The Holidays can be especially stressful with more things to do in addition to your regular workload. If you feel starved for time during the Holidays, if you struggle to stay focused and you don’t know how you’re going to get it all done, try using these 10 Time Management Strategies to stay productive.
10 Time Management Strategies to Stay Productive during the Holidays
1. Plan every day the night before. This is in preparation for getting the next day off to a good start. At the end of the day, take a few minutes to take note of what you accomplished. Check completed tasks off your list. Record what you accomplished during the day no matter how small or insignificant. This will help you recognize your achievements and will give you the incentive to keep moving forward. If you didn’t accomplish as much as you intended to get done, how did you spend your time? How productive were you? What blocked you from being as productive as you wanted to be?
Map out your goals and create intentions for reaching your goals for the next day. Map out everything you need to get done and how much time you think everything will take. This will give you an idea of the pace in which you need to move through each project or task. If you know you have to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time, you’ll move yourself along more quickly.
2. Re-prioritize. Reorganize those items you still need to accomplish the following day and make sure you tackle the most important work first. Block all your goals, projects, tasks, meetings and appointments into your calendar with designated times so you’re ready to get started when you get to work. Let your calendar run your day instead of letting your day run your calendar.
3. Start at the end and work backwards. Identify your deadlines first, then work back from that time to estimate when each project needs to be started and completed in order of importance. Move deadlines up for projects prior to the due date, to account for unforeseen circumstances that may cause delays. This gives you a cushion to get things done on time or early.
4. Get yourself organized. This time management strategy is critical. Check the weather, lay out your clothes the night before, pack a lunch, and organize your paperwork so you won’t be rushing to get out the door.
5. Get enough sleep the night before. Research shows that adults need on average 7 hours of sleep to function optimally during the day. You may need more or less. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep, so you can wake up refreshed and stay focused and productive throughout your day.
6. In the morning, get into the right frame of mind. Create an intention to stay present in each moment, so you can remain focused and productive. This will help you stay in control of your time when things get off course. This presence of mind and awareness of how you spend your time will help you sort out which activities you should be doing at the appropriate times.
This perspective will give you freedom, confidence and the perception of having more time because you’ll be more aware of your time and how you’re choosing to spend it. When you use this time management strategy and work this way, you’ll be less likely to waste time on distractions and unproductive activities and you’ll start to see immediate results.
7. Eat Breakfast before you head to work. Studies show we are far more productive when we start off the day with a nutritious breakfast. Instead of skipping a meal, get into the habit of eating or bringing something with you to work. Grab a power bar, smoothie or fruit salad with some protein. Skip the empty calories. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you need good nutrition to sustain your energy throughout the day. If you don’t have time to go food shopping, use an online grocery service to order and deliver your groceries so you have food in the house.
More Time Management Strategies to Stay Productive
8. Get to work earlier. This time management strategy is used by many highly productive executives and business leaders. Changing the time when you wake up and getting to work earlier can help you get more done before the office is filled with people.
9. Systemize activities during your day. While working on short-term goals, make room in your life for your long-term goals too. Stack similar activities in blocks of time like handling email, making phone calls, running meetings, visiting clients or doing shopping. Your brain functions better when you do similar activities in a row.
10. Take time for yourself. Many highly productive executives start their day with exercise, meditation or personal time. This has a very positive effect on your energy level, your brain and your ability to stay focused throughout the day. You need time to yourself in order to regroup and maintain your energy so make sure you build time for yourself into your calendar each day.
The issue is not whether we have enough time; The real issue is how we choose to spend the time we have. Today’s choices create tomorrow’s reality. You control what you think, say and do. You have a choice when it comes to how you spend your time. If you incorporate a few of these 10 Time Management Strategies into your day, you’ll stay productive, especially during the Holidays.
Kathryn McKinnon is a Harvard Business School executive coach, time management expert, bestselling author, speaker and CEO of McKinnon & Company dedicated to helping executives, leaders and business owners achieve the best results with their time. More time management strategies and best practices are found in her bestselling book, Triple Your Time Today! on Amazon, in her Executive Coaching, Keynote and Signature Training Program 7 Time Management Best Practices of Highly Productive Leaders. If you want to discover ways to reduce chaos and stress, boost your energy, improve your efficiency and consistently gain more productive time, Kathryn solves this. Contact her: McKinnon_Company@comcast.net or sign up for more free training, 20 Ways to Save Time at http://www.Kathryn-McKinnon.com