much as they do with mine.