Time management is an important skill to master. It is crucial in boosting productivity and increasing overall efficiency with every single task we do.
This is even more important when it comes to remote work setups. Since traditional metrics for productivity are not in place, it is so easy for some people to slack off and procrastinate at work. Flexible work schedules allow you to just lie on the couch from time to time. However, this can be dangerous as you wouldn’t notice that you’ve been surfing the net and wasted so many hours. Learning different time management strategies can help you avoid this.
Work can take up so much of your time if you don’t know how to be most efficient. With that, here are some productivity hacks that can help you build and polish your time management skills.
The Pomodoro Method is considered one of the most popular time management strategies. Created by the famous author Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro technique dates back to the 1980s but continues to be an effective tool to increase your productivity. The term Pomodoro comes from the Italian word for tomato, which is featured in Cerillo’s fruit-shaped timer.
The concept of the Pomodoro method revolves around two things. First, tasks should be divided and completed in intervals. And second, taking short breaks in between tasks can help boost mental capacity and increase focus. Frequent breaks also allow you to rest and recharge your mind enough to take on and accomplish important tasks.
To do this, the Pomodoro method involves breaking down major tasks into smaller goals. Establish a time interval for you to accomplish a goal However, the other important aspect of the Pomodoro technique is to take short breaks and rest after completing one activity.
In this strategy, one interval is referred to as a Pomodoro. Let’s say your established interval is 30 minutes. The Pomodoro method helps you stay method throughout this duration. After this interval, you give yourself a short 5 to 10-minute break to do anything non-work-related. Then, go back to work for another 30 minutes straight.
To avoid burning out, Cirillo also included the notion that after 4 Pomodori, you can take a slightly longer break. Resting for a good 20 to 30 minutes after continuously working for a couple of hours can give your mind enough rest to recharge for another stretch of deep focus for work.
Getting Things Done Strategy
Want to accomplish tasks and increase your productivity? The Getting Things Done (GTD) strategy is one of the most complex and comprehensive time management techniques. The GTD method was developed by author David Allen and it’s focused on the importance of goal setting in achieving and completing tasks.
The concept of the Getting Things Done technique emphasizes listing actionable steps to avoid stress. To do so, the GTD framework involves five different stages:
Stage #1: Capture
The first step is to list everything that comes to mind. Every task, chore, idea, or activity that you’ve thought about and want to accomplish. The goal is to completely empty your mind of things that you may be distracted by or worry about.
Stage #2: Process
After listing everything on your mind, the next step is to analyze every item and identify whether it is actionable or not.
Let’s say that you listed something about revising a proposal you created. However, you are still waiting for your supervisor to finish the proposal review. This makes this particular goal not actionable at the moment. Then, you can opt to delete, archive, or delay this task. On the other hand, if you have an item that is actionable, you can choose to do it or delegate it.
Take note that if the task takes less than 5 minutes to complete, it is best to do it as soon as possible. This allows you to cross an item off the list and prevent you from unnecessarily worrying about such a small task.
Stage #3: Organize
Organizing your tasks helps you further determine the next steps needed to accomplish them. The GTD framework emphasizes creating action lists, labeling them accordingly, and providing the necessary background information or context to help get a better grasp on each item.
Stage #4: Reviewing
This step helps polish everything on your list. The review process aims to keep everything up to date. It also allows you to delete, archive, or remove any item that no longer seems relevant or significant to your goals. Regular task reviews help you keep track of your progress and primary goal.
Stage #5: Engage
Once you’ve completely listed every task that needs to be done, the next step is to start working on these tasks. As part of the GTD framework, it’s important to make sure that you have everything you need to accomplish your designated task. Whether it’s a tool, a raw material, or something as simple as enough rest and energy. Doing so allows you to manage and spend your time properly.
The Eisenhower Matrix
Another way to improve your productivity is by knowing how to prioritize your tasks. The renowned Eisenhower Matrix was derived from former US President Dwight Eisenhower. Before becoming the president, Eisenhower served as an ALlied Forces Commander during the Second World War. Because of his high position in the military background, Eisenhower created a way to organize his task list depending on its importance and urgency.
The Eisenhower Matrix features four boxes labeled urgent, not urgent, important, and not important. Aside from sorting each task accordingly, this method also helps by guiding how to deal with each quadrant. According to this matrix, tasks that fall under the urgent and important box should be prioritized and accomplished first. Activities under the not urgent but important should be scheduled while those under urgent but not important can be delegated. Lastly, anything listed under the not important and not urgent category can be deleted or eliminated.
Time Blocking Strategy
Time blocking can be considered the simplest but also most efficient if done properly. The time-blocking method requires you to plan ahead and schedule your day ahead of time. The purpose of this technique is to keep every minute of the day spent on accomplishing important tasks and activities.
The time block strategy also allows you to stay focused and accomplish the set goals for that specific time block. Since each block is dedicated to one specific task or goal, you would be more organized. You wouldn’t be answering phone calls for one minute and then replying to emails after. Instead, the ideal scenario is to schedule your phone calls all within the same time block and do the same for other tasks such as answering emails, going to meetings, etc.
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