Are you always running out of time? I struggled with this a lot when I started my first business. I was always jumping from one thing to another without finishing anything totally.
Does this sound familiar? Try creating a time management plan: This is what you need to know to create your own plan.
Let's start with what time management is:
Time Management is the planning and exercising conscious control of time spent on specific activities.
Why use Time Management Techniques?
Effective time management allows us to make the most of our day, accomplishing tasks more quickly and prioritizing those tasks will make the most impact.
Achieving work-life balance is possible with effective time management.
Different people need different effective time management strategies. Figuring out a process that works for you, whatever that may be, is key to creating your most efficient life.
The main reason we are looking at time management is, many times, it is the first step in people creating a work-life balance. Most of us wish we had more time for family, friends and even for ourselves. With today's fast paced lifestyles it is hard to find balance and usually the first thing that suffers is our self care. Time management is more important than most people think.
Seneca, A Roman Philosopher said, "
"Life is long enough if time was all well-invested."
Time well managed is time well invested. You invest in a way that will give you a return, all others is wasted time. For this you need to first decide what your goals are and which is most important to you. We will talk about goal setting next.
First though, in order to be productive, it is recommended that you set up a morning routine. You should set up a framework to set up the tone of your day and gives you a predictable return. The same routine every morning starts your day off on a good note. Routine brings freedom. El Rod author of "Miracle Morning" said the morning ritual "is the most important ritual. It will get uou fired up for the day." It will help you invest in doing the things that work on your personal development.
Here is an example of some morning rituals:
Writing in Journal
The recommended minimum is:
Exercise 10-20 minutes
Read your purpose out loud. (What you are striving for today)
Vizualize that you have achieved your purpose, how you will avoid distractions, yourself making the most of the day.
Why Set Goals?
You need to set goals for work, home and personal things because:
Goals help you be more productive.
Goals give you focus.
Goals motivate your day.
Goals allow you to measure progress.
Goals encourage you to take action.
Goals stop you from being distracted.
Goals give you control of your future.
Goals give you a sense of purpose in life.
Steps for Setting Goals:
Choose specific goals from that list that you want to work on.
Determine and create objectives for each goal, this involves creating a plan of action.
Make sure to follow through
Put goals in writing and give to anyone involved
Evaluate progress regularly
"A Goal Without a Plan is Just a Wish"
To make things way easier for you, I am giving you the templates that I use every day for Setting my goals, scheduling what needs to be done and a template on setting "SMART" goals.
Just click the button below to get them emailed to you!
Next, is choosing the time management technique (or a combination of ) that you want to use.
Now let's take a look at some of the different techniques so you can decide which one (or a combination of) is best for you.
Time Management Techniques:
Pareto Analysis (a.k.a. the 80/20 rule)
Uses the idea that 20% of actions are responsible for 80% of outcomes.
Here is how it works:
List some of the problems you are facing.
Identify the root cause of each problem
Assign a score to each problem (higher numbers are more important problems)
Group problems together by cause
Add up the score of each group. The issue with the highest score is the issue you work on first.
Type of people who would benefit from Pareto Analysis:
This method was invented by Francesco Cirillo, in the early 1990's to help people stay focused and it is still widely used today. This is the method I use, with a little tweeking here and there.
It uses short timed intervals called pomodoros. There is actually an app out that alarms with 30 second intervals to use with this technique. The app is called 30/30.
Here's How it Works:
Choose your task(s)
Set the timer to 25 minutes. Work on the task until the timer goes off. This puts you "in the groove" and you tend to concentrate much harder and work faster when you know your time is limited.
Work! Avoid constantly checking the timer and avoid distractions.
.When timer goes off, take a short 5 minute break. Get up during this time. Do not take the break at the same spot that you were working. Stretch, move around, use bathroom and refill water.
After 4 Pomodoro cycles, take a longer break of 20 minutes.
Rinse and Repeat.
Distractions: During pomodoro cycles, do your best to limit distractions. FOCUS! Put phone on DND. If someone does call: The Creator of Pomodoro says to Inform, Negotiate, Call back shortly. (Inform the distracting party that you're in the middle of something; negotiate a time which you can get back to them.
When to Use It:
when you can't get motivated to study or work
tell yourself you only have to do one session- start small. You may want to do more after that session, because you have built momentum now.
Pomodoro is a productivity system to serve you. Don't feel obligated to always take a break if you're in the groove. You can also modify Pomodoro by changing the time working and break times. Whatever suits you best. I usually work for 50 minutes and break for 15 minutes. I find that works best for me.
In this method you prioitize according to urgency or importance.
Rank all of your work and chores with A, B, or C in order of importance. With A being most important.
You can also break it down further if you choose to. Prioritize within each category, by breaking it into sub-sets A1, A2, A3, B1.....C3.
Then you work on these tasks in order. Completing one before going onto the next.
Divide a piece of paper into two columns. On the left, write down each hour of the day. Create blocks of time. (half hour to hour chunks)
Estimate the time it's going to take to complete each of your tasks and fit them into your time blocks. Most people tend to underestimate the time it takes to complete a task, so be generous to yourself.
Add buffer times in between each time block to allow for adjustment during the day.
Types of people this works for:
Working students or parents
Getting Things Done (GTD) Method
Write down the actions that have your attention (work, school, personal)
Clarify what they mean. Are they actionable? If not, ignore it for now. If it is, do it, delegate it or set it aside.
Prioritize your to-do list according to what you need to get done first, second, third etc. When it needs to be completed is important in this method.
Reflect: Review your list frequently to determine your next priority. Cross off tasks you have done.
Engage: Take the actions or smaller tasks you can complete right now and do them first.
Types of People Who will Benefit:
People who struggle to focus on one thing at a time
People who feel overwhelmed in their daily lives.
Time Managment Tips
Understanding your top priorities and allocating necessary time for importat tasks make or solid time management skills. It also helps you organize your dail calendar so you can stay on track throughout the day.
Prioritize your task list and organize by priority by considering two factors:
The task's value
The risk of not completing it.
Your brain is not programmed to handle numerous tasks at once.
Multitasking puts you at risk for making up to 50% more errors.
Empower yourself to say "No"
Saying no is not always easy but its a way of extablishing boundries with yourself and those around you.
Time management helps you understand what needs to be prioritized today and what can wait until tomorrow.
Don't underestimate the power of a few minutes
Short breaks here and there add up to be a big chunk of your day
Make time for your distractions
Schedule at least a15 minute break every 75-90 minutes. Your brain can retain information better if you take frequent breaks.
Stick to it, but refine as needed.
Eventually the dedication to time management will become second nature.
If you are still struggling to manage your time, look into alternative approaches.
My Time Management Plan (What methods I use to manage my time)
Below is the link to the templates that I use for time management. Along with instructions on how to use them. They are yours FREE if interested. Just click the button below.
First I use the "Goals" sheet to set my goal for the week coming up. I do this on Friday's before work ends. My main goal or "big task" always contributes to moving the business forward. (this is what keeps all of my tasks on target to the businesses overall goals.)
Then I break down that goal into 3 different milestones that I must meet to reach the "big task"
Under each milestone I write the tasks or actions that it will take to complete that milestone, and the time I think it will take to complete each action. I also add in time for distractions.
From there I take each action and write it on my "Daily Schedule" Sheet under "Work & Break Ritual"
in the 45 minute slot. If an action is going to take longer than 45 minutes I use two slots, if less than 45 minutes, I write in two actions. I try to get them as close to 45 minutes as possible. If there is time left over in that slot I use it for "distraction time".
I also make sure that I leave all of the non-measurable tasks, like reading emails, for the end of the day. This way you don't start reading emails and suddenly realize that half of your day is gone. I also block out time in the morning for things like exercise, visualizing, and journaling.
At the bottom of the "Daily Schedule" I fill out the week review every Friday afternoon. This helps me see where I need to improve and what I did accomplish that week.
I hope that this blog and the templates help you manage your time better! If you have any comments or questions please feel free to comment on the blog.