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Manage Your Time Like You Manage Your Money, Then You Can Work Much More Productively

Manage Your Time Like You Manage Your Money, Then You Can Work Much More Productively

When it comes to time management most of us try to be efficient by getting tasks done quickly or focusing on the short-term benefits. Everyone has 24 hours in their day but how well do we utilise these hours? A better way of engaging our time management effectively is to look to the long-term rather than what we can achieve in the short-term.

Budget control is all about saving our money now in order to invest and assist us in the long-term. To utilise our time, and learn how to be more productive, we need to apply this concept to our time management and create a better and more efficient way to invest our hours so that we reap the benefits later on.

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Time Assets vs Time Debts

James Clear describes the concepts of time assets and time debts. Just like assets and debts are applied to our finances, they can be applied to the way we manage our time to increase or decrease our ability to prioritise skills, create time and our overall productivity.

Time assets are the actions we take that impact our time positively in the future – in other words, the choices we make today that will save us time further down the line. Setting up automation systems to send reminders or publish blog posts is an example of investing time now to save time later on. Putting extra time and effort into covering all bases in an instruction document will save you annoyances and time explaining things down the line when your employees don’t fully understand it.

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Time debts are the actions we do that will rob us of time in the future, much like a financial debt. A common example of this are emails. For each email we send out, we assume that we will receive an email back at some point that will need answering. Therefore, the more emails we spend sending out, the more time we are taking away from ourselves in the future. It seems productive at the time because we feel accomplished for emptying our inbox, but we don’t think about the inbox filling up again the next day.

Make sure the tasks you do today are saving you time in the long-run. Don’t just think in terms of what you need to complete in the coming work day and ticking off your to-do list because that will eventually become never ending and repetitive. It may feel like you’re being productive, but you’re not necessarily investing in that pot of free time you’ll acquire later.

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How To Be More Productive Using Time Assets

There are many ways you can subtly implement time assets into your daily work life. Sit down and think of ways you can streamline your daily tasks. Are there ways you could do them differently?

  • Set up automation systems that send out emails, updates, blog posts, articles.
  • Set up scheduling systems that take out a lot of the back and forth dealings with colleagues and clients.
  • Make use of money tracking apps such as EasyCost to translate your work tasks into monetary terms so as to decide what you plan to do will lead to time debts or not.

At the end of the day, we all want to learn how to be more productive and so we must think of time assets as a system that takes away unnecessary work and works for us as an invisible assistant. If you constantly fill your day with time debts then no matter how productive you are or how hard you work, it’ll be the same every day.

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So when it comes to your 24 hours, be smart and use those time assets to create more time, productivity and efficiency in your work life!

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Jenny Marchal

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

The Pomodoro Technique: Is It Right for You to Boost Productivity?

If you spend any time at all researching life hacks, you’ve probably heard of the famous Pomodoro Technique.

Created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is one of the more popular time management life hacks used today. But this method isn’t for everyone, and for every person who is a passionate adherent of the system, there is another person who is critical of the results.

Is the Pomodoro Technique right for you? It’s a matter of personal preference. But if you are curious about the benefits of using the technique, this article will break down the basic information you will need to decide if this technique is worth trying out.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management philosophy that aims to provide the user with maximum focus and creative freshness, thereby allowing them to complete projects faster with less mental fatigue.

The process is simple:

For every project throughout the day, you budget your time into short increments and take breaks periodically.

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You work for 25 minutes, then take break for five minutes.

Each 25-minute work period is called a “pomodoro”, named after the Italian word for tomato. Francesco Cirillo used a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato as his personal timer, and thus the method’s name.

After four “pomodoros” have passed, (100 minutes of work time with 15 minutes of break time) you then take a 15-20 minute break.

Every time you finish a pomodoro, you mark your progress with an “X”, and note the number of times you had the impulse to procrastinate or switch gears to work on another task for each 25-minute chunk of time.

How the Pomodoro Technique boosts your productivity

Frequent breaks keep your mind fresh and focused. According to the official Pomodoro website, the system is easy to use and you will see results very quickly:

“You will probably begin to notice a difference in your work or study process within a day or two. True mastery of the technique takes from seven to twenty days of constant use.”

If you have a large and varied to-do list, using the Pomodoro Technique can help you crank through projects faster by forcing you to adhere to strict timing.

Watching the timer wind down can spur you to wrap up your current task more quickly, and spreading a task over two or three pomodoros can keep you from getting frustrated.

The constant timing of your activities makes you more accountable for your tasks and minimizes the time you spend procrastinating.

You’ll grow to “respect the tomato”, and that can help you to better handle your workload.

Successful people who love it

Steven Sande of The Unofficial Apple Weblog is a fan of the system, and has compiled a great list of Apple-compatible Pomodoro tools.

Before he started using the technique, he said,

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“Sometimes I couldn’t figure out how to organize a single day in my calendar, simply because I would jump around to all sorts of projects and never get even one of them accomplished.”

Another proponent of the Pomodoro Technique is Sue Shellenbarger of the Wall Street Journal. Shellenbarger tried out this system along with several other similar methods for time management, and said,

“It eased my anxiety over the passing of time and also made me more efficient; refreshed by breaks, for example, I halved the total time required to fact-check a column.”

Any cons for the Pomodoro Technique?

Despite the number of Pomodoro-heads out there, the system isn’t without its critics. Colin T. Miller, a Yahoo! employee and blogger, tried using the Pomodoro Technique and had some issues:[1]

“Pomodoros are an all or nothing affair. Either you work for 25 minutes straight to mark your X or you don’t complete a pomodoro. Since marking that X is the measurable sign of progress, you start to shy away from engaging in an activity if it won’t result in an X. For instance…meetings get in the way of pomodoros. Say I have a meeting set for 4:30pm. It is currently 4:10pm, meaning I only have 20 minutes between now and the meeting…In these instances I tend to not start a pomodoro because I won’t have enough time to complete it anyway.”

Another critic is Mario Fusco, who argues that the Pomodoro Technique is…well…sort of ridiculous:[2]

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“Aren’t we really able to keep ourselves concentrated without a timer ticketing on our desk?… Have you ever seen a civil engineer using a timer to keep his concentration while working on his projects?… I think that, like any other serious professional, I can stay concentrated on what I am doing for hours… Bring back your timer to your kitchen and start working in a more professional and effective way.”

Conclusion

One of the best things about the Pomodoro Technique is that it’s free. Yeah, you can fork over some bills to get a tomato-shaped timer if you want… or you can use any timer program on your computer or phone. So even if you try it and hate it, you haven’t lost any cash.

The process isn’t ideal for every person, or in any line of work. But if you need a systematic way to tackle your daily to-do list, the Pomodoro Technique may fit your needs.

If you want to learn more about the Pomodoro Technique, check out this article: How to Make the Pomodoro Technique More Productive

Reference

[1] Aspirations of a Software Developer: A Month of the Pomodoro Technique
[2] InfoQ: A Critique of the Pomodoro Technique

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