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Don’t be stressed with too many methods on time management. Here are five easy and effective time management techniques that are developed by personal development industry experts.
Are you struggling to be productive? Is a day seems to you too short to finish work? This is a common problem that most of us face in our daily life. The fact is that working round the clock is not the same as getting important things done.
To get more accomplished we do not need more time, but we need better time management skills.
In this article, you’ll learn 5 time management techniques to maximize your productivity in the given hours of a day. You can try them one by one and then combine more than one methods to fit your need.
1. Pomodoro technique
Francesco Cirillo has developed this revolutionary time management system to help people boost their productivity.
The basic rule of the method is to focus on a single task at a time and work in a 25-minute block. Each block is followed by a 5-minute break. After 4 blocks you can take a long break.
The entire process is called one Pomodoro cycle and it will take you two hours to finish a cycle.Here are the steps to complete a cycle –
a. Choose one task only, and set a timer for 25 minutes,
b. Work on the task until the timer rings,
c. Take a 5-minute break,
d. Repeat this process for 3 more times and take 30 minutes long break.
Congratulations! You’ve completed 2 hours of deep work in one Pomodoro cycle.
The fundamental of this technique is very simple, but it effectively works to get more work done in less distraction and mental fatigues. The breaks will re-energize you for the next Pomodoro challenge. This method is easy for anyone to use and fun to do.
Useful apps for Pomodoro Technique:
- Pomodoro timer Online – Pomofocus
- Pomodoro Timer – Tomatotimers
- The Pomodoro Tracker
- Nesto Pomodoro Timer
2. Getting things done
Devid Allen has developed this time management technique focusing on stress-free productivity.
He emphasizes some best practices to free up our mind. So that we can focus more on the things that are truly important for us. There are five basic steps of the GTD system.
- Capture: The first step of the GTD method is to move random thoughts out of your brain and capture them in a list. Write down everything that has your attention. Use notepad, voice recorder or app to collect little, big, personal and professional to-do’s.
- Clarify: Once you’ve everything captured, process the thoughts of the list. For each thought, ask yourself – is it actionable? If ‘no’, then trash it or file it as a reference. Plan the next step for actionable thoughts. If any task takes less than 2 minutes to complete, do it immediately.
- Organize: Now your random thoughts have become a series of actionable tasks. It’s time to set them according to their categories. Put them in a calendar and set reminders. For example, add meetings and errands in the calendar, decide tasks to delegate, create a list of phone calls to make and a list of emails to send.
- Reflect: Do a weekly review of the list and make adjustments. When you fail to review it regularly, the things will pile up and soon the system won’t work for you. A weekly review will clean up your list and clear out your mind.
- Engage: If you follow the first four steps correctly, you are sure that what you have to do in each day. You’ll spend less time deciding the task you need to do. You just take your list and execute the plan.
Allen designed this method to keep our mind clear and pay attention to the task at hand. It helps us to turn random ideas and thoughts into actions. Let us make a solid progress toward achieving our goal.
Useful apps for GTD method:
3. Eisenhower Matrix
What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important. — Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The 34th president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, developed a prioritization framework which is known as Eisenhower Matrix. Later Stephen Covey popularized this concept as Time Management Grid.
The grid is a box of four quadrants. Evaluate your tasks categorize them according to their importance. Then place them in different quadrants of the grid. The quadrants are as follows:
- Urgent and important: Do – emergencies, deadlines, problems.
- Not Urgent, but Important: DECIDE– Exercise, planning, learning, relationships, replying to important emails etc.
- Urgent, but not important: DELEGATE – meetings, activities, booking flights, sharing articles etc.
- Not Urgent and Not Important: DELETE– Watching television, checking social media, playing video games etc.
Most people spend their time on managing situations and on the activities that need to delegate and delete. End of the day, they feel exhausted, but nothing accomplished of their goal.
The matrix helps us to distinguish between important and urgent tasks. We should focus more on the second quadrant, which is ‘Not urgent, but important’.
Useful apps and templates for Eisenhower Matrix
- Prioritize Your Tasks with an Eisenhower Matrix Template • Asana
- Eisenhower matrix – Notion Template Gallery
- Eisenhower Matrix + Template & Example – Milanote
- Eisenhower Matrix Template for Teams (Free & Easy-to-use) | Miro
4. 80/20 Rule
Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto introduced the concept to describe the unequal distribution of wealth in society.
Pareto noticed that 20 percent people of the society own 80 percent of the wealth, and vice versa. Years later, Joseph Juran, a management consultant, applied this concept to the business world. The rule is also known as the Pareto Principle.
You can apply this principle to your life. If you have 10 tasks in your to-do list, two of them will give you more return than rest 8 tasks. You have to identify those high-valued tasks to accomplish first.
Here are the steps to apply 80/20 rule to improve your time management skill.
- Review your to-do list,
- Find out 20 percent high-valued task that yields 80 results of your goal.
- Focus on that 20% task first and accomplish them.
People often remain busy accomplishing low-valued tasks. They tend to procrastinate on one or two activities that could make a real difference to their life.
These activities seem hard and complex to do but have a high payoff. When you tend to clear up small things first, you are losing your focus, time and energy on a low-value task.
5. Time Boxing
The term ‘timeboxing’ was coined in the 1980s by Scott Shultz and was used in DuPont at first.
The method is used as a project planning technique. Individuals can use timeboxing method to manage their own and team members’ daily workload.
The idea of timeboxing is to split up workload into blocks of time in advance. Allocate a specific length of time for a task and complete it within the timeframe. It is a simple and effective tool to stay focused, beat procrastination and perfectionism.
Here’s how to get started:
- Decide a task: Any task you can include in a box. From checking email to social media sites, everything should be in Timebox. Group similar and small tasks in one box. For large projects, break the whole thing down into manageable chunks.
- Set duration: There should be a duration for each task. How much time you should allow? It depends on the type of task, but it shouldn’t be more than 45 minutes. The ideal length is 25 minutes, followed by a 5 minutes short break.
- Get to work: Set timer and start work. Focus on the task at hand until the time is up. You can incorporate the Pomodoro technique with this method. When the time is over, stop work. Take a break. Reward yourself and check your progress.Time constraint sets a sense of urgency in mind. It will prevent you to waste hours on less important task and finish your time and energy for the real work you need to do. Because of advance planning, you’ll get more accomplished of your goal than a less organized schedule.
Useful apps that support the Timeboxing method:
There are more time management techniques, but these five methods are more popular among self-development freaks. Is your method is more effective than these five techniques? Please let us know about your system in the comment section so that my audience and I can learn from you.