5 Tips For Better Time Management

23 Mar

Having struggled with time management for most of university, I finally realized in 4th year that it was sink or swim. I had too much on my plate and I was too stubborn to let go of anything, so I did the only thing I could… I developed some serious productivity habits.

I wanted to share some of the things I do to prevent getting distracted on the computer while doing my work.

1. Check e-mails during specific times of day.

If you’re perpetually checking e-mail as soon as you receive them, you’ll get distractions every 10 minutes and it’ll be impossible to concentrate on anything for an extended period of time. My personal habit is to check e-mails only a few times a day.

2. Turn off alerts.

Turning off the pop-up window that alerts you whenever a friend signs onto MSN, Skype, Gtalk, etc. Also, turn off e-mail and mobile alerts from Facebook (the latter drove me mad, and I only used it for 2 days).

3. Ignore IMs when I’m in the middle of something.

This is going to make me sound like Douchey McDouche, but when I’m on the computer working on something that requires concentration, I don’t check my MSN messages. In fact, now I don’t even feel the urge to click on that blinking orange MSN  icon on my taskbar anymore. (although FYI, I am AFK a lot, so don’t think that I’m always ignoring you. :P)

4. Feed purge.

Put all your RSS feeds in a “Chopping Block” folder and over the next few weeks, start removing feeds that you consistently read from that folder. At the end of a month, purge all the feeds that are left in your Chopping Block folder. All that will be left are feeds from things that you actually read. =)

5. del.icio.us.

Do you often come across something interesting online that you plan on checking out later, so you keep the tab open on your browser and move on to something else? Then 30 minutes later, you have 20 tabs open at the same time, your Firefox is so crowded, you can’t even find the tab you actually need to use.

That pretty much summed up my online browsing in a nutshell. So I decided to start using del.icio.us (a social bookmarking site) to save those tabs for later! It took me a while to learn how to use this, but now that I’m used to it, it’s pretty spiffalicious.

Whenever I come across an article or a website that I want to check out, but I can’t afford to get distracted from my work atm, I bookmark it in delicious so that I can read it later during my “me time”. Then, when I have the down time, I can sort through my delicious bookmarks by topics (del.icio.us tags) depending on what I’m in the mood for checking out.

And since the bookmarks are stored online, I can read it from any computer, not just my computer at work. Try it! And if you already use it, here’s a nice Firefox plug-in so that you can bookmark things with a single click.

5 tips for increasing productivity on the computer

So there they are! These personal habits have certainly worked for me, maybe they’ll work for you as well. Not to say that time management is not a struggle on some days, but small changes like these definitely help to make it a manageable thing for me.

Do you have any super-time saver habits that help you stay focused? 🙂

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