Good time management techniques simplify how you work and help you get things done simpler, easier and faster. Good time management and energy management depend on your ability to manage your time effectively so you can be more productive, produce bigger results and achieve your goals quicker.
Time management is the great simplifier. Without effective time management skills it’s easy to get stuck in an endless cycle of busyness and filling up time with tasks and more stuff.
One of the things I’ve noticed about busy work is that it doesn’t make people more productive or creative. In fact, it creates more complication and complexity.
Dealing with emails, going to numerous meetings, multi-tasking and working on low value activities is often not the best use of your time. This article shares the best time management techniques that will help you boost productivity and manage your time more effectively.
What are time management techniques?
There are many different time management techniques you can use to manage your time effectively. Time management is essentially energy management as the focus is on identifying your most important activities and then being productive on those activities until they are finished, rather than jumping between tasks.
Time management techniques are a set of systems and and strategies you can follow to get focused, be more organised, be more productive and be more effective with the time you have to achieve a specific result.
Some time management techniques have been created to help people become more focused, understand where they’re spending time or to help them avoid distractions.
Others are a whole life system for managing time personally and professionally.
Proven time management techniques to be more productive
Below are 5 time management techniques you can use right now to simplify your time, energy and focus and multiply your productive and results.
1. Take a time audit
If you want to manage time, the first step is to understand how you are spending your time right now. You can’t make a change until you have clarity on where you are and what’s working and what’s not working.
This time audit gives you a big picture view of the value you are creating and the results you are delivering versus the time you are investing.
It will help you simplify everything so you are doing very quickly whether you are using your time productively or not.
You will ned a sheet of paper or a time tracking app with four columns. The first step with a time audit is to write down everything you have done over the past 30 days and allocate the time investment against each item. Next, identify if each item is high value work, ok work or low value work.
Based on your analysis, you will be happy or not with how you’re managing your time.
Then it is about deciding how you can free up more time to do high value work and reduce the amount of low value work.
A good goal is to to invest more time in three areas of high value work and eliminate three thing sin low value work every 90 days.
Time management expert Laura Vanderkam works with people on creating their own time log to track their time and is a great resource.
2. Use the Pomodoro Techniques
The Pomodoro technique is a time management method that can help you stay focused on a specific task by working in specific time intervals. It helps you work with the time you have and can help you focus time, rather than allow time to expand.
You use the pomodoro technique in the same way as you may take on a high intensity workout at the gym as it is intensive and time based.
It is about working in a focused chunk of time, before taking a short break and then repeating this process through four pomodoros. At the end of four pomodoros, you then take a longer break, be that 25 minutes or 30 minutes. The idea behind this time management technique is that at the end of each pomodoro a timer rings to tell you to stop working.
The benefit of the this time management technique include better focus, effective planning, stress management, avoiding distractions, and stop multi-tasking.
Find out more about the Pomodoro technique Founder Francesco Cirilla.
3. Time Blocking
Time blocking is the time management technique of focused working on a specific project or task for a fixed period of time. It is similar to the pomodoro tecniques but you can set your own time frame chunks of time. Time blocking helps you schedule your time for maximum effectiveness.
Some people use time blocking to schedule out time for every task or responsibility they have each day in a colour coded calendar.
Others will use time blocking to get an important project done.
I personally prefer the time blocking technique of working in 45 minute blocks of time with 15 minute breaks in between to stay focused and on task.
Time blocking gives you additional accountability to do the thing you’ve scheduled to do and will also give you a better understanding of how long things take to complete.
Many writers and students use time blocking. They will set themselves a specific number of pages to write in a fixed period of time.
The author of Deep Work, Cal Newport is a big advocate of time blocking and has spent a lot of time analysing how it helps people become more productive.
4. Most Important Tasks (MITs)
To manage your time more effectively and be more productive, starting the day with your most important tasks in an essential time management technique. In it’s simplest form, your most important tasks should be the three things which, if you complete them, will make a big impact on your business and life.
They are your three biggest priorities.
Every day, create a list of two or three MIT’s, and focus on getting them done as soon as possible. Identifying what those big three are the night before in your evening routine, will help you be set up for success every day.
Your MIT is the task you most want or need to get done that day.
Rather than starting the day reacting to other people or doing a menial task, taking on your most important tasks will set you up for a successful day.
Leo Babauta at Zen Habits has a great article on how to purpose your day.
Task batching is an effective time management technique that allows someone to complete a group of similar tasks or projects together. Batching is about achieving maximum output, productivity, creativity and mental sharpness. It can help stop distraction, overwhelm, stress and fatigue of task switching or multi-tasking.
Many people will put aside a dedicated time period to complete something important with no interruptions.
Podcast creators and youtube video creators use batching to produce a number of podcast episodes or videos on the same day.
When people are in the zone or in flow it makes sense to maximise that effectiveness through batching.
Time management techniques: The bottom line
When busy people talk about not having enough time, it’s usually because they haven’t understood the value of their own time.
They haven’t prioritised it in the right way.
They have found the right time management techniques that work for them to help boost productivity and manage time effectively.
There are many time management techniques out there. The key is to find the one that works best for you.
Over to you.
Which time management technique works best for you?
How do you manage time effectively?
Let me know in the comments.
About the Author
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