How to manage time better

How to manage time better

Aditya Madanapalle | 15 Apr 2020

Time management is one of those skills that help you have a better professional life as well as a private one. This starts with allocating a budget for professional and personal pursuits, and then planning ahead for the required tasks, prioritizing them, and then scheduling them. There are a number of tried and tested strategies to get tasks done. Do not aim for the best results all the time, and get in control of how much quality you want to deliver when accomplishing each task. Another approach is to leave some headroom for flexibility so that you can get things done even if there are unexpected interruptions.One of the smart things to do is instead of prioritizing all tasks by importance or deadlines, line them up in such a way that you complete less stressful tasks between more stressful ones. This does not work universally though, some people actually perform better when things are urgent and the environment is stressful. Just remember that being perpetually in this state can lead to burnout, so do remember to take breaks. This means that instead of just planning out your day, it is important to plan out your weeks and months as well. All of this planning will help you realistically evaluate how much you can do, and communicate that with your superiors when you are unable to take up new work and get it finished in time.Also remember that the deadlines are just the last possible date to complete the task, which means that you can actually finish them well in time. Motivating yourself with an appropriate reward for completing each task, is a great way to make sure that you look forward to getting things done. One of the most interesting todo apps that we found, which gamify the experience is called EpicWin, which converts completing of tasks into an RPG game. The more things you do, the better your character becomes, acquiring loot on the way.


 
If you find yourself procrastinating Alan Lakein has described a very effective swiss cheese approach. Instead of committing fully to a complex or tedious task, break it down into smaller details, and finish them off little-by-little. Take breaks in between to finish other tasks, but keep going back to the thing that you are putting off for later. More details are available in Lakein's book, how to get control of your time and your life which is a great read. 

One of the problems with technology is that almost all devices do multiple things, instead of one thing very well. On your way to open up your todo app, you may encounter notifications from instant messengers, or get tempted to check in on social media apps… there are just too many distractions to stay focused.

A physical journal works great for organization, and multiple studies * have shown that you are more likely to retain things in memory if you take the trouble to physically write it out, as opposed to just typing it out. The best option to do this, are what are known as dotted journals or bullet journals. These are journals designed for organization and have either blank pages, dotted grids or squares. We find the dotted grids to be the best option, as they let you flexibly draw out the kind of guiding lines and boxes that you want. You can choose the size of the cells for each day, or if you want to get more particular, each hour. After you list out your tasks and schedule your day, you can cancel them out as and when they are completed. It is also good to have a physical representation of your work for easy reference and review, which helps you get better with time management. The perfect solution is to use physical journals in tandem with technology, and Evernote lets you do that beautifully.  

Managing your time is important, because as we develop more skills, and the demands of life increase, we're still not going to get more than 24 hours in a day, so being able to accomplish more in the same amount of work time makes you a star employee, or just makes your business more successful.

 

The best time management apps out there
EpicWin
Evernote
Tomato Timer
Todoist
Clear
Workflow
Pocket

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Aditya Madanapalle

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