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Getting More Things Done Means Nothing When Nothing Great Is Done

Getting More Things Done Means Nothing When Nothing Great Is Done

It’s an unwritten law of the corporate world, that the better you work – the more responsibilities you’ll gain.

These responsibilities will typically come in the form of more tasks assigned to you, more projects to manage, and more people (clients, co-workers, etc.) to take care of.

You gain these extra responsibilities when people above you on the career ladder feel that you have the relevant knowledge, context and power to do things better than the average employee.

Despite your positive attributes and obvious capabilities, you may find yourself forever prioritizing tasks based on the dates they need to be completed. These dates could be requested by someone, part of a deadline, or something that your co-workers have agreed to.

Just for a moment, put your working life aside, and imagine that you have own business selling hot dogs. You started your business a few years back, simply selling hot dogs from a little food truck that you parked on the corner of a busy street.

    As your hot dogs began to sell, you found yourself beginning to get more and more customers.

      Eventually, business was so brisk that you had to hire a few members of staff to help you out.

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        However, it was at this point that you focus began to change from making and selling hot dogs, to training and mentoring new staff. Unfortunately for you, your newly-hired helpers weren’t as good as you at making hot dogs (despite the training).

          Still, your business was doing okay. As more people came to your hot dog truck, plenty of them asked for drinks too. So you decided it would be a good idea to make and sell your own lemonade.

            You spent several weeks tweaking your lemonade recipe until you found what you believed to be the perfect taste. You then began to make it – spending hours per day in the process.

              Sadly, when it came to launching the drink to your customers, you were dismayed to find that very few of them liked it. And because your new staff hadn’t be able to make the hot dogs as tasty as you did, fewer and fewer customers came.

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                Looking back, you can see that your initially successful business went badly off track. You were producing sub-standard hot dogs, and a lemonade drink that no one wanted. On top of this, you were spending a significant amount of your time just managing your staff.

                The above scenario is a good representation of what happens to most businesses and to the people working in them.

                Turn Things Around with the Little-Known ‘Time Pyramid’

                I’m guessing that you’ve never heard of the Time Pyramid. Few people have. However, it is a super-useful tool for instantly visualizing what you should be spending your working time on.

                Think for a moment about your own work, do you spend most of your time working on tasks with the greatest values? Most likely not, as the majority of people spend little time on things that have the greatest impact. (Think back to the earlier hot dog selling scenario.)

                The time pyramid of how most people spend their time at work looks like this:

                  As you can see from the image, tasks that fall at the tip of the pyramid is of the greatest value, or have the biggest impact when completed. The middle of the pyramid covers tasks that are important – but are still lower in value than those at the tip. Finally, the base of the pyramid is strictly for tasks with the lowest value or impact.

                  In reality, most people spend the bulk of their time on tasks with the lowest value. These tasks are like the lemonade making in the hot dog story – they can be nice to do, but often fail to move the needle in the right direction.

                  Are you wondering how to use the time pyramid to your advantage?

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                  Well, it’s a very good question, and one that actually has a simple answer. You just need to invert your existing pyramid like this:

                    Tasks with the greatest value that you currently spend the least amount of time on, become your priority. Middle tasks stay the same, and tasks with the lowest value that you currently spend the most amount of time on, are placed at the bottom of the pyramid – where they belong!

                    How to Use the Time Pyramid

                    When you begin to use the Time Pyramid correctly, you’ll instantly be able to see the tasks that need your immediate time and attention, and those that don’t. It’ll be surprisingly easy to minimize time spent on low value tasks, while maximizing time spent on those all-important tasks.

                    By making this simple, but dynamic change to your working pattern, you’ll quickly begin to reap significant rewards.

                    As an example for you, imagine that you work as a project manager. Before learning about the Time Pyramid, you found yourself spending the best part of your time in meetings, answering emails and dealing with administrative tasks. While all of these things are useful and needed, they stole your time away from actually working on managing projects. Upon coming across the Time Pyramid, you immediately saw the error of your ways. From that day on, you put your efforts into tasks that helped your projects to reach completion in the quickest and smoothest way possible.

                    It’s truly amazing how much more you can achieve when you spend the bulk of your time working on major tasks. Let’s see now how it’s done.

                    Maximize time spent on important tasks

                    Consider implementing things like time blocking (so that clients and co-workers can’t disturb you), scheduling time for important things, and booking meeting rooms for yourself (so you can focus fully on the tasks at hand).

                    Coming back to the hot dog selling example, time should have been allocated for thinking of ideas to improve and sustain the quality of the hot dogs.

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                    Minimize time spent on low value tasks

                    Choose to limit the time you spend on these tasks, and schedule specific times to complete them. You should also delegate tasks that aren’t your strength, or that will have more value if done by others.

                    For example, it’s very easy to get caught up with the endless emails that arrive daily into your mailbox. Most of these will not require urgent attention, so instead of trying to reply to them instantly, it would be better to schedule a period of time each day to go through them. By doing this, you won’t become a victim of incessant distractions.

                    In the hot dog selling scenario, it’s obvious that the boss should have delegated the task of making lemonade to someone who was genuinely good at it – or simply have bought existing high-quality lemonade.

                    Getting the Right Things Done

                    I want to wrap up this article by giving you a sample Time Pyramid that you can adapt to your own working situation. Let’s talk about the hotdog business again.

                    I assumed that the boss worked an average nine hours per day. This led me to plan the time this way:

                    • Select five hours per day dedicated to important stuff such as improving and sustaining the quality of the hot dogs, coming up with ideas on how to successfully expand the business.
                    • For the less important stuff, I chose three hours per day. This would be adequate for food preparation, training staff, etc.
                    • Finally, for the lowest priority stuff, I allocated just one hour per day. This time would be for things like ordering food and drink supplies.

                    I can’t state it enough: the Time Pyramid is an incredibly powerful tool. It will help you to immediately prioritize the tasks that really matter to your business, and within days – you’ll begin to experience positive and tangible benefits.

                    Featured photo credit: Vecteezy via vecteezy.com

                    More by this author

                    Leon Ho

                    Founder & CEO of Lifehack

                    The Lifehack Show Episode 5: Taking Learning to the Next Level The Lifehack Show Episode 4: Succeeding at Business as a Woman Entrepreneur The Lifehack Show Episode 3: Why Validation is Key to Lasting Relationships The Lifehack Show Episode 2: Making the Most of the Limited Time We Have Announcing Our New Podcast: The Lifehack Show

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                    Last Updated on August 16, 2019

                    10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track in 2019

                    10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track in 2019

                    The success of our day is largely dependent on the quality of our planning. Not to miss out anything in their to-dos, some people prefer to make a list of upcoming tasks in a notebook, while others have long started using digital technology solutions.

                    Calendar applications are some of the main tools that are worth using to organize our life and plan your time carefully.

                    Many people have switched to specific tools; however, there are still some who do not use calendars on a daily basis. They may find some applications uncomfortable to use, non-functional, or expensive.

                    In this article, we are going to check out the best calendars apps to help you stay organized.

                    1. Cal Calendar

                      Cal Calendar has recently appeared on the market of mobile applications (Android, iOS). It is the brainchild of the development team of Any.do that features impressive functionality and well-thought-out design.

                      The application comes with many great features, including support for Exchange and Google Calendar, widgets, voice recording, and many more.

                      Cal Calendar has direct integration with Any.Do To-Do List, which gives you a unique tandem of two applications.

                      Apart from its extended functionality, Cal Calendar is easy to use. The creation of events is very simple and fast.

                      What is more, depending on the name of the event, the application automatically adds contacts and geolocation data to the entry description. You can even import your lists and entries from Any.do.

                      Cal Calendar is a great option for any type of user. It is very convenient and doesn’t overcomplicate the mode of display.

                      Another good thing is that this tool is available for free, so you can use it without spending a dime for the software.

                      Available for iOS and Android

                      2. Google Calendar

                        Google Calendar is the official calendar for Android devices that has been tested out by many users around the globe. If you are right now trying to get away from it, consider changing your mind.

                        Since this application is installed on most Android devices by default, many users think that there is nothing special in this program. They are wrong.

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                        Google has been updating its calendar for quite a few years, and now it comes in Material Design with advanced event features, direct integration into other Google services (for example, supports reminders and Google Now), and comes with Exchange support.

                        The program is super easy and will not cost a dime for you. It is a good thing, right?

                        Available for iOS and Android

                        3. Jorte Calendar

                          Jorte Calendar is one of the most popular calendar applications in the Google Play store.

                          The program features a wide range of configuration options, with many design alternatives. You can adjust display mode to your needs and view calendar entries sorted by month, week, or day (by hours). It is convenient for quickly picking the desired date, using task bars, and setting reminders.

                          Apart from its ordinary information storing function, this application can be a special cloud service, Jorte Cloud, allowing you to synchronize calendars, schedules, and task lists on multiple devices. The application also supports data importing from Google Calendar.

                          For those paying attention to the program design, there is also Jorte Store, where you can buy styles and icons to personalize the calendar. This feature makes Jorte is one of the brightest calendar applications.

                          A basic version of the app is free of charge, so if you do not want to spend money on a calendar application, it is a good option.

                          Available for iOS and Android

                          4. Business Calendar

                            Business Calendar is geared towards people who use their calendar for work purposes and business task planning. It offers different modes with wide configuration capabilities.

                            The application gives a default view mode by months, and events can be marked in different colors. Display modes/ sorting can be adjusted to your needs (by month, day, year, or events).

                            You can also set a multi-day viewing mode to see how things look for the next few days. Scrolling up and down moves you by month, and if you check a few days, they will be shown in a more detailed form.

                            The day display mode offers hourly scheduling, and the schedule mode provides a detailed schedule for a single event.

                            Business Calendar is a great tool for planning/ scheduling cases, tasks, and events. There is a support for recurring events, which can be set up in just a few clicks.

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                            Having purchased software, you can use it to import and export other calendars, delete, copy, or move several events at the same time.

                            Android Business Calendar application may seem somewhat chaotic, but it works fine and is easy to work with if you play with it for a while.

                            A full version of the application is available for $4.99, but you can also find a free version for the app test drive.

                            Available for Android

                            5. aCalendar

                              aCalendar opens our collection of top 10 calendar applications available on the market today. With its appealing design, easy navigation, and great functionality, it is one of the most popular calendar apps in our list.

                              Some of extra functions include color schemes for each case type (48 colors to choose from), different types of demonstrations, different widgets, moon phases, and much more.

                              Taking into account it functionality, aCalendar is a reliable calendar application that has an easy-to-navigate interface with three display options. Scrolling from side to side allows you to switch between the display modes of the month, week and day.

                              When scrolling down and up, you are moving through the calendar at intervals in accordance with the selected display mode.

                              Apart from its time planning feature, aCalendar synchronizes photos from contact lists or social networks to remind you about birthdays, anniversaries, or any other special dates.

                              The program also supports data transfer through NFC and full-screen widgets, which eases your work with any data.

                              The program is available for free, but you can also get even more features if you buy the extended version of software for $4.99.

                              Available for Android

                              6. DigiCal Calendar

                                DigiCal Calendar is very similar to Cal Calendar in the fact that the application focuses on design more than on its functionality. However, this doesn’t mean that the application doesn’t serve the purpose.

                                With this calendar application, you can synchronize all your calendars and view them in different ways.

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                                Along with the basic functions, this program comes with support for Google Calendar, Outlook, and includes some unique and interesting features. You can match keywords to the image or set up a dark theme.

                                The app can even show you the weather forecast for three days. There are many other features that deserve the attention of people who really like to use calendar applications.

                                Available for Android

                                7. SolCalendar

                                  SolCalendar can be called a universal application. It claims to be an all-in-one digital solution having a basic calendar functionality combined with some other advanced features, such as weather forecast for a specific day.

                                  The application supports Google Calendar, as well as tasks, widgets, lunar calendar and even Foursquare.

                                  Those searching for a calendar application to cover just everything in its functionality, SolCalendar is a program to consider. There are a lot of interesting things in this application; the program does an excellent job working in “all-in-one” mode.

                                  Test SolCalendar – the application is available for free. You can test it out without purchasing the service.

                                  Available for Android

                                  8. Calendar

                                    Calendar is a relatively new app. It works as a web app and for both iOS and Android devices. It is an intelligent app that learns your contacts, schedule and tasks. It also helps you schedule and arrange meetings according to your available time slots.

                                    A good thing about Calendar is that it allows you to sync up with other calendars you use such as Apple Calendar and Google Calendar. And so you can manage all the calendars you have in one place.

                                    Calendar also gives you analytics of your meetings, giving you a clear picture on how you can improve your time management.

                                    Available for Desktop, iOS and Android

                                    9. Today Calendar

                                      Today Calendar is one of the most hip and edgy calendars in our list. The solution was one of the first ones that really embraced Material Design and remains one of the few that adhere to the neat style.

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                                      The calendar application offers bold colors, simple controls, and great functionality. This is not as heavy an application as many others; it will not eat all the memory of your device.

                                      If you are not searching for something complicated and over-functional, Today Calendar is what you need. You can always test the application before paying for it – the program is available for free.

                                      Available for Android

                                      10. Calendar Widget: Month

                                        Sometimes people do not need a heap of calendar applications. They would prefer to have one efficient calendar widget.

                                        Calendar Widget: Month perfectly fills this niche and meets all the needs of a modern user. It has some features of an ordinary calendar, but the real great thing about this software is that it has 80 or more themes in its library.

                                        The design of the application is great; the themes are perfectly tuned. There are options for almost any theme of your smartphone. The only drawback is the fact that the widget memory is not too large, and you should be ready for it.

                                        This simple calendar widget was created in the image and semblance of widgets from Yahoo. The widget window displays one calendar month with the ability to go to the previous and move to the next one.

                                        If you need a simple and affordable calendar to plan your tasks and affairs for one month, this widget is ideal for you. Calendar Widget: Month is so simple that it does not even have Google Calendar support.

                                        At the moment, it does not have the function of connecting any third-party calendars and services. Developers allow the possibility of introducing support for Google service as an addition to the widget, if users request to have this opportunity.

                                        Available for Android

                                        Our Verdict

                                        Searching for the right application to manage your various calendars and plan your busy day can sometimes turn into a streak of obstacles.

                                        Most of us need flexible applications that can be easily used to manage our tough schedule. The application should have all necessary time planning functions and be intuitive.

                                        Stylish design and limitless compatibility also matter. It is not always easy to find such a program.

                                        The above digital calendar solutions fall under the category “worth” of being used. They are modern, multifunctional, easy, and easy. Pick the one you like!

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                                        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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