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People Who Manage Their Time Well Follow These 3 Rules

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People Who Manage Their Time Well Follow These 3 Rules

I’m sure you are constantly told to manage your time better, because it boosts your efficiency, saves time, and reduces stress. Everyone knows the benefits of a better time management, but how many of us could actually do it?

Most of us like to procrastinate and realize we don’t have much time left, then the thought of having a lot of unfinished tasks stresses you out. If you find yourself working last minute, or submitting your task late, your time management needs some help.

Before I tell you how you could manage your time better, you need to know what it means to have good time management.

Good time management doesn’t mainly focus on quantity.

To most people, managing your time well equals getting more done in less time.

Say you have 20 things to do within 10 hours, and you successfully finish all the tasks on time. The more things you can accomplish in a limited time frame, the better your time management is.

Without a doubt, you finish everything on your to-do list on time, but is this the most effective way to manage your time?

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It is more effective to focus on quality.

Time management is basically organizing and planning how much time you spend on the tasks in hand. Having better time management takes time and skill. The more effective time management focuses on doing a few things with great importance, which means quality over quantity.

Focus on the results rather than the activities. It’s good to keep track of how much you have done, but it is more important to decide on what you should pursue on how much value you could add.

When you don’t feel stressed or overburdened as you move from one task to the other, you know you have a better time management. Here are 3 ways to improve your time management skills:

1. Prioritize your tasks according to their importance and urgency

Before you work on the tasks on your to-do list, you have to know which ones are urgent and important. This is the Eisenhower’s principle.

  • Important tasks lead you to achieve your personal goals; while
  • Urgent activities are immediate, with instant consequences, these tasks are usually associated with achieving someone else’s goal.

The Eisenhower’s principle suggests prioritization of tasks into four levels:

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    1. Important and urgent: These tasks should be dealt with FIRST. They are either unexpected issues or those you have waited until the very last minute to work on. You can plan ahead to avoid the latter from happening, but for unplanned surprises, leave some time out in your schedule to allow room for buffering.
    2. Important but not urgent: These activities are important to achieve your goals, so make sure to give yourself plenty of time to work on.
    3. Not important but urgent: These are the roadblocks to block you from accomplishing your own tasks, and they are usually from others. Don’t be worried to say “no” or delegate the tasks to someone else. But do leave some slots open, in case people really need your help.
    4. Not important and not urgent: Always avoid these tasks. They are simply distractions.

    The main key to better prioritize your tasks is leaving slots of time out to make sure you have enough time if something goes wrong.

    2. Smartly use leverage to gain more

    There are many approaches to one task, and all of them are effective, but to truly make use of the least effort for the greatest returns, apply the concept of leverage to finish your task.

    One of the ways to make the most out of everything is to find common patterns in tasks and set up a workflow so you can smoothly finish all the tasks you need without spending unnecessary extra time and energy.

    Say you need to write 3 articles in 10 hours. You dissect the processes in writing a article, like research, writing, and proofreading. You then develop a workflow to avoid writing while researching, then going back to edit your article.

    Another way is to leverage other’s time. I have mentioned there are “not important but urgent”, and these are the tasks you can delegate to ease your burdens.

    Here are more suggestions on leveraging your time.

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    3. Give yourself timed sessions and short breaks

    Sometimes, spending too much time on a single task can actually backfire. The law of diminishing returns suggests there’s a point where the level of profits may not be in proportion to the level of investment.

    To better your time management, you have to keep in mind to not over-invest your time in certain tasks. You can use the Pomodoro Technique[1] to avoid working overtime.

    The Pomodoro Technique is developed in 1980s. The Italian word “pomodoro” means “tomato”. The technique is simple — divide and structure your work in 25-minute sessions (or pomodori), with a 5-minute break in between.

    Say you are working a presentation, you estimate you need around 125 minutes to complete the task. You divide the task into five 25-minute sessions with a short break in between. Make sure the sessions don’t clash with your other plans or commitments. Set a timer to 25 minutes and start your work. Take a rest after each session then repeat until the sessions are over. Take a 20 to 30-minute break afterwards.

    Use technology to start bettering your time management.

    It might be difficult to incorporate the Eisenhower’s principle, the concept of leverage, and Pomodoro Technique all into one for a better time management. Here are three time management apps to help you along the way:

    MyLifeOrganized (MLO)

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      The first step to better your time management is organization. MLO offers help for you to target what you want to accomplish in order to meet your objectives. It generates to-do lists for you, prioritize your tasks, and track your actions.

      Toggl

        It’s always good to have a log sheet to time yourself. Toggl helps you to manage your time better by tracking how much time you spent on each and every task.

        Focus Booster

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          Have you ever wandered off to somewhere else while working on something important? Focus Booster uses the Pomodoro Technique and allows you to set a timed sessions for better focus and work quality.

          Reference

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          Frank Yung

          Writer. Storyteller. Foodie.

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          Last Updated on October 21, 2021

          How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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          How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

          Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

          Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

          The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

          Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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          Program Your Own Algorithms

          Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

          Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

          By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

          How to Form a Ritual

          I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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          Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

          1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
          2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
          3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
          4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

          Ways to Use a Ritual

          Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

          1. Waking Up

          Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

          2. Web Usage

          How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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          3. Reading

          How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

          4. Friendliness

          Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

          5. Working

          One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

          6. Going to the gym

          If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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          7. Exercise

          Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

          8. Sleeping

          Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

          8. Weekly Reviews

          The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

          Final Thoughts

          We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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          More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

           

          Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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