TIME MANAGEMENT. FIND YOUR WAY
Time is our main and most valuable resource. In fact, we cannot control it, but we can organize ourselves so as to be in the “flow" and in time. Today on the bookshelves you can find many methods, principles and tactics to improve the quality of life, by organizing your own “time field” or “time management”, which includes our daily habits and current tasks, big goals and everyday issues.
It would seem that it is difficult to take a pen, a notebook and write down a schedule for today, tomorrow, the next week, a year. Open notes on your phone or download a planner, for example. Set goals, break them down into tasks and consistently solve them; what will we see? Everything is decided, nothing is forgotten, and there is still time. But it’s not interesting either! It is much easier to rush from one thing to another, from one task to another, and, in fact, do nothing. And you can also scold yourself, but wake up in the morning and continue the “lost” course. Or discover the so-called “time management” (time management).
What is time management?
(from English “time management”) is an effective planning of activities aimed at improving performance, competent distribution of resources and time.
Of course, everyone knows the direct translation. It is assumed that those who have mastered this science are able to be the master of their own time, independently set goals and objectives. Determine priorities, successfully plan and resolve all incoming issues. But most importantly, he knows the secret – how to do less and do more.
You need knowledge of the basics of time management in order to:
- Live “to the fullest”, finding time not only for work;
- To be able to correctly distribute the time resource into personal and professional, urgent and non-priority;
- Know the difference between important and unimportant business;
- To comprehend and understand one’s movement through life, to transfer time planning skills to other aspects of it;
- Go to a qualitatively new level of life full of motivation, energy and efficiency.
However, today we will not tell you “how and what to do in order to do everything in time and not drown in procrastination”, but we will consider some basic time management principles and techniques, having familiarized yourself with which you can choose the right one for you.
Basic principles of time management
A clear plan for your activities will always benefit, at least in the form of your own KPI. So plan ahead! Take a notepad or open notes on your phone, write on the wall if you want – it doesn’t matter. Schedule your day, you will know the sequence of actions – save time and energy. Designate and fix the goal, and break the path to it into tasks and subtasks – this will be your program to success.
SMART. All words in this abbreviation are a criterion of effectiveness. Strategic planning is unprofitable without a well-set goal. According to this principle, the goal must be: Specific (Specific);
Limited in time (Time-bound).
The SMART principle is relevant for setting work goals. Already at the moment of goal-setting, such a system helps to collect all incoming data together, set optimal deadlines, determine the availability of resources, and set precise, specific tasks.
By planning your path to your goal, you set your own pace by defining targeted tasks and consistently completing them, thereby greatly reducing your labor costs and wasted time. Divide large and complex tasks into small and capacious ones, perform them gradually, defining stages, order and deadlines.
The main thing is to fix it. Try using a Grant Chart – list all the tasks of your big project along with exact due dates, completion times, and sequences. Planning and decomposition, in turn, will allow you not to lose the big picture, not give up and stay within your time management.
There is a goal, there are tasks. Now it is important to properly prioritize them. Brian Tracy suggests “eat a frog for breakfast”, which means doing the most difficult thing first, not transferring dinner to lunch and “tomorrow”, because if you start the working day with the most difficult tasks, then the rest of things will go much easier. But this is just one of the approaches – choose the one that suits you.
Time Management Methods
1 “The Pomodoro Method” or “The 25 Minute System”
It was invented by Francesco Cirillo, which he used while preparing for the exam. And the method got its name because of the alarm clock in the form of a tomato.
Essence. Work and rest are divided into cycles
- 25 minutes work – 5 minutes rest = 1 cycle.
- 4 cycles = 30 minutes break.
This method facilitates complex, especially monotonous tasks, due to the time breakdown, which makes them more productive.
2 Method “90 by 30”
Owned by Tony Schwartz, according to the method, working time is 90 minutes, and 30 minutes is rest. Then the cycle repeats. At the same time, the first cycles are recommended for priority tasks.
There is also a breakdown into “52 and 17”, which is suitable for those who cannot “sit” for an hour and a half, concentrating only on work. Where, 52 minutes – this is work, 17 – respectively, rest.
3 The principle of 9 deeds
Or “The 1-3-5 Principle”. Might be good for a start. The essence is as follows, in a day you must complete:
1 business – important,
3 cases – medium,
5 cases – small.
This method is universal, however, it is formulated more in the category of cases and tasks than in time intervals.
4 The principle of three things
As you may have guessed by the name, this principle is similar to the previous one. The bottom line is that you need to do three tasks a day, those that are the most important. At the same time, the rest are relegated to the “background”.
It can be a great option at the moment when you feel that the routine begins to “eat up” and drag you out, distracting you from the really important moments and key goals. This method helps to prioritize, but there is one “BUT”, you will have to put aside minor things and not be distracted from them. We must pay tribute, sometimes such a “refocusing” can be useful.
5 Time Block Technique
For many, making a list of tasks for the day is a common thing, only things themselves do not have time, or do not meet KPIs. This is because the usual list of tasks does not take into account two things: the duration of each task and the exact time of the crime to it. The time blocks method takes both into account in time management.
The bottom line: allocate time for a specific case and at this time do nothing but him. It is important that things can be done within the allotted period, so the technique is more suitable for those who are already quite self-organized.
6 Метод GTD (Getting Things Done)
Designed by David Allen. The key idea is to get things done. This method is not only about time management, but also about working with information in general.
Speaking thesis, then:
1. Everything is recorded in one place (Inbox);
2. The received information is periodically sorted into categories;
3. Each item is assigned a status – important, pending, etc.;
4. Distributed cases are carried out strictly according to the plan.
The system denies the phenomenon of multitasking: in one period of time – one task. All information received in the form of cases, tasks, assignments, etc. – needs to be fixed. And, most importantly: to perceive any business / event – not as a problem, but as a task that needs to be solved.
7 ZTD Method (Zen to Done)
The method invented by Leo Babuata can be called a simplified version of GTD. It is based on the following habits:
– Collection of information in one place (the same inbox section);
– Operational processing of incoming information;
– Organization of information by categories;
– To-do lists should be compact and clear.
– Plan things, put urgent and important things in priority, get rid of everything unnecessary and superfluous;
– Focus on one thing, do not spray attention;
– Organize your routine and follow it;
– Do what you love.
Kanban – from the Japanese "billboard, signboard." As a rule, it is a diagram that allows you to visually see the workflow. The essence is in three sections: “To be done”, “To be done” and “Done”. But here it all depends on the project – you can safely add those stages / sections / labels that you consider necessary.
In general, the system allows you to track the status of tasks. The main advantage of this method is visibility. You can use a mind map or a simple whiteboard and sticky notes. The method was originally intended for workflow control in enterprises, but kanban is also great for personal planning and can be easily combined with other approaches.
9 Zero Inbox
The main idea is that the inbox should always be empty. The daily distribution of incoming tasks will help keep order in your head and affairs, thereby preventing the “snowball effect”. The method was introduced by Merlin Mann, and was used primarily for email, but it is quite suitable for working with documents and simply with cases from different aspects of your life.
10 Fresh or Fried
To be cool-headed today, prepare yesterday;
– a list of tasks for tomorrow is done in the evening,
– important and complex things are solved at the beginning of the day,
– on the new day, tasks are performed strictly according to plan, at the end of the day – a plan is prepared again.
Suitable for everyone who suffers from the “delayed life syndrome”. To everyone who constantly puts things off until later, and then runs “like on fire”.
Perhaps the most “gentle” method, especially for creative people. The bottom line: you can “intuitively” choose those tasks that you like and, first of all, start working with them. If you have not completed the task, you can send it to the end of the list and take the one you want now.
This method has two sides of the coin; focus on yourself – it is important, it helps to reveal those aspects in yourself that are really interesting to you, but at the same time you are not immune from “defocusing”, so it’s good to include some strategic aspects of time management in this approach.
12 Eisenhower Matrix
Dwight Eisenhower proposed to distribute all cases into four groups, which help to sort any number of tasks of varying degrees of complexity. The method is quite simple – we make a general list and go through all the points with the questions: “Is it important?”, “Is it urgent?”. The next step is to divide a sheet of paper into 4 parts, write cases in the appropriate cell:
1 Urgent and important;
2 Urgent but not important;
3 Not urgent but important;
4 Non-urgent and unimportant.
When you get into procrastination and don’t know where to start, which things to prioritize and which ones to postpone / forget, this time management matrix will help you.
13 4D system
Owned by Edward Ray, suggests the following:
- Do (to do). Something that only you can handle.
- Delegate (delegate). If you do not have time, you want to free up time for something more important, you can entrust the task to someone who will do it well for you.
- Delete (delete)
Give up unnecessary and irrelevant tasks.
- Delay (postpone)
If the issue is complex, but does not require a solution today, you can postpone it, while setting a deadline for its solution.
Gleb Arkhangelsky suggested an excellent method for finding missing time:
Step 1 – Figure out what you’re spending your time on. Every one or two hours, record everything done and analyze what you spent precious minutes on.
Stage 2 – fix the effectiveness of completed tasks in a certain period of time.
After – act. Increase gaps with effective costs, reduce time waste that is empty. Referring to this method periodically, you will be able to reasonably assess your productivity and make timely adjustments to the time management process.
15 Tim Ferriss System
It is based on two rules:
- Pareto principle – 80% of things can be done in 20% of the time
- Work fills all the time allotted for it (Parkinson’s law)
The main conclusion of Ferris: the main thing is concentration on work, and not the amount of time spent on it. By devoting only 20 percent of the time to work, but at the same time concentrating on all 100, you can get more done than in 80 unproductive percent.
The system is proposed for people with a predominantly flexible schedule, however, guided by this method, you can very well distribute and do more productively virtually any other work with the help of competent time management.
10 tips for those who have not decided yet
We looked at the basic principles of time management and suggested 15 different methods. Now you can choose the right one or test different ones until you find a comfortable one for yourself.
To get started, we will also give a few simple tips, maybe it will be easier for you to start with them:
1 day = 1 task. Daily actions towards the goal will definitely bring you closer to it. At least 60 minutes a day and you are already 10 steps ahead.
1 month = 1 goal. Same essence, but on a larger scale. Break the maximum goal into minimum tasks performed in a month.
The 2 minute rule. Part of the GTD method – if the case does not take more than 2 minutes. – do it and forget it.
10 minute method. When there is no desire to take on a task, but it is necessary, you can calm yourself down with 10 minutes. Perhaps this is enough for you to get involved in the work and it is already easy to continue.
“Eat a frog for breakfast” then you don’t have to postpone and worry, and secondary matters are solved easier and faster.
Alternate. As they say: a change of activity is also a rest. Diluting the monotonous work with other things, you can stay in the resource and be more productive.
Delegate and simplify. So, for example, some of the tasks in a work or home routine can be delegated or distributed. Plus, to speed up a variety of processes, today there are services that greatly simplify life.
analyze and develop
Analyze. What worked today and what didn’t. Why didn’t they make it? Where “procrastination” won and why. Draw conclusions and change the approach for the better.
Set deadlines. Nothing motivates like a deadline. By setting exact deadlines for your tasks, you will be able not only to manage everything planned and due, but also to switch to “you” with self-discipline.
Get rid of the unnecessary. Periodically arrange “clutter”, put things in order and in your head. When everything is on the shelves, there is no need to search and waste precious time. This is also an important part of your time management.
Develop. Don’t limit your employment to just work; otherwise, you risk burnout. Grow diversified, try new things. And how to achieve success at work and in life – read the article.
Feel free to use time management tools, find the ones that are comfortable for you and achieve personal and professional success. The result will not keep you waiting!
a bit about myths
Do not think that knowledge of time management is a panacea for all problems and that, overnight, you will become a superman! Because:
A. We cannot control time, but we can take control of our self.
B. You will not work more, you will do more efficiently. And doing something more, in one unit of time, you work less.
B. Time management is not a panacea, unfortunately, it will not help you if you set goals incorrectly, make rash spontaneous decisions.
D. Time management – suitable for everyone, but in different proportions and approaches.
D. Ideal does not happen, and any habits do not take root from the first day, but you will get involved, at first it is always difficult, but over time such a system will enter your lifestyle.