Every Friday, we’re answering your questions about business, startups, customer success and more.
This week’s question comes from Ka kei Ho, who asks:
I procrastinate from time to time (and get mad at myself for it) just like everyone else, but I have found a few strategies that help me accomplish what needs to get done.
Here are the three strategies where my biggest wins come from:
- Power-blocking “repetitive” tasks: answering emails and support tickets, calling customers, anything else where I can batch things, I do. Answering emails one-by-one when they come in is a massive distraction, so I do my best to avoid it.
- Realizing that not everything will get done, and prioritizing accordingly. If I did everything that I was supposed to do, I’d be working 30 hours per day. I realize that I won’t get to everything; the trick is to prioritize your tasks so that the absolutely critical things get done first. We all get bogged down in “easy” work (because it’s easy) that isn’t all that mission-critical. Instead, let that stuff fall by the wayside (or delegate it), and do the things that are most important. (Treat leisure time that you value the same way. For me, surfing and spending time with my family are really important, so I prioritize them at the expense of other things.)
- Having a “hard stop” at the end of each day. Pick a time—say, 6:30pm—after which (barring exceptional circumstances), you’re not answering emails, looking at your phone, or doing anything that feels like work. You’re not just avoiding it; you’re not allowed to touch it. Knowing that that hard stop is coming gives you a sense of urgency during the day to work more efficiently, and also helps with work/life separation if you’re often working from home, as I am.
Time management is something that even productivity “gurus” I know struggle with, and I suspect that for many of us, it might always be a struggle.
Still, applying a few key strategies has helped me immensely, and I hope they help you, too.
What about you? What time management tips have you found most helpful? Let us know in the comments!