We all have the same 24 hours each day. But how efficiently we use these 24 hours is completely down to us. Good time management is key to accomplish more in a shorter span of time. Given below are six proven time management techniques by which you can tackle your tasks even if you’re short on time:
1. Pomodoro Technique
While it may sound funny at first, the secret to effective time management is: thinking about tomatoes rather than hours… Yes, you read it right! A lot of people swear by the power of the Pomodoro Technique. (Pomodoro means tomato in Italian).
This technique is from the time when we had cooking timers that looked like tomatoes. The idea behind it is that you should slice up your day into 25-minute slots and get your tasks done within those 25 minutes. And while you’re at it, just make sure to put your full focus on that particular task. That means turning off all your distractions, such as your phone and email notifications. Basically, don’t look at your phone and just concentrate on getting your job done.
After you’re done, make sure to take a five-minute break from the intense work session that you just had. In that time, you can check all your notifications and emails that will still be there for you!
2. ‘Eat the frog’ Technique
In the words of Mark Twain: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
Well, that might sound a bit nasty at first, but here ‘eat the frog’ refers to doing the hardest job or the job that you truly dread.
Complete such a task first thing in the morning, before all other tasks. The idea behind this technique is that you’re more likely to be able to focus on a hard or demanding job in the beginning of the day. This way, after your job is done, you’d be sure that the most unpleasant thing of the day already lays behind! It will make you feel like you have more time for the tasks that you actually enjoy.
3. 80-20 or Pareto Principle
80-20 rule is one of the most helpful concepts of time management. Also known as Pareto principle, named after its founder Vilfredo Pareto, the 80-20 rule suggests that 80 percent of the impact will come from 20 percent of your efforts.
How? Make a list of all the tasks that you need to tackle and decide the ones that you’d categorise as the ‘vital few’ or the top 20 percent in terms of their impact. Take these tasks first, as opposed to the ‘trivial many’ or the bottom 80 percent.
4. 4-D System
Here are the 4 Ds that are really helpful for time management:
Drop – Drop all the things that aren’t urgent or important.
Defer – Defer all the important tasks that aren’t urgent.
Delegate – Delegate all those tasks that someone else can do.
Do – Do all those tasks that are still left.
5. Urgent – Important Matrix
This technique aligns with the 4D System. Basically, in this technique you draw up a matrix with ‘Urgent’, ‘Not Urgent’, ‘Important’ & ‘Not Important’, and put all your tasks of the day into that matrix. You’ll then be able to see:
A: The urgent and important things that you need to do right now.
B: The urgent but unimportant things that you can delegate to someone else.
C: The non-urgent yet important things that you can defer to another time.
D: The non-urgent and unimportant things that you can drop for now.
6. The traditional ‘To-do List’
The to-do list is one of the most commonly used yet effective tools of time management. As the name suggests, you should make a list of all the tasks that you need to accomplish, before starting your day. Then, tick/cross them as you achieve them. This will help you be motivated as you see your progress during the course of your day.
In a nutshell, following all these time management techniques in your day-to-day life will allow you to get more learning opportunities, lower your stress, and help you focus — which will ultimately lead to your career success.
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