Living an organised life and being efficient with our time doesn’t come naturally to all of us.

Some of us can spend several “busy hours” daily and still not make a dent in our to-do list. You may feel as though there aren’t enough hours in the day to finish your never-ending tasks.

So, let’s seek some words of wisdom from professionally successful people. These experts are from different backgrounds with different expertise. We can gain an insight on how to manage time our effectively and deal with a hectic schedule from their wealth of experience and know-how.

1. Let go of perfection and be compassionate

This may sound a bit off topic as most productivity tips are about deep concentration and focus, single tasking and changing your mindset. But compassion? Yes, you heard it right.

There are many useful tools that can help you to work effectively and complete your tasks quickly. But compassion is also important. It helps you to recognise the fact that we are all human and there are days when you may feel overwhelmed, downtrodden or just sad. This is normal. Accept these ups and downs and learn to forgive yourself. Don’t try to be a perfectionist, let go and try again.

… what compassion recognises is that we’re human. We’re going to have stupid days, when nothing seems to go right. We just will. There will be times when we’re going to be distracted, unmotivated, scattered, when some crisis at work or in life kept us up all night, or when we’re feeling just plain overwhelmed.
But rather than beat ourselves up, sink into paralyzing negativity, or ruminate endlessly on what went wrong or how we failed, compassion enables us to forgive ourselves, to learn what we can, to see that it’s all about practicing, to let go of perfection, and, lightly and with grace, move forward and try again.

— Brigid Schulte, author of ‘Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time’ and director of The Good Life Initiative/ Better Life Lab at New America

2. One Minute Tasks

Don’t procrastinate on the small tasks that need only a minute to accomplish. Do small things immediately like reading an email, filling a form, making a note etc.

Follow the ‘one-minute rule’ … Because the tasks are so quick, it isn’t too hard to follow the rule — but it has big results. Accomplishing all those small, nagging tasks makes us feel both calmer and more energetic, because we’re not dragged down by the accumulated weight of a mass of tiny, insignificant tasks.

— Gretchin Rubin, author of ‘Better Than Before‘ and ‘The Happiness Project

3. A To-do list with a Difference

Prioritising a to-do list into with three categories which include relationship, career, and self can help to achieve more balance in life. Ensure that all these three categories have something in it that you look forward to. Try to achieve at least some of these in all the three categories by the end of the week.

After I’ve made my list, I look at my calendar for the next week and figure out roughly where things should go. I don’t always get to everything, but my goal is to end the week with everything crossed off. That’s why I make my priority list on paper. Crossing things off is enormously satisfying.

— Laura Vanderkam, author of ‘I Know How She Does It’

4. Connect your task with your energy level

It’s not what you do, so much as when you do it.

Our cognitive functioning fluctuates throughout the day. Most of us are significantly worse at absorbing new information, planning ahead, and resisting distractions as the day progresses. That’s why the better you are at matching tasks to energy level, the more you can get done with less effort.

— Ron Friedman, psychologist and host of the 2017 Peak Work Performance Summit, airing April 2017

5. Convert your Task into a Must

When you consciously convert your task into a necessity, you can accomplish it quite easily. If you want to achieve a goal, try to create a situation that makes you feel that the task is urgent or necessary.

A key to maximizing productivity is to forget about what you already know — or think you know — about motivation. We typically assume that there’s a direct correlation between how much we want to achieve a given outcome and how likely we are to actually achieve it.

However, there’s a much more constructive way to think about motivation: that’s to think of it as something you must ‘custom manufacture’ for each and every goal you wish to achieve. By custom manufacture, I mean to deliberately and creatively put yourself in situations that make you urgently feel like it’s necessary.

— Steve Levinson, clinical psychologist and author of ‘The Power to Get Things Done