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Increase Productivity with These 6 Time Management Tools

Increase Productivity with These 6 Time Management Tools

Technology has become a double-edged sword. While it allows us to connect, improve, perform, and leverage resources better than ever, it is often responsible for our decrease in productivity. The good news is that with the right apps and tools, you can use technology to your advantage and increase your productivity. Here are six, time management tools that can help to improve your productivity.

Rescue Time

One of the biggest reasons we lack productivity is because we aren't able to accurately keep track of the time our tasks take. If you have doubts that you’re using your time wisely, this app will provide you with a weekly report that shows you what things are stealing your time.

Remember the Milk

If you find that you struggle with managing everything your massive to-do-list, Remember the Milk is just the app for you. It's a free tool that is compatible with your computer, mobile device, Gmail, Outlook, and others. It helps you to manage all your tasks efficiently and reminds you of them no matter where you're at.

Focus Booster

Based on the Pomodoro Technique, this app is aimed at those who procrastinate and feel overwhelmed by their tasks. The app is designed to enhance your focus and helps to remove any anxiety you have with time pressures.

Toggl

With Toggl you can keep better track of the time you spend working on projects and tasks and is an excellent alternative to time-sheets. Effective time management starts with being clear on how much time you are actually spending on your projects and tasks, and then through careful analysis, working out how you can better manage them. 

Evernote

Evernote is a free productivity tool that lets you capture your thoughts, ideas, and images in a variety of ways. It allows you to record your meetings, ideas, and speeches, interviews, create lists, add text and voice attachments, and share files with your friends. To really optimize your time, you can also sync Remember the Milk with Evernote.  

Mind42

Focus on your tasks at hand with mind mapping. Mind42 is a free mind mapping app that will help you become more organized by focusing your thoughts. When you can better focus your thoughts, you gain more clarity on what you need to get done.

If you find your productivity is lacking, consider adding these six useful time management tools to your daily routine. Stop letting technology kill your productivity, instead use it to your advantage.

How You Can Boost Your Productivity with the Pomodoro Technique

How You Can Boost Your Productivity with the Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a philosophy of time management that is designed to provide you with maximum focus and creative freshness, which can allow you to complete projects quicker with less mental fatigue. The process is relatively simple. For every project or task that you need to complete during the day, you budget your time into short increments, of 25 minutes, and incorporate periodic 5-minute breaks. After you've finished four periods of work with 15 minutes of break time, then you take a 15-20 minute break before starting back to work.

How to Use the Pomodoro Technique

Start by choosing one task that you want to focus on. Get yourself ready by grabbing a pen and paper and a timer. Set the timer for 25 minutes and start to work on your task. Once the 25 minutes have passed, jot down your end time and mark your first period complete. Next, set the timer for 5-minutes to carefully time your break. Once your break is over, set the time for another 25-minutes and start on your next tasks. Repeat this process four times and then enjoy a longer, 15 to 20-minute break. 

Remove Distractions

If you want to be successful, you will need to remove all distractions before you get started. The purpose of the Pomodoro Technique is for you to focus on one task at a time without distractions that can kill your productivity.

Have Everything You Need

To get the most out of this process, you need to ensure that you’ve gathered everything you need to complete the task for the day and place them somewhere close by. This allows you to be more effective during the process, eliminating the need for you to spend time looking for items you need to complete the task.

Don’t Skip the Breaks

For you to remain focused and remain productive, you have to take the breaks. When the timer goes off, stop what you're working on and take your 5-minute break. This will help you to clear your mind a bit and get it ready to focus on the next task.

Record Your Thoughts

No matter how focused you are, you will always have random thoughts pop into your head. Rather than allowing these thoughts to derail your process, just jot down your thought on a piece of paper and get back to the task at hand. At the end of the day, you can look at the list of thoughts and make a plan to tackle tasks the next day.

To successfully utilize the Pomodoro Technique and boost your productivity, it is essential that you stay focused on your task for the entire 25-minutes. The only way the technique will work is if you remain productive for the whole of the 25 minutes.

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Setting Deadlines

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Setting Deadlines

Setting and meeting your deadlines is a huge part of whether or not you are productive or not. Setting deadlines and achieving them is an art that you can learn with some patience and practice. However, common mistakes can quickly derail your productivity and leave you struggling to meet your deadlines. Here are five common mistakes you want to try to avoid when setting deadlines.

Not Writing the Deadline Down

It's no big secret, that what we don't see, we often forget. It is vital if you want to meet your deadlines, to write them down on a calendar or somewhere you can see them on a daily basis. If you have a lot of deadlines to meet, it will work well for you to have a big calendar where you can write down the deadline on the day it is due. It is essential if you want this to work that you have to review your calendar daily.

Failing to Research the Options

If you have a deadline, you need to research all of your options before you finalize it. For example, if you have a big work presentation, make sure you do your research before you tell your boss when you can make the presentation. You might think that it will take you no more than a week, but after researching the topic, you may realize that it will take you more than two weeks to be thoroughly prepared.

Setting Unrealistic Deadlines

While you may have a ton of motivation, if you set deadlines that are unrealistic, you’ll do nothing but stress yourself out. When you have plenty of time to complete a task, there will be no need to rush. You will never be able to accomplish any tasks successfully if you are always rushing to finish it.

Having Too Many Deadlines

If you find yourself too stressed out, it may be because you have too many deadlines looming. You may have to take a look at each of your deadlines and either choose a different deadline or see if you can delegate the task. It is just not feasible, long-term, to be an overachiever because it is just too stressful. Learn to keep your goals balanced and create realistic deadlines for them.

Lacking the Steps to Reach Your Deadline

Divide your project into smaller chunks and mark a new deadline for each smaller task until the final project is completed. Dividing projects into smaller, bite-sized pieces is a much more feasible way to keep your momentum going.

Setting deadlines is an essential aspect of life. Without them, we tend to procrastinate. Take these tips into consideration so you can start to meet your deadlines and increase your productivity.

4 Reasons Why You Need to Utilize Time-Boxing to Improve Your Productivity

4 Reasons Why You Need to Utilize Time-Boxing to Improve Your Productivity

If you find it difficult to manage your time and get your tasks done during the day, you may need to start utilizing a time management technique known as time-boxing. Time-boxing requires you to allot chucks of time to each of your tasks. Once your allotted time for a task is up, then you need to move onto the next task. Here are four reasons why you need to utilize time-boxing if you want to become more productive.

To Prioritize Your Tasks More Effectively

If you have trouble prioritizing your tasks, then time-boxing is a technique you'll want to utilize. Time-boxing forces you to decide how you will spend your time. Since your tasks are contained and can't be done at the same time you have to choose which tasks have to be completed today versus tomorrow, or even in a week.

To Increase Your Focus

Part of being more productive is finding your focus. Time-boxing is a great way to increase your focus. When you permit yourself to work without interruption, great things can happen. Time-boxing allows you to settle into your work, approach a problem, hone your skills, practice your creative thinking, and get more done.

Know How Much Time You’ve Spent on Something

Have you ever wondered how much time it took you to respond to your emails, write a blog post for your company, or to shop for your mom's birthday present? When you time-box your tasks, you not only create a finite set of tasks to accomplish within a specified period, but you also create a record of how you spent your time. This information can be beneficial if you need to enter detailed information into time sheets at work, or if you want to better manage your time in general.

Never Set a Deadline

Deadlines drive the very nature of time-boxing. You set a specific timeframe for completing a task or project as you go. If you have trouble setting deadlines for larger projects and tasks, you might want to start out small by time-boxing your daily tasks. This will give you more and more practice reaching your deadlines on a regular basis, eventually allowing you to translate this towards completing your more significant projects and tasks.

Learning how to utilize time-boxing to complete your tasks can help you significantly increase your productivity.

3 Simple Ways to Use a Calendar to Increase Your Productivity

3 Simple Ways to Use a Calendar to Increase Your Productivity

There has been plenty of discussion about how a calendar can fit into one's productivity system. The general rule is that you add scheduled appointments to your calendar, and your tasks should be placed into the task management system that you use. However, what often isn't discussed is precisely what appointments you should be putting in your calendar to maximize your time best and ensure you're staying productive. Here are the three types of appointments you should add to your schedule to create an effective productivity system.

General Appointments

These are the regular appointments that you may schedule throughout your week. These would be appointments for the doctor or business lunches. They are relatively general regarding defining an appointment, so they need to be treated as such. These kinds of appointments can be moved if needed, given enough notice is provided, and both parties can make it happen, though you should try to avoid moving them in most cases.

Self-Appointments

These are the appointments that you make with yourself. They can be in the form of blocks of time that you schedule so that you can work on projects and tasks without interruption. You can transfer these kinds of appointments, but it is more beneficial if you can try to create a framework so that they stay as static as possible.

You want to pick a time during the day when you can work in 90-minute intervals on a regular basis so you can create a habit and improve your productivity. Break up the time with breaks where nothing is set in stone. You might even want to take larger blocks and break them down into smaller chunks using The Pomodoro Technique so that you can move from task to task. You want to keep these time blocks nimble enough that you can move them to other hours of the day if needed.

Team Appointments

Team appointments are for when you need to bring a team together. The best way to get these scheduled is once you’ve already locked in the other two types of appointments on your calendar. While doing this can make it more difficult to plan these kinds of meetings, you can use tools like Doodle, Google Calendar or Tungle.me to pick optimal times where most of the team can be present.

When you can keep in mind the three types of appointments that you have at your disposal, your calendar will become a tremendous tool that will allow you to create time and space for yourself and improve your productivity.

6 Ways to Improve Your Productivity

6 Ways to Improve Your Productivity

Highly productive people are an asset to any company. They are noticed and rewarded accordingly. Although there are many tips to improve productivity, these are the 6 Ways to Improve Your Productivity.

1. Prioritize - Make sure to follow an order of importance when planning your daily workload and set time limits on how long you will spend on each project or activity. Work out your schedule to complete daily tasks, rather than having deadlines hanging over you for multiple projects. You will be better to concentrate on the work at hand if you know of other tasks have been completed successfully.

2. Delegate - One of the best, often unused, resources you have are your team members. A leader is only as successful as the people they have working under them. Give your employees greater responsibility and you will be amazed at how much you are able to manage your own time.

3. Organize - Having to dig through paperwork or searching for information online at the last minute is a big waste of time and it makes you lose focus. Always plan ahead and have all your important documents organized to make them easier to find. Better yet, delegate this task to one of your employees while you work on your other priorities.

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4. Make time for yourself - Learning to manage your time is not only a business priority. Men and women who succeed have a good balance between their professional and personal lives. If you are able to manage your constructive work day, you will feel better about relaxing when it ends. Even the most ambitious chef needs to have time for them to stay mentally healthy.

5. Work smart - While the number of work hours is important, the quantity and quality of work is even more important. Do not be afraid to ask for help when you have difficulties with a task. Leverage the resources available to you - your peers, the elderly, Google and other resources to work. Do not spend too much time trying to understand things when you can talk to a colleague who can help. 

Also, consider steps that can be eliminated or find smarter ways to perform certain tasks. 

6. Take breaks - As silly as it sounds, the breaks are an important part of the working day. They offer the opportunity to rejuvenate by taking your mind off work for a bit. The danger, however, is taking unnecessary breaks or spending too much time socializing during breaks.

When used appropriately, breaks improve productivity by ensuring that you do not get burned before the day is over.

Being productive at work not only helps the company, but it also helps you get better at managing time and before long all that hard work will be noticed and rewarded.

6 Productivity Hacks That Will Help You Reach Your Goals Faster

We’ve only got limited hours in a day. With so many things and so many tasks to finish, you’d want to be as productive as possible. In this article, you'll learn about 6 productivity hacks that will help you reach your goals faster.

  • Get enough sleep

Sleep is so important that it has to be at the top of this list. When you don’t get enough sleep, you have trouble concentrating at work. Your mind seems to drift every so often to thoughts of hugging your pillow in bed.

Caffeine is a short-term fix to help you focus, but when you’re consistently not getting enough sleep, your productivity is going to go down a lot.

  • Make mini-goals

Don’t be overwhelmed by your seemingly larger-than-life goal. Have a daily to-do list, a weekly and monthly checklist.

Breaking down your goal into mini-goals makes it easier for your brain to process.

Everytime you tick something off your list, you feel positive, and it motivates you to continue doing your tasks. You can measure your progress, too.

  • Put on some music

This is going to be a matter of personal preference, but many people swear by the power of music.

Generally, it’s classical or instrumental music that people listen to when they want to concentrate on their tasks.

Of course, you’re your own person – you can listen to any type of music that helps you focus.

  • Keep distractions to a minimum

Find a quiet space to work in. If you’ve got other people in the room with you, try putting on noise-canceling earphones to block out the sound.

Let your teammates know though so they can tap you if they need something from you.

  • Take breaks

Breaks are always helpful in helping you recharge your energy and your productivity. You can go for a quick run if you’re feeling really stressed, or a quick nap if you need to.

  • Stop multitasking

When you multitask, you tend not to give your best. You’re trying to get as many tasks done at the same time so you can’t focus on any one of them.

Your productivity will be affected if you juggle far too many tasks at once. Focus on one task, give it your whole attention, and watch what happens to your productivity!

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