Time management techniques: solutions for improving performance
Saving time, today, has become a real necessity. After all, it is very common to hear (and say!) that days should be more t han 24 hours long in order to get everything done, right?
From a professional aspect, it is not by chance that the maxim “time is money” remains so relevant. In addition, having more time to rest and be able to dedicate yourself to your personal life also impacts directly in your productivity and quality of life on a daily basis.
The real solution to these issues is not simply to “get things done faster” or use the impossible dream of “stopping the clock”. It’s much simpler: to properly manage your time. But how? By using time management techniques!
Currently, there are several time management techniques, from the simplest to the most sophisticated. To apply them, you can use a pencil and paper, or even use specialized software that helps you in your day to day.
The solutions can be very practical and simple to adopt.
Discover some time management techniques
1- GTD Method
The GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology assumes that getting reassurance from control over things will bring better results. GTD has 5 steps:
- Collect: in this first stage, the goal is to collect everything that deserves your attention and organize it. Example: Think about the activities you really need to do, and make a list of tasks – on your computer, on your smartphone, or on paper.
- Clarify: now, analyze with sufficient focus on each piece of information you have collected and decide whether each demands action, or not.
- Organize: organize the items that remain from the previous step in the way that you prefer. Make lists and separate tasks according to the similarities between them.
- Reflect: frequently check all the lists made to ensure that you are not forgetting any tasks. At a minimum, you should do this once a week.
- Engage: it’s time to actually execute the selected tasks on your lists.
2 – Pomodoro Method
The Pomodoro technique (tomato, in Italian) is another time management technique option considered efficient.
The method is widely used by students who seek to better use their time when studying.
Created in the 1980s, the technique preaches the division of workflows into intervals of time (called “pomodoro”, each of 25 minutes), promising to stimulate the focus and agility of the brain’s functioning. The steps of the method would be:
- List: Create a list of tasks you need to perform
- Time: set a timer for 25 minutes
- Work without breaks: from the start list, select a task to perform first and work on it without any interruptions (it is essential not to pause the task in that period!)
- Break: as soon as the 25 minutes are up, take a 5 minute break, taking the time to do something to relax you.
- Resume: after the break, resume the activities for another “pomodoro”. Perform intervals at the end of each.
- Long Pause: after four “pomodoros”, take a longer break – 30 minutes – then restart the task.
- Task completed: only when finished, scratch the task from your initial list.
3. Kanban Method
The Kanban method is more than a time management methodology, it is a project management technique widely used in large companies, but you can also use it, in a simplified way, to help you plan your day better.
This methodology consists of grouping tasks in a table divided by columns. Manually (or with the aid of software), each task must be written on a card and transferred according to its progress.
For example: create a framework with lists titled “in progress”, “completed” and “to do”, and position the tasks in each division as they are performed.
Software to better manage your time
Beyond paper and pen, there is time management software that helps you optimize your time and increase your productivity on a day to day basis. Many, even, can use and combine methods like those mentioned above in a simpler and faster way.
- Trello: software that uses kanban methodology, ideal for project management.
- Evernote: cloud based, offers options like creating lists, reminders, and attaching documents, as well as being able to share that content with others.
- Google Calendar: a digital calendar that indicates what your tasks are and when they should be delivered.
- Internal communication software: in an organization, effective internal communication is essential for saving time. Options like Slack , HipChat, Azendoo and even social networks (corporate or otherwise) can help in this process.
- Cloud Drives: sharing files on drives in the cloud is a great solution for increasing efficiency. Software like Google Drive, DropBox and OneDrive are useful options.
Other Important Tips
- Automate repetitive tasks: use software to aid in activities that are performed often, such as issuing invoices, for example.
- Start with the “less exciting” tasks: the most unpleasant duties are those that usually require more time and energy. So, starting with them can be more efficient than leaving them to the end of the day, when fatigue will normally be worse.
- Important or urgent tasks? Learn to share what tasks are important and which are urgent, after all, you must understand that they are not synonymous. From there, delegate unimportant duties and prioritize those that are urgent. The Eisenhower Matrix is a time management technique that can help you in this case.
- Learn to delegate activities: knowing how to delegate tasks to trusted people and supervising them will save you the time you would spend trying to do everything yourself.
- Healthy habits: adopt healthy habits, such as separating a part of the day for exercise and regulate your sleep. This is one of the keys to improving your productivity and, above all, to having a balanced life.
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