I rarely hear people say they’ve got too much time on their hands. It’s often more about the lack of time that frustrates most. We all get the same amount of time in a day and how we use it has important implications for the outcomes of our lives.
Time management is an area of my life where I am constantly looking to improve. I seek ways to plan and be more productive. I used to thrive on being busy thinking that that was a marker of effective time management, when in fact it is not. Now, I seek ways to engage in deep focus and practice self-care to make the most of the time I have. Here are some of the strategies that I use.
- Single task. In order to turn my focus to the task at hand, I close out the email tabs, turn off the notifications, and focus on one item of my to do list at a time. Each day I use a template to write tasks for the day.
- Modified Pomodoro. Google the Pomodoro Method and you’ll find lots of articles and resources. I use it, but sometimes I modify it and use the amount of work time that fits best in my schedule. So instead of 25 minute work chunks, I might do 30 or 45 or even an hour.
- Prioritize. I keep my recurring tasks and upcoming to do items on a program called TickTick. Each day, I use that as my guide to prioritize what needs to be completed. I set aside 15-20 minutes each morning to start my day with prioritizing that way I’m not caught off guard as the day goes on. If something comes up, I can decide if it fits in my priorities or if it can be moved to the next day.
- Improve technology skills. This is an important time management tip for anyone working from home. If you spend a lot of time on the computer, then finding quicker ways to complete tasks saves time. Time saved by technology can be spent on other priority areas. Utilize the free resources available to brush up on your tech skills such as keyboard shortcuts.
- Calendar. I use Google calendar to color-code all of my meetings and tasks. I add big projects to my calendar and block off time to complete them. I also use a paper calendar because I still like to have things written down.