If there’s one thing that has become even more important to man, it is time. It is as if the available time is not just enough for whatever it is you set out to do. It is almost always surprising when you wake up, get to work, and by the time you stand up to catch your breath; it’s 5pm and you are wondering where the time went.
Moreover, when you look at what you need to accomplish, you wonder when you are ever going to finish. Little wonder many people are stressed. Many people have the schedule of 4-5 people combined. So, it makes sense that you’d want to find effective time management tools and techniques that work simply and, most importantly, help you achieve more in less time.
It is with that in mind that I have come up with this list of the best and most proven time management methods. If you mix this up a little or even tweak it to suit you, you’ll find yourself accomplishing more. One thing though, always make sure that you do not set yourself up to fail. It is easy to pile on tons of work, but if you cannot accomplish them all, you can start feeling like a failure, and you do not want that.
The Pomodoro Technique
This time management technique is incredibly popular. Created by Francesco Cirillo, the idea is to work in blocks of 25 minutes. Francesco chose 25 minutes because tons of studies have shown that most people have an optimal focus range of 25 minutes. After which they get to take 5-minute breaks. Each session of 25 minutes is referred to as one Pomodoro.
After four Pomodoros, you are advised to take a 15-20 minute break to recharge and then start again. This technique is extremely useful and can be further escalated or improved upon with time. For instance, Evan Carmichael recommends 33.33 minute sessions. I do not know why, but that has never worked for me. Maybe I just find the combination of 3’s weird or odd.
However, I have observed that the 35-minute sessions with 7-10 minute breaks work best for me. When I first started, I could only concentrate for as short 15-20 minutes. However, over time, I have been able to improve my concentration. Whatever the case, there’s no hard and fast rule. Work with it until you find the perfect time limit for yourself.
ABC/Pareto Analyses Method
Based on the 80/20 Pareto principle, this effective time management method helps you prioritize by showing you how to complete 80% of your “easier” tasks within 20% of the allotted time and the remaining 20% of your more challenging tasks within the remaining 80%.
This is for a very busy individual who has to juggle many things at the same time. To do this, you’ll clearly need to outline and arrange your to-dos according to their order of importance and urgency. A will be to-dos that are both urgent and important. B will be to-dos that aren’t critical, but necessary. C will be to-dos that are neither important nor urgent.
When you are done categorizing them, you’ll then further break the activities in each group down to their time limits and ease. When you are done, you’ll then start with the easiest ones. Doing this will help you build the necessary momentum, think of it as a warm-up of sorts, required to work on the harder ones and most importantly, takes less time.
I have found this to be a better approach than starting with the most difficult tasks. That has never quite worked for me. You do not climb a mountain by starting at the top. You start at the bottom and then work your way up.
These are the most effective time management methods I have ever used, and they seem to work effectively for me and hordes of other productive folks. Oh… there goes my 35-minute alarm. Need to take another 7-10 minute break. Talk soon and best of luck.