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February 5, 2015

Tick tock: Time-management tips and Lumia

We’re all so busy these days: overbooked, over-worked, and quite possibly, overwhelmed. Help is here.

Do you face a “to-do” list a mile long? Do you sometimes find it hard to meet deadlines? Do you wish the 24-hour day had a few extra hours to get everything done?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, we empathize. We could all be better time managers.

Here are several of the best time-management tips along with corresponding features on your Lumia and an app or two to better help you get stuff done.


Prioritize. Face it; you can’t do everything. So every night before you go to bed, identify the top three to five things you absolutely have to do the next day and jot them down. The next day, get those things done first.

For instance, exercise is important to me (yes, I’m an endorphin junkie!). So I run or exercise first thing in the morning. If I push back my run to the evening, there’s a good chance I’ll be too tired to exercise after a long day at the office.

There are lots of “to-do list” apps out there. But the Calendar feature on your Lumia with Windows Phone 8.1 also has a handy “tasks” feature that can send you reminders to make sure you’re on track. You can also peg your tasks by priority level: low, normal and high.

In addition, you can ask Cortana, available in select countries with Windows Phone 8.1, to remind you about important things, from asking a colleague about the status of a work project the next time you call him to picking up dinner on the way home from work. Check out our story about 24 hours with Cortana.

Set a time limit for every task. If you don’t set a time limit, you won’t be as efficient as you need to be—which could mean that your workday drags into the evening. And that’s no fun.

PowernAPP was developed so you can rock a catnap without oversleeping, but I find the timer and alarm on this free Windows Phone app very useful for a multitude of tasks. I can set the timer for five minutes, one hour, two hours, or even longer and I’ve used the app for meetings, story deadlines, even piano practice!

Block out distractions and cut time-wasters. Neuroscience research tells us that multi-tasking is a myth. You cannot do five things at the same time very well.

You may think you’re multi-tasking, but what happens instead is that you turn your attention from one thing to another to yet another very quickly. That start/stop process saps your energy, wastes time, and makes you more prone to mistakes.

Block unnecessary notifications on your Lumia so you won’t constantly hear pings and zings and see notifications that you don’t need to see immediately. To help you do that, check out our recent story on managing notifications.

Also, cut down on time-wasters such as constantly checking your email or looking at Facebook every time somebody “likes” or comments on your posts. Instead, how about checking your email just three times a day? Research shows that doing so makes you less stressed!

Do you have any time-management tips that have worked for you and that you’d like to share? We’d love to see them in the comments below.