5 Strategies for Better Time Management
When you read about time management techniques, the most common advice is often to just get work done. But for many people, it’s harder than that.
If you’re getting pulled in many different directions and having to juggle lots of different tasks, these strategies can bring your time management to the next level.
Use To-Do Lists
This is an obvious option, but the first thing you have to do in order to manage your time is to plan it. You know how much time you have each day, so you just need to figure out how much time each task you have to do would take you. Get a notebook, or use a digital option if you prefer that, and make a to-do list to plan out your day.
Then, bump it up by planning hour by hour. This will help you stay focused on the task at hand because you won’t get distracted by the other tasks, since you already know when you’re going to tackle them.
Make sure you’re not too optimistic, though. If you think a task will take you an hour, give it an hour and a half. This way you won’t run past the schedule and will be able to check off every item on the list.
Group Similar Tasks Together
Make your to-do lists even more efficient by grouping together similar tasks. If tasks require similar types of effort, doing them all at once will help you keep up that effort and avoid the recalibration time that comes with multitasking.
If you need both planning and labor to complete several tasks, consider doing the planning for all the tasks first, and then do the labor.
Try the Pomodoro Technique
No matter how hard you try, you can rarely hold focus for the whole day. You need breaks, and you need them more often than once a day. There are many ways to handle this, but one of the most efficient ones is using the Pomodoro Technique.
The formula is work for 25 minutes, then take a five-minute break. Every four cycles, switch to a longer break. You can set your alarm clock to ring at certain times or use free online Pomodoro timers.
Take the 168 Hours Challenge
The 168 Hours Challenge is more of a strategic approach. It’s the number of hours in seven days, and this technique requires you to write down what you do each hour of the week as you do it. Carry a notebook and track your time with full honesty.
You’ll start seeing what are you wasting your time on and what are you doing inefficiently. This will help you set your priorities straight and improve how you perform tasks—or stop doing things you don’t need to do.
Plan Your Day by Priority
This advice can be combined with any of the other four techniques here: Plan each day with importance in mind. Schedule the urgent and difficult tasks in the morning so you won’t procrastinate, and leave the easy tasks for later, when you don’t need as much concentration and mental activity to perform well.