Increase Your Productivity With Time Management Techniques
Be honest – do you know how much time it takes to get ready for bed or how long your morning commute is?
Everybody knows that time is precious – we all want to spend it productively or mindfully. However, sometimes we procrastinate or poorly evaluate our time. Therefore, when we lose track of time, it gets difficult to get things done.
By being aware of our time on specific activities and tracking time during our day, we can learn to evaluate and manage our time much better.
Time Tracking Your Daily Habits
Being late is no fun – it puts a lot of pressure on you, makes you stressed, and can even let some people down. Whether you want to manage time better at work or improve your decision-making, tracking daily habits can be the first step.
Time track things that you do regularly, such as:
- Getting ready for bed or preparing for the day
- Household chores (cleaning, doing laundry, washing dishes, etc.)
- Cooking and eating
- Winding down and relaxation activities
Let’s say you must be at work by 9 AM. You know your morning commute usually takes around 30 minutes, and you can get ready in 20. Knowing this information helps you evaluate your time from when you wake up till you’re at your workplace.
You don’t have to be too precise, but knowing the approximates will help you keep track of time without looking at your watch or keeping a timer on.
Use Time Management Techniques
A few time management techniques can also assist you in tracking your time. They can be used for work, household chores, other activities, and short- or long-term goals.
Since there are dozens of different methods for time management, you can pick any that seems most suitable for you or use several in various areas of your life!
Implementing reliable time management techniques will improve your workflow and help you stay on track in your personal life and your job.
The Pomodoro technique
Combining rest and productivity, this unique approach divides your time into bite-sized pieces to aid you in staying productive throughout the day.
You need a timer and some tasks to work through to utilize this technique. Here’s how it goes:
- Set a timer for 25 minutes and focus on the task at hand. You can work on any task, in this case – work assignments, household chores, reading, etc.
- After the initial 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break. Set a 5-minute timer for your break, and walk around, make yourself some coffee or tea, or do anything else that helps you detach from the task temporarily.
- After the break, set a timer for 25 minutes again. Repeat this cycle of working and resting 3–4 times. After an hour of focused work time, take a more extended break (30 mins – 1 hour). Use this break to relax, have some food, or socialize.
- Repeat until the task is completed. Use these working and resting cycles for as long as your job is completed. You can use the Pomodoro technique for your shift if you’re at work. If you’re studying, exercising, or doing chores, repeat the cycle until you’re happy with your progress.
The Pomodoro technique trains you to understand that 25 minutes of hard work will reward you with a break. Moreover, by having a timer going every so often, you’ll know how long you’ve been doing a specific activity.
The Pickle Jar theory
This method allows you to prioritize and distinguish between essential and irrelevant tasks.
Imagine that you have a pickle jar full of sand, beach pebbles, and rocks. The sand sits at the bottom, and the rocks are on the top. Here’s what it means:
- The sand represents disrupting daily elements. These can be phone calls, emails and messages, social media, small talk when getting coffee at the office, and other minor disruptions.
- The pebbles are tasks that have to be completed. However, they are either not urgent or can be done by someone else.
- The rocks are the main tasks of your day. These are important and need to be completed today.
Take some time to explore how your daily tasks fit into these categories – which activities are critical to fulfilling today and which disrupt your productivity cycle.
After you distinguish which tasks fit into what category, make yourself a plan for the day. Prioritize “the rocks,” move on to “the pebbles,” and, if you have a spare minute, engage in “the sand” activities, too.
Again, it doesn’t matter if you’re working, studying, or doing some spring cleaning. You’ll make the best of your time by having clear priorities and being aware of the urgency.
Have you ever noticed that you can complete an assignment in an hour if it’s due soon, but it can take you a whole day to do the same thing if it’s not urgent?
That’s called Parkinson’s law – the more time you have, the longer it takes to accomplish something.
Oftentimes, having a lot of time on our hands can lead to procrastination, but that can be dodged by creating urgency. For example:
- Work without your computer charger to force yourself into finishing the project before the battery dies.
- Set yourself a deadline or limit the amount of time you work on a specific task (e.g., only 20 minutes a day).
- Promise someone to complete the task at a specific time.
It’s not a time management technique per se, but understanding how it works and creating urgency will improve your productivity without having to stretch the timeframe.
Sign of the Times
It can be challenging to stay productive and do the most with your time. However, by making mental notes of how long your tasks take and utilizing proven time management techniques, you can boost your concentration and productivity, and say goodbye to unfinished projects.
Of course, don’t forget to listen to your body and rest if needed, but remember – you are capable of achieving everything you’re aiming for, but beware of the time. You can manage the distractions and your time as well!