Excerpts from James Clear’s Blog .3 Time Management Tips That Will Improve Your Health and Productivity
1. Eliminate half–work at all costs.
In our age of constant distraction, it’s stupidly easy to split our attention between what we should be doing and what society bombards us with. Usually we’re balancing the needs of messages, emails, and to–do lists at the same time that we are trying to get something accomplished. It’s rare that we are fully engaged in the task at hand.
Here are some examples of half–work…
- You start writing a report, but stop randomly to check your phone for no reason or to open up Facebook or Twitter.
- You try out a new workout routine. Two days later, you read about another “new” fitness program and try a little bit of that. You make little progress in either program and so you start searching for something better.
- Your mind wanders to your email inbox while you’re on the phone with someone.
Regardless of where and how you fall into the trap of half–work, the result is always the same: you’re never fully engaged in the task at hand, you rarely commit to a task for extended periods of time, and it takes you twice as long to accomplish half as much.
Half–work is reason why you’re able to get more done on your last day before vacation (when you really focus) than you do in the 2 weeks previous (when you’re constantly distracted)….
2. Do the most important thing first.
Disorder and chaos tend to increase as your day goes on. At the same time, the decisions and choices that you make throughout the day tend to drain your willpower. You’re less likely to make a good decision at the end of the day than you are at the beginning.
If you do the most important thing first, then you’ll never have a day when you didn’t get something important done. By following this simple strategy, you will usually end up having a productive day, even if everything doesn’t go to plan….
3. Reduce the scope, but stick to the schedule.
I’ve written previously about the importance of holding yourself to a schedule and not a deadline. There might be occasions when deadlines make sense, but I’m convinced that when it comes to doing important work over the long–term, following a schedule is much more effective.
When it comes to the day–to–day grind, however, following a schedule is easier said than done. Ask anyone who plans to workout every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and they can tell you how hard it is to actually stick to their schedule every time without fail….
Finish something today, even if the scope is smaller than you anticipated.