Principles summarizing experiences that I have accumulated through pushing myself to be more effective and efficient on time management. These selected topics are by my personal experience and my attempts to manage time.
Principles of Effective Efficient Time Use
1. Hidden-cost nature of activities
Relaxing can be very costly. Take gaming, for example - gaming is enjoyable and fun. When we want to relax, we'd like to play a game. Sometimes you have things to do on-hand, and even still, you say to yourself "I could probably have time for an hour of game". No! Incorrect. With things to do on-hand, it is important to finish those tasks on-hand before taking pleasure. This is the most hard to resist (but do try) because it involves self-discipline - which is a subject that humans are generally bad at enforcing against themselves. The hidden-cost of delaying what you need to do is because they accumulate and stack up. If you have the mindset of "this is only a little delay, I can afford it" every time something favorable to you comes up, you're not enforcing effective efficient time use. Think of this as an investment - for every dollar you can invest early, the rate of return on that dollar is exponentially higher than if you were to take the same dollar and invest it later.
2. Scheduling tools are very important
The tool I'm talking about is a calender. Your mind is limited in what it can remember daily. You easily overestimate your own capabilities in what you remember to do. Fact is, we forget about things we wanted to do. The simple process of trying to recall what you were planning to do takes brain effort and can be avoided by spending 30-seconds to add things to your calender. It is counter-productive to have to recall and recollect what you wanted to do. This problem can be avoided through the use of a calendar, which means that as a corollary - if you don't use a calendar, you not using your time effectively and efficiently.
3. Productivity Enhancements
We need exercise to be productive. This cannot be skipped. It is very important to have daily exercise, even if you think high doses of caffeine, energy drinks, and good amount of sleep can keep you alert and functional! In my experience, human body can focus better with exercise than not. Exercise increase metabolism and trains your body to effectively use and deliver oxygen. This is important because your brain uses over 20% of your body's oxygen, despite taking a much more portion of it physically. You will feel more alert because of exercise and be more productive. You can keep alert and to the problem on hand better, and in that respect, be more productive (effective and efficient time use). This principle also helps with countering #1 - you need to view exercising itself as a form of relaxing. Then you are hitting two objectives at once, and win!