5 Productive Ways to Manage Your Time Wisely
How to manage your time wisely?
Can you manage your time well? Why is it important to manage time and learn time management systems?
Today we are talking about managing you 24 hours in a way that keeps you sane, doesn’t exhaust you, and makes you successful.
Why is it so important to manage your time well?
Every morning, the moment you open your eyes, you are diving into a stressful world.
On top of all that rushing and running here and there, you also have the feeling that instead of catching up, you’re always getting behind… with basically everything.
Did I guess it right?
Well, my days aren’t too much different than yours, and I feel equally as drained as you.
Why should you learn to manage your time better? Well, just read the paragraph from above again.
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How to manage your time wisely?Stress, exhaustion, unnecessary busy-ness, delayed success, and overall bad mood are all very real reasons you want to start managing your time better.
Yes, you understand Why of the time-management.
To be honest, it’s a no-brainer.
How to manage your time wisely when all you get is 24 hours, a spouse, a demanding job, and a few kids?
How to make it all work without giving up your sleep, your self-care habits, and your sanity?
Today I will share 5 productive and smashingly well-working time management systems you want to try.
In fact, I’m not asking you to choose one and go for it.
I advise you to try them all in the next few weeks and see which one works the best for you.
Ready to get productive and be in charge of your days?
Read until the end to find out the most common time management mistake and how to get your hands on some free time management tools.
5 Time Management Techniques That Will Boost Your Productivity Over The Roof
1. The Eisenhower Matrix 4 Quadrants Time Management
Have you heard of the Eisenhower Matrix to plan your tasks?
Named after the American army general Dwight David Eisenhower, this time management technique will prioritize your tasks, projects, and ideas. Prioritizing well is one of the keys to successful time management.
The image below will show you how you could use the matrix to your advantage when deciding on the next project. The matrix is simple, actually.
You have 4 quadrants, and in each one of them, you write a different category as shown on the photo: Urgent; Not Urgent; Important; Not Important.
Now you have the basics of the matrix. How do you use it?
Get your to-do list, your brain dump, your list of tasks, and start transferring the tasks and the projects in your matrix. Write each one of the tasks in a different quadrant.
First quadrant: Urgent + Important = projects and tasks you need to perform asap, and they must be done by you. They need to go on the schedule for today (depending on the project – tomorrow works fine too)
Example: projects with a missed deadline or the due date is in the next couple of days; cooking healthy dinner, and so on.
Second quadrant: Important + Not Urgent = Important projects and tasks you need to do, but they aren’t urgent, and you can do them later. These are the tasks you want to schedule for the future. Choose dates that give you enough time to work calmly on the projects, so you don’t rush them as you did in quadrant one.
Example: Shopping for holidays (when you have like a month left)
Third quadrant: Urgent + Not Important = Tasks and projects must be done, but it isn’t necessary to be performed by you. You have options to delegate them to someone else or use a program for them.
Example: Doing the laundry (important, but could be done by anyone else in the house too)
Forth quadrant: Not Urgent + Not Important = Tasks and projects that are not important and can be postponed or deleted. The tasks from this quadrant aren’t your priority, and if you don’t have the time for them – just delete them. If you want to keep the ideas around, schedule to revise them in a week or a month time, depending on how busy you are.
Example: Shopping for summer clothes in the middle of December (do you do that?)
2. The Pomodoro Method
The Eisenhower Matrix helped you prioritize your tasks, delegate or delete them.
The Pomodoro system will help you actually get things done fast in a tight bubble of time. The tight bubble of time is 25 minutes.
Here’s how the process goes:
- Decide which task you are going to work on;
- Set a timer for 25 minutes;
- Work on the task for 25 minutes, without any interruptions;
- When the alarm goes off, take 5 minutes break;
- Repeat the cycle four times in total – after every 25 minutes of work, take a few minutes break.
- After your fourth 25 minute session, take a 15-30 minutes break.
- Do it all over again until you finish with all of your tasks for the day.
Why the tomato? The Pomodoro technique was developed by the Italian Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. It’s named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer the Italian used (in Italian the word for tomato is pomodoro)
If you’d like to test this time management technique, here’s a website that will help you set the timer.
By the way, I wrote this post using the Pomodoro system; it took me three cycles; I’m amazed how well I work when pushed by time…
3. 80/20 Pareto Principle
Here’s another time management system that has Italian origins.
The Pareto Principle is named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who noted that 80% of the land in Italia is owned by 20% of its population. (Wikisource)
That was in 1896, though. Shortly after that, the management consultant Joseph Juran develops the 80/20 Principle that says this: 80% of your results come from 20% of your work.
Meaning, whatever you do now and whatever your success is, it probably comes from 20% of the work you put in daily.
Here’s the question, though.
What do you do if you are not sure where your 20% are?
One of the easiest ways is to reflect on your past week/month/year’s success. It all depends on your work or the area you would like to improve. Reflecting and good-old-data-collection will quickly tell you where your efforts paid off really well. These are your 20%.
The second way to find your 20% is by creating a list of your goals and reduce the list to 10 goals only. Out of the 10 goals, outline the one that will give you the most results right now. Write the action steps and start working on it.The secret is to find where your 20% are and focus on them even more. In this way, you will manage to multiply your overall success. Smart, right?
4. Eat That Frog Time Management System to Manage Your Time Wisely
Eat That Frog is actually the name of a book by Brian Tracy, a productivity and time management expert who’s spent years researching the best ways actually to get things done.
It’s a very straightforward system based on a famous saying by Mark Twain.
The writer claimed that if we all eat a live frog every morning after we wake up, we could be relaxed for the rest of the day as we would know that the worse is already behind us for that day.
Well, Brian Tracy doesn’t advise us to eat a frog every morning, but his productivity system is based on picking the hardest and most challenging task for the day and getting it done first thing in the morning.
In this way, we will know that the most demanding job is already done whatever the day offers us.
I often use that system, and I know it works like magic. The hardest thing that takes a lot of time for me is writing blog posts for my two blogs.
If I get up early and scribble that post as the very first thing to do, I know that I’ve achieved over 50% of my daily work value.
Did you eat your frog for the day?
5. 168 Hours Time Management System
That’s the exact amount of hours we get in one week time.
They are never less, never more, and they are non-refundable. Once gone, they are really gone.
How do you spend them then?
I am not sure I would agree it is precisely a time management system, but it is eye-opening for sure.
Here’s what I mean.
The system’s main idea is to count how many hours you spend on everything you do in a week. You must include the sleep hours, work hours, commute hours, cooking, social media, time out with family/friends, time spent with kids, time spent in front of the TV, and so on.
The most shocking result is when you end up with a handful of hours, you don’t know how you spent.
The alternative is that you realize you’ve spent too much time on a task you believed took you a lot less.
168 system isn’t about managing your time. Instead, it’s about realizing what you do with your time and finding a way to utilize it better.
Are you willing to follow your own steps for a week and find out what takes you too long, and what deserves more attention?168! That's the exact amount of hours we get in a one week time. They are never less, never more, and they are non-refundable. Once gone, they are really gone.
5 Most Common Time Management Mistakes That Stops Your Productivity
What are the most common time management mistakes?
I’ve outlined the top 5 most common time management mistakes. Read through them carefully. How many did you tick off? Be honest with yourself; nobody knows you’re reading this (except Google, they know everything!)
How many tasks can you do at once?
I used to be proud of myself when I was managing a few projects at a time or was doing a few things at the same time.
However, recently I found out that we, human beings, aren’t able to multitask. Multitasking is doing a few things simultaneously, but in reality, our brains aren’t developed with the ability to focus on a few different things at the same time.
In fact, what happens is that our brain switches very fast from one task to another, and we believe it’s multitasking.
To make it simple – your brain cannot focus on a few ideas but can jump from one idea to another so fast that you are left with the impression you’re actually doing it all at once.
The result is devastating: your brain gets tired very fast, and every time it “jumps” to another task, it does it slower than the last time.
You get exhausted not because you do many things, but because you try to do them all at once.
Psst, that’s why schedulers exist, and all of the time management systems are ready for you to try them.You get exhausted not because you do many things, but because you try to do them all at once.
2. Bad Prioritizing
Bad prioritizing is worse than no prioritizing at all.
By picking the wrong stuff to focus on, you literally stress yourself over everything you “must do” but don’t.
How do you prioritize better?
Check the 80/20 Pareto principle above to give you ideas on how to improve prioritizing your tasks.
3. Not Trying New Systems
Ok, here’s the truth you refuse to accept: You say that the time management techniques don’t work for you. I say you aren’t willing to try them all and stick to them for a while until you find the one that actually works for you.
Try new things. All. The. Time.
If the Pomodoro system doesn’t make you feel comfortable with the timers, go for the Eat That Frog idea.
If you cannot find what your “daily frog” is, that means you must push your prioritising further.
Find what works for you, not for your neighbor or the latest influencer you follow.
Of course, you will do that project for the university… but first, you need coffee. While you’re waiting for the coffee machine, you scroll through your Facebook feed and see a video that you “must” watch. You sit down with the coffee in your hand and watch that video. Then you must see what people say in the comments…
Once you’re done, you drink water (’cause the video was about the benefits of hydration). Yeah, but you must visit the bathroom, and also.. you’re already hungry…
You get the point.
Procrastination is your closest friend and your worst enemy.
Just do the things.
5. Not setting due dates and deadlines to manage your time wisely
Here’s an interesting fact I was reminded of recently – the time you have to perform a task is the exact time it will take you to perform it.
In fact, that’s called Parkinson’s Law and it states that work expands to fill the time allotted.
Meaning, if you have two hours to do five things (deadline) it will most likely take you two hours to finish all five tasks. If you give yourself a full day for it, it will most likely take you a full day to finish them all.
By setting up deadlines and due dates for your projects and tasks, you push a very special button in your brain and your mind starts calculating the ways to fit the task in the given time.
To summarise it for you: Stop procrastinating, prioritize well and set due dates and deadlines to get things done. Meanwhile, don’t give up on experimenting with the ways to manage your time wisely.Here's an interesting fact I was reminded of recently - the time you have to perform a task is the exact time it will take you to perform it.
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