Monday, 27 February 2023
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the BIGGEST one first." – Mark Twain
Time management is the ability to manage your time productively and efficiently without feeling stressed. It sounds simple but, in practice, it is much more difficult. It is a conscious planning and decision-making skill to prioritise, schedule, delegate, and complete tasks and eliminates distractions from your personal and professional routine.
Evaluate your time management skills by taking this short quiz.
#1 Find your most productive time
We all have our most productive time during the day, which is determined by our circadian rhythm that dictates when we best perform different actions.
Listening to our internal clock, we become more productive as we are more alert, focused and energised to do specific tasks. We ask ourselves whether we are early morning risers/afternoon/evening performers. The time and energy depend on the quality and amount of work produced.
The first step is to track the time spent on the same activities at different daytime times with a time management app. This allows us to find our most productive time of the day. Check out some of time management apps here.
Once you have analysed the results, you may find that, for the same task, it takes you:
■ 2 hours in the morning
■ 3 hours around noon
■ 4 hours in the late afternoon
This shows that the morning is the period when you do your highest quality work, and this is the time when you should always be tackling your most important tasks. You should also save less essential activities, like emails or meetings, for your less productive hours.
#2 Prioritise your tasks
In your day, not all tasks are equally important. To tackle them in order, you should prioritise tasks based on their importance. Based on the timeframes and urgency of the tasks, the following are the techniques that might be useful for managing your time efficiently.
#3 Schedule your tasks
This is where you must use your chosen workspace calendar (Google calendar or outlook calendar) to block time (start and end times) for each task (whether a one-time event or recurring like meetings). Blocking your work times, tasks and reminders on the calendar allows your mind to be prepared for that event with no stress and allow you to be prepared and remain focused to beat the clock. You can schedule the tasks in order of importance by allocating your first working hours to your most important task or allocate them to your most productive period in the day. You must always schedule breaks and unplanned activities to rearrange priorities because something else has come up.
Learn how to use the calendar to plan for your day
#4 Manage your distractions
Distractions are a part of our routine, and it is essential to pay attention to them: social media, internet, mobile, noise and background noise etc. The first rule to manage them is to schedule a time to attend to these distractions outside your working hours. In short, 'work only in your blocked working hours – with no distractions’ and vice versa.
#5 Relax and take breaks
Relaxation and timely short breaks may seem like the opposite of your way to achieving more in less time, but they help you stay focused because you can recharge when you feel tired and out of focus.
Studies show that we can work 90 minutes at a time before we start to lose focus. Throughout the day, we should rest for about 15 minutes for each working hour.
Taking regular breaks away from a computer or smartphone screen prevents computer vision syndrome, that is, eye strain and headaches. Medical professionals recommend looking away from the screen every 20 minutes and looking at something around 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
A 20-minute power nap is also a great strategy to clear space from negative thoughts and create new space for new ideas and knowledge and enable better decision making.
Learn more here: Science says you have to stop taking breaks wrong to be more productive
Time management techniques
Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/DJNY8jjF7Bs
Pickle Jar Theory
Watch the video: https://youtu.be/cPgMeKfQFq8
Read more about the Pickle Jar Theory here.
Time Blocking Method
Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/fbAYK4KQrso
Read more about the Time Blocking Method here.
Watch the video https://youtu.be/mNBmG24djoY
Read more about The Pomodoro Technique here.
Eat That Frog
Watch the video here https://youtu.be/_LCRUiC9lU0
Read more about the Eat That Frog technique here.
Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/suGXZ1869qc
Read more about the Eisenhower Matrix here.
To summarise, we should remember that:
“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency." – Bill Gates
Interested in developing core business skills?
Strengthen your abilities in core professional areas and enhance your knowledge of the natural health business — Find out more about our Business Essentials Short Courses.
A people person from the start, Glashie Qudsia turned her natural passion into a commitment to helping others reach their potential. For the past 16 years, Glashie has been working as an educator and mentor in the vocational training field — helping university graduates with Australian workplace and employability skills.
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- Federica Conti