American culture is all too familiar with stress. We live with stress, believing it just has to be part of our lives if we want to succeed. But are we actually producing more quality work with all of the added stress?

In reality, with more stress often comes more mistakes. Your output and your stress level go hand in hand. More stress leads to diminished output.

Diminished output doesn’t just mean that you’re producing less work. You could be producing a ton of work, but the quality isn’t improving — and might even be decreasing. So, you can’t just look at numbers. You have to look at the condition of your work output. 

Stress can also negatively affect your team’s productivity, which can then have a negative impact on your entire business. Nobody should have to suffer in the workplace due to stress from poor time management.

You probably already know that improved time management greatly reduces stress levels and increases your output. Increasing your time management skills is critical to boosting not only productivity but your well-being as a whole.  

Time management issues can easily be dealt with by following some great tips. Once you and your team apply these tips, you will have some powerful time management skills under your belt that will lead to improved productivity for everyone involved.

Boost your productivity with these time management tips

For many of us, keeping up with our daily tasks can already seem like a Herculean effort. Trying to manage an already full schedule can easily become overwhelming — and with the added stress of urgent assignments or unexpected work, it’s easy to drop the ball. 

Learning some valuable time management tips is essential to meeting even the most demanding deadlines. In order to stay productive, you’ll want to learn strategies that keep you on top of your task list and help you maximize efficiency throughout the day.

When it comes to managing your workload, there are several measures you can employ that won’t just streamline your process but also ensure all your deadlines are met. Starting off simple by breaking large tasks into small chunks makes it easier for you to tackle them step by step rather than trying to complete everything at once. 

Creating a structure for each activity by allotting specific periods for only responding to emails or focusing on one project exclusively is a great way to direct yourself toward accomplishing bigger goals without losing sight of smaller details. With some practice and guidance, being more mindful about how you spend your time doesn’t have to be an impossible task but instead, an efficient habit that will save you time and stress in the long run.

Expecting perfection from yourself can be a major source of stress, so it’s important to make sure you give yourself breaks throughout the day. Working for hours on end without any mental reprieve is not only unproductive but can also be counterintuitive for your creative process.

Allow yourself to take short breathers every now and then — it will help you stay on track and be more focused. Taking breaks throughout the day is also an ideal opportunity to step back, gain some perspective, and take a few minutes for yourself.

Time management tips

When it comes to time management, it’s important to develop strategies early on so that you are well prepared for when the unexpected inevitably arises. This means testing out time management tips and seeing how they work for you, rather than waiting until the last minute when perhaps the pressure is too great to try something new. 

Doing this will provide a better understanding of where your weaknesses are and ways you can improve — eventually leading to more effective habits and an increase in productivity. And better habits also lead to reduced stress.

By testing these tactics little by little with consistency, it will become second nature for managing workloads without feeling overwhelmed or overworked.

Remove distractions

Being productive can be a challenge, particularly in the office or when you’re working from home. Distractions are everywhere, from background conversations in the office to your cell phone buzzing with notifications. To stay focused and gain more control over your time, there are several measures you can take to minimize these distractions.

First, if possible, shut the door to your workspace if you have one. Not only will it provide a physical barrier between you and any disruption caused by others, but the visual cue may also signify that you’re not available for conversation until further notice. If you don’t have access to a door, consider investing in noise-canceling headphones to block out any excess noise from the outside world. 

Next, make a schedule of what tasks you need to complete each day and assign enough time for them — this will give you an overview of how long certain tasks might take and help you gauge where best to focus your attention and efforts. Turn off both audio and visual notifications on all of your digital devices that might be distracting you throughout the day. Doing this should help keep those inevitable distractions at bay while staying connected and up-to-date with important information

Figure out when you’re most productive

Knowing when you are the most productive is a key part of managing your time effectively. To know when those hours are, it’s important to examine your own daily patterns and establish what times of day work best for you. 

For some people, their most productive hours may be in the morning right after they wake up. Other individuals might find that they are more productive in the early afternoon or even late at night. By experimentally trying different times to work, you can begin to identify when your most productive hours are.

Once you identify these times, it’s important to use them wisely and structure your day so that you have plenty of time during these hours for deep work and productivity. During this time, try to avoid checking emails or engaging in other activities that can distract you from getting things done.

Instead, focus on completing tasks that require high levels of concentration or effort within the specified timeframe. Keeping track of how much you accomplish during your most productive hours will help you become more aware of when it’s best for you to be working, which in turn can help make sure that you get everything done quickly and efficiently.

Conduct a time audit

It’s essential to audit the way you’re currently spending time so that you can make meaningful changes moving forward. The first step in doing this is to track and log your daily activities and tasks. 

This practice will allow you to be aware of how much time is spent on certain tasks, giving you an idea of where improvements can be made. It also allows you to see which activities could potentially have their times reduced or even eliminated in order to boost productivity.

The other benefit of evaluating where your time currently goes is that it gives you a benchmark measure for making better decisions regarding the effective use of your time moving forward. Once this insight is obtained, it can be used as the starting point for implementing many different kinds of methods for managing your time more effectively with less stress and more efficiency. 

Whether it's setting up a daily schedule, weekly routines, or regular reminders, all these tactics require some understanding of which tasks should take priority when and how much effort needs to be put into each one. Without previously auditing your current spending, it would be far harder to get the most out of your day-to-day lives.

Plan your day in advance

Creating a plan and schedule for the day is an effective way to be productive, improve quality of life, and manage stress. A plan ahead of time helps with accountability and organization as tasks can be prioritized based on importance or deadlines. 

This will help you stay on top of your important commitments while being mindful of your energy levels and available resources. Having a plan in the morning can eliminate wasted time from the day as it allows you to be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances which may come up.

When making your daily plans, make sure to prioritize tasks not only based on urgency but also on how long each task will take. Consider how much time needs to be allocated for rest or leisure activities throughout the day so that you are not overextending yourself. 

Writing out each task one by one and assigning an estimated completion time can help with staying focused and on track throughout the whole day. Leaving some slots open within your schedule allows room for unexpected tasks or surprises that may pop up during the day, making you more flexible and adaptable to changes in plans.

Prioritize tasks

No matter how organized you are or how much help you receive from coworkers, having too many tasks on your plate can be overwhelming. It's essential that you prioritize what to do next in order to make sure everything gets done. 

You can begin by batching together similar tasks and organizing them by the deadline. Start with the items due soonest and work your way down the list. This will make sure that important assignments get handled first and also help build momentum as you progress through smaller, less time-consuming tasks.

Prioritizing your tasks also creates structure in your workflow, allowing you to have a visual outline of what needs to be done and when. Keep in mind that while some tasks may take precedence over others, it’s still necessary to budget enough time for each task so that nothing is left incomplete. 

Think of it as a puzzle ― allocating the right amount of resources and energy in the correct order for maximum efficiency. With these tips in mind, use these strategies to prioritize your tasks effectively and stay productive.

Practice the art of saying NO

It’s important to learn to say no and prioritize tasks when you have too much on your plate. It’s easy to take on everything that comes your way, but it can lead to burnout and stress — not to mention potential consequences for not meeting deadlines. 

Check your to-do list and be realistic about what you can get done. If the list is maxed out, or you have other priorities that must come first, don’t be afraid of saying no. You don't want to overcommit and then potentially fail to produce results. 

Instead, offer a good explanation as to why you are unable to meet the timeline and consider asking for help from a coworker if needed — especially if meeting the request would require more resources or additional time than you currently possess. Learning how to effectively communicate with one another will make it easier for everyone involved.

High-intensity tasks need a fresh mind

When it comes to completing tasks, it pays to be strategic — and this is especially true when tackling more intense assignments. While it can be tempting to tackle the biggest task first, taking a different approach can help you avoid burnout and maximize your productivity. By starting your day with more intensive tasks and saving the easier ones for later, you’ll ensure that you remain motivated throughout the day.

For instance, if you have a 1,200-word article that requires research and writing, studies show it’s beneficial to start with this task first thing in the morning when you’re still mentally fresh. As the day progresses and your energy levels dip, move on to lighter tasks that don’t require as much focus or mental energy. 

This strategy not only helps prevent overwhelm but also ensures that you get through your workload in an efficient manner by using your productivity windows wisely throughout the day. Accomplishing a major task will give you a mental and emotional boost to keep going for the rest of the day. 

Set aside time for your inbox

Managing your time when you have a lot of messages can be very challenging. It is important to have discipline and set aside time each day to read and respond to the messages. One of the first steps to take is to determine how much time you can realistically devote each day to reading and responding, such as thirty minutes or an hour. 

Try to limit the amount of time so that you don’t get overwhelmed with the task before you, but also make sure not to underestimate how long it will take —this will only lead to wasted time later on. You might also need to extend this allotted time depending on the position or company you work for.

It’s also important to communicate with your team about when they should send their messages so that everyone knows what expectations there are. Setting clear boundaries allows them and yourself to know what needs attention urgently and what can be pushed until later in the day or week. Not everything is a fire that needs to be put out.

This sort of message management will allow you to feel in control rather than other people dictating your schedule for you. If something does not require an immediate response, add it to a calendar for later review instead of letting it get lost in a sea of emails and other tasks throughout your day. 

Following these tips will help you manage your inbox and make sure that you don’t get bogged down with all the messages. Don’t let yourself go down an inbox rabbit hole.

Add sub-goals to your routine

Life is full of goals that we wish to accomplish. For example, many of us set professional and personal goals, such as getting a certification or having a pleasant outdoor picnic with friends. Whatever the case may be, achieving our goals comes down to effective time management. Scheduling any goal into our routine and breaking them down into achievable sub-goals helps us in making it achievable. 

Allocate sufficient time to achieve those sub-goals until the main one is complete. This makes it easier to plan ahead before taking action and gives an overview of the progress being made with each step.

Procrastination should be avoided as much as possible when trying to attain goals because it can prevent potential success for most short-term objectives. You can use specific methods like goal setting and tracking plans or checklists that allow one to better keep tabs on their progress in reaching a predetermined outcome. This ensures efficient workflow and maximizes productivity during problem-solving sessions while working towards accomplishing a desired result.

Make friends with time management tools

Time management software can be a great tool for staying productive and avoiding burnout. Having a way to track your time spent on different tasks, set deadlines, and building in breaks is essential for any successful person looking to reach their goals.

Time management software helps you stay focused so you can work more efficiently and prevent yourself from feeling burned out. The software also makes it easy to collaborate with coworkers or clients because it includes useful features like project management tools, powerful reporting capabilities, and team analytics. 

In conclusion

When you put time management skills into practice, you will reduce your stress and boost your output. Time management doesn’t come naturally to everyone, so it’s understandable if you and members of your team take a little time to get used to your time management practices.

If you still don’t know where to start and need help, this is what we do best. Harvest can help you track your time and keep up with all those tasks that are bringing you added stress and reducing your productivity. 

Reach out and start your free trial. Let us help you take control of your time and kick stress to the curb.