Have you ever found yourself too busy and stressed but at the end of the day, the to-do task list is just there and a few of them still got stuck? Or you are wondering why you seem to spend too much time working on urgent tasks, while you don’t have enough time to improve the current situation.
As a rule, all of us have the same 24 hours per day, so the way you manage and use your time will lead to different destinations. And today, let us share with you some tips to manage time in the most useful and efficient way.
Managing the way you use your time means that you are managing your productivity and making every single moment in your day meaningful. Here are some tips we would like to share with you to arrange your time effectively:
- Prioritize your tasks
- Focus on the task
- Some tips to use the time usefully
Let’s get started!
1. Prioritize the tasks:
We have lots of methods to prioritize tasks, but in this article, we will discuss the Eisenhower box. This is the matrix used by Eisenhower (the 34th US President) to prioritize work (the so-called Eisenhower box), which is simple to use but has a powerful effect.
- NOW: Important and urgent tasks -> Do it now
- GOAL: Important but not urgent tasks -> Schedule to do it
- FIT-IN: Not important but urgent tasks -> Delegate or automate or group to do it once
- BACK-BURNER: Not important and not urgent tasks -> Drop it
To apply this Eisenhower box to your time management workflow, you need to Identify the following 2 key points:
First, what is important to you?
Everyone has their own standards for determining what is important, but from our view, what is important is what contributes to our long-term mission, values, and goals. You must decide which tasks/works are important based on your career progression and notice that. Or if you just apply the Eisenhower box method for daily working management, you must decide which tasks/works are important based on the deadline of each (1).
Second, what is urgent?
To use the Eisenhower box, you must evaluate the task’s urgency in addition to other elements. It suggests that you may have a lot of important things to complete, but if you don’t prioritize your tasks, you won’t be able to do them on time. As a reason, arranging work based on its urgency is one of the top two most important factors in effectively organizing work and time (2).
2. Focus on the task
Task switching costs more than you think, let’s see the below figure:
As we can see, if you split a big task into small tasks and alternate between them until all are completed, you will spend time not just on the task, but also on pausing and switching between tasks.
Besides that, by focusing, if we prioritize tasks and focus on each task till it’s done, in total it will save a lot of time to finish everything. Most importantly, staying focused helps us to enter a Flow state (deep focus), which boosts our productivity to higher levels.
Create the environment for focus
There are a lot of distractions that prevent us from focusing on the task, noises, phones, notifications… To be focused and focused, we need to avoid them by establishing the environment around us. Try these tips to have the best environment for working:
- Seeking a quiet place to work/learn or use the phone has noise cancellation.
- Put the phone in vibrate mode and away from our sight when we are in focus mode.
Set the right notification settings so that we can only receive the notifications, which are worthy for us to have a look at them.
3. Some tips and apps recommendation for focusing:
- Pomodoro technique: https://pomofocus.io/
An useful and free app to help people increase concentration and stay focused in each 25-min session (or more). You can customize each to fit your personal goals by setting the time you want to focus on and the relaxing time you need. By using this, you can count the time you need for each task but still have time to recharge your energy.
- Manage your energy:
Which part of your day may you be the most productive? Try to spend this valuable time on GOAL tasks. It’s a good time to focus and complete the task in the most productive way.
- Plan ahead of your milestones, week, and day:
Getting ready before starting a new day or week reduces distraction and procrastination. To do so, write down your tasks and allocate them to the proper timeline.
- Task management tool:
Finding a good tool to manage your tasks will help you to avoid missing and being late. Besides that, you will have data about your work that one day will need. (ex: Microsoft To Do)
- Filter emails and strict notification settings
Have fewer distractions, and focus more on real tasks by creating labels for email groups and putting importance on the higher or prominent ones.