It’s hard to work these days without being interrupted in some way: tools, notifications, emails, social networks… Clutter has become the norm in our attention-driven economy.
It’s almost impossible to focus on what’s important or to determine if we’re working on the right tasks at the right time. Faced with priority tasks and other seemingly urgent messages, not to mention the incessant stream of notifications, our daily goals are quickly forgotten. 80% of knowledge workers report working with their inbox and other open communication apps to cope with their workload. As a result, employees are less efficient, missing messages and deadlines, and not acting on time.
Fortunately, time management templates are available to help you regain control of your work hours and think more critically about your daily routine. Sick of letting your to-do list dictate your entire day? Implement work management strategies to help you prioritize your daily activities and focus on the most important tasks.
There is no one right way to organize and manage your time. Nevertheless, in this article we have selected our best tips for you to regain control over your tasks and schedules.
What is time management?
It is a technique that consists of managing your work time to allocate time to priority tasks. By managing your work time effectively, you not only increase your productivity, but also prioritize all your activities throughout the day. This will allow you to spend more time relaxing and taking care of yourself.
What are the benefits of time management?
Adopting good time management strategies can help you organize and prioritize your tasks, to :
–Free up time for yourself
By deciding which task you allocate time to which activity, you will likely be able to eliminate unnecessary tasks, reschedule those that don’t need to be done today, and work more efficiently. You won’t have more time in the literal sense, but you will be able to accomplish more in the same amount of time.
–Establish work-life boundaries
Better time management doesn’t mean chasing every ounce of productivity we can muster at work. These strategies are designed to help us accomplish our priority tasks and identify those that can be put off until tomorrow. Differentiating between work that needs to be done immediately and work that can wait until later will help you distinguish between work time and rest time.
Any goal without a plan is just wishful thinking, the same goes for time, without an effective time management strategy, we will feel like we are running around all the time without achieving our goals. As a result, we fall into a vicious circle of stress and even burnout. On the other hand, according to a study of the anatomy of work, 71% of employees admitted to feeling overworked at least once in 2020.
–Improve your productivity:
There are many time management strategies that can help us combat procrastination and therefore maximize your productivity. But that’s not all: by identifying your top priorities for the day, you will also know exactly what to work on each day.
–Replace your bad habits:
Everyone struggles with procrastination. However, we increasingly develop bad habits (yes, we do!) that interfere with our high-value activities over time. Implementing time management strategies will help you identify and correct these bad habits.
6 time management strategies for better productivity
Incorporating a proven strategy into our daily routine is one of the most effective ways to improve our time management skills. These strategies help us set time limits, focus on one task at a time and regain control of our daily planning.
1. Timeboxing” or time block management
Timeboxing is a goal-oriented strategy that consists in managing time by blocks, it is about executing your tasks within the framework of precise time blocks. Indeed, this method is effective when you want to manage your task list.
Time block management allows you to split important (large) tasks into smaller(large) tasks into small sub-parts, so the processing time of these is optimal. Each task will have its own block of time that will not exceed three hours.
As an example, if a copywriter is working on a blog post, he will block out about two hours of his time to prepare his plan. After taking a 10-minute break, he will be able to take a 3-hour block of time to complete the first draft of the article. Dividing the work into subtasks will allow you to progress gradually over the days or weeks.
2. Time blocking
Time Blocking is very similar to Timeboxing, the difference is in the time period, instead of scheduling a certain amount of time for each task, you will block periods of your calendar to devote to related tasks.
With this type of planning, you can have a balanced life, you will effectively allocate time between work and leisure, and ensure that you find time for regular breaks and workouts to maintain your physical and mental health. This will allow you to spend time on activities that you enjoy and keep you creative.ideal for working in the best conditions and dealing with the background work.
You will also need to be organized to plan your work hours according to established priorities and deadlines. To do this, you must first determine the tasks to be performed and the time required to complete them. You can then plan your week according to these criteria. Once your schedule is established, it is necessary to respect the time slots you have set for each project. This will ensure that you are not distracted by tasks that have not been scheduled.
For example, you can decide to set aside every Monday from 9am to 12pm to work on your main project, every Tuesday from 1pm to 3pm for administrative tasks, every Thursday from 10am to 11am to exchange with your colleagues, etc. This way, you will be more efficient and you will have less risk of missing something.
3. The Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro consists of dividing your work time into 25-minute sessions, during which you must concentrate and work uninterrupted on a task. Once this session is over, you should take a 5-minute break to rest and relax. After 4 work sessions, you should take a longer break of 15-30 minutes to rest and recharge. Repeat this routine until you have completed your task list.
The Pomodoro method is very effective in helping you focus and stay motivated while you work. It allows you to better manage your time by giving you short-term goals and regular breaks to recover. Finally, this process also reduces the stress and fatigue associated with prolonged concentration on a single task.
4. The “Eat the Frog” Method
The “eat the frog” method is a time management technique that involves starting your day by completing the most difficult or unpleasant task before dealing with other less important tasks. The idea is that it gives you a sense of satisfaction and progress, and helps you focus on the other tasks of the day. This technique was popularized by Brian Tracy in his book “Eat That Frog!” inspired by Mark Twain’s quote, “Whoever has to swallow a toad had better do it first thing in the morning.”
This method is full of advantages, it overcomes procrastination by tackling the most difficult task directly and gives you a sense of satisfaction and progress from the start of the day.
To implement this strategy, use a scheduling tool to plan ahead for tasks to be completed, thus avoiding wasted time and delays. Finally, learn how to manage distractions, break time and work time for optimal results.
5. The Pareto Principle
Pareto’s Law, also known as the Pareto Principle, is a concept used in time management to describe how a person’s activities are divided between those that are productive (20%) and those that are not (80%). According to this law, a small percentage of activities (20%) is responsible for the majority of results (80%). It is therefore important to identify these productive activities and prioritize them to maximize the use of your time.
To use Pareto’s Law to manage your time, it is recommended that you follow these steps:
Analyze your activities: Review your daily activities to identify those that contribute the most to your results.
Prioritize productive activities: Spend more time on activities that have the most impact on your results, and less time on activities that have less impact.
Automate or delegate non-productive activities: Find ways to automate or delegate non-productive activities to free up time for productive activities.
Use time management tools: Use tools such as task lists, calendars and reminders to plan and track activities.
Review regularly: Reassess activities regularly to ensure they remain productive and to identify new opportunities for improvement.
6. The “Getting Things Done” method
The “Getting Things Done” (GTD) method is a time management and productivity method developed by David Allen. It focuses on capturing, clarifying, organizing, reflecting and committing to manage all tasks, projects and commitments effectively. The goal of GTD is to allow you to focus on the action at hand rather than worrying about what you need to do. It is based on five key steps: capture everything that catches your attention, clarify what it means and what you need to do with it, organize the information, reflect on what you need to do, and finally, commit to the action.
To implement the Getting Things Done (GTD) method, it is important to record all upcoming tasks in one place. By writing down everything you need to do, you can then rank and prioritize the tasks. For example, some may no longer be needed and be deleted, some may be postponed and incorporated into the appropriate projects or folders, and some may depend on other activities. It is important to choose a tool that allows you to manage these details. The rest will depend on you to effectively implement this method.