HappyMind | Time Management Cards

Time Management

18 ways to be more productive

We’ve curated a selection of ideas to help you on your journey to being more productive. Every one could make a big difference to your life!

There are 6 categories to inspire you. Pick 3 cards below to get you started then set a goal and make them work for you.

Many people sign up to receive a weekly card, there are 36 in the complete set, it’ll keep you focused and more mindful.

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Colourful rays of light converging into a triangle

Start with WHY

Start by asking yourself: “Why do I want to improve my time management?”

Is it to achieve more at work, to have more personal time, spend more time with loved ones? Having a real sense of purpose will make you more likely to achieve your goals. Write down why you are choosing to develop your time management skills to help keep you focused on what is important to you.

If you need inspiration read “Start with Why” from Simon Sinek or watch the TED talk. ​

Notepad with a pencil

To do or not to do

Plan your day! It’s proven that by making a list of things to do, you’re more likely to get it done!

To Do lists help you free up some brain capacity so you can focus on the current task. Start your day by writing down all the tasks you’d like to achieve and then get the satisfaction of ticking them off as you go.

There are hundreds of great apps, Microsoft Todo is a fan favourite! Many people find that writing it down on paper works better for them too.

Vehicle siren emitting sound

Urgent vs Important

“Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least” Goethe

Understanding which tasks to prioritise is a crucial aspect of effective time management.

Urgent and important are not always the same thing. Learning how to separate them will help you become better at prioritising.

The Eisenhower Matrix is a useful tool to guide you. You can find a great break down of it in Stephen Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.

Person with long hair raising hand in front of them

No way Jose

It’s easy to feel pressured into saying yes to new tasks or projects, especially coming from your boss.

Always saying yes can have a negative impact on the rest of your work, your relationships and most importantly your well-being. Lots of people find saying no difficult , so find ways that work for you.

Try saying this – “Thanks for thinking of me, however given my current workload, this is likely to affect other deadlines, so I’m keen to talk about the impact of that before I commit’.

Superhero flying above kryptonite crystals

Find your kryptonite

All of us have certain activities we spend waaay too much time on, so what’s yours?!

These activities can be work related like clearing email or going to meetings, or they can be non-work related like checking social media or watching YouTube.

Finding your kryptonite and looking at how you can optimise or diminish your time spent on these activities could give you a lot of time back to achieve other things.

Cup of tea steaming

Take a break

We often use our breaks to check social media, send a quick message etc. But that’s not a real break, we’re just moving from one task to another. Instead, try having screen-free breaks.

For those of us who use computers a lot, it’s important to give our brains a screen-free break. A quick walk or a breathing minute will help you be more focused, relaxed & creative.

If you tend to stare at your computer for hours, set reminders to take some regular breaks.

A person surrounded by electronic devices and various electronic notifications

Look at me!

Get rid of distractions, both virtual and physical ones.

Meetings, hunger, devices, kids and even well intentioned colleagues can prevent you to fully focus. Try to minimise distractions to get in the flow.

Put some headphones on to filter noise & distractions. Check out sites like Noisli and Whispr to help you focus.

Playbook on a clipboard

Strategise

Set some of your goals for the month and beyond. Longer term planning helps you stay on track.

Personal and professional development is crucial for growth in and outside the workplace. If you don’t set time for it, you’re unlikely to get it done!

By acquiring new skills you’ll learn new and often better and faster ways to do things. Make sure to spend some time every week on your own development. 

Person dancing surrounded by musical notes

What’s your biorhythm?

We all have different personal biorhythms. Are you more of a morning, afternoon or evening person?

Discover your peak energy times and tackle your most important tasks when your energy is high. Deal with less brain intensive task during your energy dips.

Emails is a good example of tasks that are not particularly brain intensive, take care of them when in your less productive time of the day.

Hand holding a slice of cake

Sharing is caring

It’s not easy to let things go. Sometimes we struggle to delegate tasks or to ask for help.

Maybe you enjoy doing those tasks or you don’t trust your team. Whatever the reason, it’s important to learn what jobs can be delegated and to whom.

Using apps like Trello or Asana can make the delegation process easier.

Clock being packed inside a box

Timebox

Schedule a fixed slot of time in your calendar for a specific task.

Timeboxing is a great way to lock in time for a specific task. For a set amount of time,  you (and your brain) will solely focus on the task at hand.

Think of it as scheduling a meeting, during that time you’re fully present and don’t allow distractions.

Bottle of water with a label depicting a target

Sharing is caring

Raise your hand if you’ve gone for hours without drinking because you’re too busy? 🙋🏽‍♀️

Drinking at least 2 to 3 litres of water per day will help you stay fresh, focused, and energised. Have a large bottle of water with you and drink it throughout the day.  

If you tend to forget, there are apps or even smart bottles that will remind you it’s time to drink. 

A desk with a plant and a computer with a smiley face on the screen.

Tidy desk, tidy mind

Tidy up your desktop, both your physical desk and your computer desktop.

Studies have shown that clearing clutter from your work environment, will help you to process information more quickly and increase your productivity.

Sorting out your file system on your computer can take some time, but it will be incredibly beneficial in the long run! 

A calendar inside a balloon that is about to get popped

Pop it in

Use your diary to schedule your task for the day or the week.

By allocating time for your different tasks and objectives, you’re more likely to get things done! Be realistic, some tasks will take longer than expected.

Find a calendar app that works for you and fits into your workflow. Microsoft Outlook had all the options you need to get started!

Documents stacked on top of each other

Batch them up!

To help your efficiency group similar tasks together and get them done one after the other. 

Batching certain tasks into an allocated time, each day or week can help you to become more efficient. Group by location, type of task, creative vs logical etc.

For example, schedule all your meetings for a week into one afternoon or reserve 30 minutes a day to take care of emails.

4 people standing together as a group

Pick your entourage

Negative people are like energy vampires, stay away from them. 

Negative people are a significant source of distractions, they also suck your energy out. Surround yourself with people who motivate you & help you achieve your goals. 

It’s not always possible to pick who you work with, but you get to decide how you spend your time. 

2 puzzles with missing pieces

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Limit work in progress, make sure you don’t put too much on your plate by leaving things unfinished.

If you feel you have too much going on, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unmotivated. Ultimately trying to do too much at once will be counterproductive.

When possible, set a rule for yourself not to start a new task until you finish an unfinished one.

Smartphone with a heart and cardiogram on its screen

Digital wellbeing

Optimise your tech and gadgets for productivity. 

Ping, swoosh, ding… Our tech has become a major source of distraction. It’s so easy to get distracted waste time on unproductive tasks. 

Use Do not disturb and focus to make sure your devices don’t take you off track. 

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