When I was in school, I never heard the word ‘productivity’ - it was a foreign word for me. However, I was doing my homework on time, self-studying, playing outdoor games with friends, having family time, and even having the time to fight with my brother. I was productive but there was no external pressure around being productive. No additional competition. Nothing. Nada.
Now even twelve years olds are talking about building productive habits however, they are struggling most days.
Why? The answer is simple. They are chasing ‘productivity’ with multiple distractions - let’s install this app and let’s take this course on productivity. Productivity is nothing but using your time efficiently. Yes, you might not able to complete your tasks - because you have too many. That’s where time management enters.
This is the concept I think every student from the science stream must have struggled with at least once. If juggling between JEE/NEET coaching classes & school has taught us anything, it’s time management.
The way we used to give priority to coaching classes, however, two days before the submission day of assignment used to become all about school.
Productivity and time management go hand in hand. Once you understand how you need to manage your time, your free time will also be productive.
Let’s understand some ways to manage time.
Ideas to manage your time:
Managing your time means decluttering your mind. Having all the tasks you need to do written on the paper in front of you.
Most of us forget that apps exist to make our life simpler. You don’t have to master how a particular app works to manage your time or work. Simple paper & pen works. You always have a spreadsheet for numbers & graphs if needed.
Let’s see some ideas around time management.
#1 You own your time
If you don’t have time to do something, it means it’s just not a priority. Stop saying ‘i don’t have time’ instead, use ‘i choose to do xyz now’ and you will learn to use your time intentionally.
#2 Yes or No
Either it’s a hell yes or a simple no. Saying yes to every opportunity when you are young makes sense but as you progress, you have to choose a few tasks only. How do you decide if you want to do something or not? If a task doesn’t make you all excited, it’s probably a NO. Taking those tasks only that you can fit into your calendar should be the priority. Getting most out of the day not scheduling most of the day.
#3 Daily update
Set one highlight of the day means one task that should get done by the end of the day. Other tasks can be there on the to-do but this highlight is the priority for the day. Making this highlight on paper works more - because when you write it down, it gets real.
#4 Calendar blocking
This is something I did back in 2021 and it worked nicely. Block your calendar if you have a monotonous routine. The ability to stop doing something because that was the time dedicated to it makes the task more entertaining for other days. The best kind of tip is to be productive and get done most of the work.
#5 The famous Parkinson’s law
It says the time we allocate for a particular task, takes that much time. For example, if you dedicate an hour to understanding complex numbers, you will take an hour for that. However, if you decide that it will take you twenty minutes to understand the concept, you will learn 90% of the concept in twenty minutes only.
#6 Protect your time
It means dedicating a few undisturbed hours to a task or yourself while handling the business or a startup. You need those hours to make a productive decision for your business or a startup. You can’t dedicate your whole day to networking or sales, etc.
The most important if you are a startup founder. There comes a time when your only task should be taking important decisions, not doing the work but seeing if the manager is handling it right or not. Delegate all the tasks that give 20% output but take 80% of the time.
An easy and interesting hack. Automate tasks as much as you can. Give time to the tasks on the first day, so that you can automate them for as long as possible. Making that expense sheet template with the pivot table in place & all the functions will save you time every month.
#9 The choice to choose
Giving freedom to choose satisfaction even if you completed 60% of the tasks daily. Time management is not a one-day process. It’s like putting pillars in place to construct the building. Construction will take time but will be worth waiting for.
Now that you know a lot about time management, it won’t matter if you don’t execute. Also, understand moving in a direction takes time in comparison to moving anywhere with no particular destination in mind.
So if you think, it’s time taking, yes it is. However, it’s helping you move in a direction that will finally get you to the destination.