Time management is such an important skill that everyone should learn how to do it. The ability to find an extra hour or two to do more cannot be understated, and although it might seem like an impossible task, it is doable. If you search online for “time management”, it is likely you will find a lot of tips on how to do that. Today, we are going to look at the methods you can use to make those tips work for you.
The Pomodoro Technique
This technique has been in use for decades and has proven to be one of the most effective time management techniques. When using the Pomodoro technique, you divide the amount of time you have into 25-minute sessions called pomodoros. Once a session lapses, take a five-minute break. After you do 4 such cycles, you should take a longer break of between 15-30 minutes.
The Pomodoro Technique aims to help you focus on one thing for a short amount of time. The small breaks help recharge and settle the mind and help you avoid getting stuck on one thing. This time management method helps break the monotony that comes from working on a single thing for long periods of time. When you do this, your mind is much more likely to wander which means you will not be as effective or complete as much as you would like.
Although you can track “focus” and “break” times manually, there are software solutions that can help you do that.
Turning Technology Off
Ten years ago, it would have been easy to turn your phone off and have an uninterrupted work session. Now, that is almost impossible to do as we are surrounded by technology whose main aim is to capture our attention and keep it. Because of this, it is easy to waste a lot of time online, on social media sites, or scrolling through news feeds. To manage your time better and ensure you achieve a lot more, you have to find ways of turning off all the technological distractions.
Most of us work on our computers, so one of the best time management methods in this regard is using browser extensions that block our access to distracting websites. These might be social media websites or websites that we do not require for work. There is also software that blocks all notifications from other software and apps so you only see relevant notifications like email notifications.
Next, you should find a way of distancing yourself from your phone. This can be done physically where you put your phone away or through the use of the muting function on the phone. Most phones have a “meeting” mode that blocks all notifications, messages, and calls from apps that are not included in a whitelist.
Get the Most Distracting Tasks Out of the Way First
Most people start their day by checking their emails. Some of these emails contain a lot of information that needs to be digested and acted upon. Because of this, you might find yourself spending an hour or two dealing with all the emails you may have gotten during the night, either by replying to them or deleting them. At the end of one or two hours, you find you have done a lot without being productive.
To remedy this, start your day by completing the most pressing and time-sensitive projects and tasks first. These are the tasks that require the most attention and can be completed faster when your brain is still sharp and focused. Once you have done this, you could move on to other tasks that need to be completed but that are not too urgent.
Refine Your To-Do Lists
To-do lists are a good time management tool, but they can also be one of the most ineffective ones. One of the main reasons people abandon to-do lists is because the tasks they contain are too big to be completed in one sitting. When you see a task like “Redesign the poster” on your to-do list, you might be intimidated by the sheer amount of work and effort required to complete that task. But if you break down into things like adding a new logo, adding graphics, or correcting the colors, the tasks seem manageable all of a sudden.
Another tip of using to-do lists much more effectively is using a Kanban board. This is a board that shows you the state of each task you need to complete and how far along you are on the completion of each task. This way, you not only know what needs to be completed, but you also know how far along you are and the deadlines for each of the tasks. You can then plan your day around these tasks and complete a lot more of them because you know exactly what you should be working on at any one time.
Learning about time management tips and methods is a good start, but you need to put that theory to work. Once you start developing some good time management habits, you will find it easier to complete tasks and carve out some more time for the things you love doing.
Brian Dan is just getting his feet wet as a tech reporter but has already had his work featured in many major publications including Tech Spot and Tech Crunch. In regards to academics, Brian earned a degree in business from Fordham University. Brian has a passion for emerging technology and covers upcoming products and breakthroughs in science and tech.