Proven Time Management Techniques
20 July 2021
3 Proven Time Management Techniques
‘Time is money’ is a quote often heard in business and daily life alike. It definitely has a true ring to it yet, for many, time management poses a real problem. Have you ever caught yourself thinking ‘there never seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done’? This guest post from Andrea Mandova suggest three proven methods to help you streamline the planning process and reduce stress. Read through them, and then see which one fits best to your situation. They may help you streamline your time management process and reduce stress
What is it?
This time management method was invented in Italy, and employed a kitchen timer in the shape of a tomato (hence the name, Pomodoro). This technique breaks down a large chunk of time into manageable sections and allows you to focus and be productive, while also taking breaks and not burning out. This method is best if you tend to procrastinate, or if you have a large project and you aren’t sure where to start.
How to use it
- Choose a task that is substantial in length, such as an essay or a larger project.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes.
- During those 25 minutes, work on the one sole task without stopping and without distractions.
- After the timer rings, take a 5-minute break. It’s best to walk around, stretch or have a refreshment at this time.
- Repeat the cycle of ‘working for 25 minutes and resting for 5 minutes’ 4 more times.
- After the fourth cycle, take a longer, 15-20 minute break.
- Repeat as needed.
What is it?
This strategy has you look at your calendar and block out specific time slots for specific activities. It suggests you divide your day into hourly ‘blocks’ and then dedicate each ‘block’ to one individual task. This is beneficial if you have a steady job, with recurring weekly tasks. It allows you to work on one task without distractions, and have a plan of action for the future week. It also saves time, because when you dedicate an hour in the morning to, for example, answering emails, you don’t need to worry about it later.
How to use it
- This is best completed the evening before (or morning of) your workday.
- Have your calendar or agenda at hand.
- First block out any appointments or fixed events in your calendar.
- Then summarise what tasks you need to get done that week or day.
- Estimate how long each task will take you.
- Create blocks of 30-90 minutes in your calendar, and assign a task (or part of a task) to each block.
- Once the week or day is over, reflect whether the tasks had enough time allocated and whether their timing was beneficial to you.
What is it?
Perhaps your workday isn’t as streamlined, or you don’t work a classic 9-5. Then it can get overwhelming to plan your week in advance if you don’t even know what tasks you’ll be doing yet! This is where prioritization comes in. This principle is very malleable and can be molded to your specific situation. It’ll be best for you if you work in a changing or irregular environment, or if you have many tasks to do at a time.
How to use it
- Start by writing all the tasks you know of now that you need to complete (and their deadline if known).
- Figure out how much time you have to spend on these tasks.
- Pick 3 most important or urgent tasks to do today (or tomorrow, if you’re doing this one day in advance).
- Only focus on completing those 3 tasks that day.
- If anything isn’t completed, reallocate it to the next day.
- If you find yourself distracted while working, have a piece of paper ready, to jot down any thoughts or distractions.
These three time management techniques are all proven to not only make you more productive but also to decrease your stress around planning and deadlines. Whilst each may not be for everyone, one may work for you. Or you may find each useful but more suitable for certain situations than others. Either way, choose the one that works best for you and enjoy a stress-free, and efficient workday.
More time management insights and tools
There is a wide range of time management resources in our store, including some great tools. Our e-guide: Managing Time and Priority is packed with practical tools, tested ideas and a dash of radical thinking. It will will help you master two critical skills: managing time and priority. The guide will help you to:
- Assess your time priorities and manage your actions.
- Develop coping strategies to avoid the limitations of “busyness”.
- Manage the impact of other people’s demands on your time.
- Develop approaches to “getting things done”.
- Apply practical tools to managing priorities and time, to get the right things done.
- Help others to manage their time.
Tool 1: Commitments summary
Tool 2: Time log
Tool 3:Time analysis
Tool 4: Time planning with task filters
Tool 5: Task priorities