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Tame the phone and email
Your phone and your email are often the main distraction and disruption. Get a firm grip on them. Start scheduling your phone calls and set a time to check your emails.
Don’t spend too much time in meetings
Find a way to not spend too much time in meetings. Some of the best strategies include not having any food in the meetings, standing up during meetings and scheduling a 20-minute meeting 20 minutes before the workday ends, so that 20 minutes do not somehow turn into an hour.
If you want others to respect your time, you need to respect their time, too. Become punctual and demand this from others, otherwise you’ll be wasting giant amounts of time waiting for people and living in uncertainty about when and how you will be making things happen.
Create and use lists
There are hundreds if not thousands different time management systems on earth. All of them rely on creating and using lists. You can make this simple or fancy. You can use pen and paper or technology, but you do need lists in order to be really productive.
Connect everything to your goals
The main reason why most people are not productive is because they don’t have enough reasons to become productive. This is why one of the secrets to extreme productivity is having a lot of reasons to be extremely productive. This is why you need to have goals and link everything you do to your goals.
Write things down to free up your memory
You may have a great memory or you may have a memory of a rusted steel trap. The idea is the same: have a number of different folders for different things, be in physical folders or computer folders, so that you don’t have to rely on your memory. You can have folders by day or by activity. What matters is that you write your to-dos down, don’t keep them in your memory and they don’t get lost.
Block your time
One of the secrets of extremely productive people is that they make appointments with themselves. Many people treat others with respect and attention, forgetting that they need to respect themselves and their own time. The more time you schedule and block for yourself, the less time you’ll have for destructions and interruptions.
Get rid of unplanned activities
When you block time and assign it to the things that are important, you automatically reduce waste. Most people live their lives in reactive mode. They arrive and then wait for things to happen. That’s not what productive people do. Effective time management is about having goals and plans and then planning your time in order to accomplish what you want or need.
Benefit from odd time
If you drive to work, you can listen to audiobooks and courses, not music or entertainment radio. There are audio books on all possible subjects. You can learn more about business, master a foreign language, improve your memory, math skills and more during the time you spend waiting in line in a grocery store, airport and so on.
Live in the off-peak hours if you can
Going in person to a bank on a Friday, especially after noon, is a recipe for wasting a lot of time, especially on the first and fifteenth day of the month. The same can be said about going to a grocery store one day before a holiday weekend or checking into a hotel between 8 and 9 A.M. Think about what you can do to organize your life so that you don’t have to waste a lot of time running errands and performing activities when everybody else is doing so, too. This will not only save time but also help you avoid frustration.