Nowadays we get bombarded with information from everywhere – messengers, emails, apps, and social media notifications. These time thieves, together with other daily routine and work issues, distract us and decrease our productivity. To overcome this situation, we have to use our time in a sensible way. We should take into account that we cannot either manipulate or control time, but what we can do is control ourselves.
Time-management is effective in two cases – when it beats procrastination (the first and most common problem these days) and, moreover, helps to plan, prioritize, and focus. Otherwise, it is yet another way of wasting time.
Thus, in this article, we are going to have a look at various approaches to time-management and pieces of advice through the lens of planning, prioritizing, getting focused, and stopping procrastination. This article is an adaptation of a recently published post of our recruiter Iryna on LinkedIn. She based it not only on her huge experience, but on the recommendations of time-management gurus, like Brian Tracy, Laura Vanderkam, Kathryn McKinnon, and Brigid Schulte.
Effective use of time (right for you) will contribute to a more meaningful distribution of your attention in the most important areas of our lives – professional, family, and personal (time for yourself).
This bunch of tips is like a box of tools for your successful time-management. But we are not going to stop at this point and would dig deeper. Next, you will find 3 considerable techniques and proven by time best practices in time-management. Supposedly, you already use some of them without realizing they are widely spread methodologies.
Stop procrastinating and get more work done (Brian Tracy)
Franklin or Productivity Pyramid might be suitable for the devotees of the global approach to planning. It consists of the following levels:
Besides these 3 techniques, we present a couple of lifehacks which also will be helpful in planning and prioritization your tasks. Prioritization is highly important. According to Brian Tracy, you should outline that task or job among others that will provide the maximum value. It is essential, that in a list of 10 tasks, which demand the same time for completion they have a different value. Completion of this one or two tasks will bring more benefit than the completion of the other 8 tasks. In Tracy’s words, “eat that frog first.”
So, what is that “frog” I should eat? The “frog” is the most unwanted for you task, which you should complete today. If you finish it firstly, in some magical way you’ll be full of energy and get the feeling you accomplished something worthwhile. Mark Twain said “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.” Just get on with those frogs. You will have to eat them anyway.
- According to the Tim Ferriss method, you have to stick to 2 principles. The first one is Pareto’s law: 20% of efforts give 80% of the result, and the remaining 80% of efforts – only 20% of the result. So, dedicate the majority of your working time to completing the most important things. The second one – Parkinson’s law: work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. Thus, try to allocate as much time as necessary to finish the task. You should not increase the number of working hours to complete it.
- To organize your day you might try a “1-3-5 rule”. A person cannot accomplish an infinite list of things during the day. According to this technique, you should write down to your list one important thing, three medium and five small, nine in total. This kind of distribution will help you to avoid the feeling of an emergency. This rule looks familiar to Ivy Lee method, though they have one crucial difference – execution order of the tasks.
- Ivy Lee was an American journalist, productivity consultant, and founder of modern public relations (PR). According to his method to achieve peak productivity implies the following:
- Make up a list of 6 (not more!) most important things you want to accomplish the next working day. It is important to create it in advance – the previous evening.
- Range the tasks through the lens of their importance.
- When you start working, keep focus on the first task only. You can move to the second one only after the first one is completed.
- Shift all unfinished tasks to the next working day. Repeat all steps each workday.
It is obvious that emergencies will arise. You should fix those issues when necessary and then get back to your prioritized to-do list ASAP.
- Pretty the same idea of setting daily priorities is presented by the ABCDE Method of Brian Tracy. The roadmap of this technique is quite simple:
- Make up a list of your daily tasks.
- Label each task with an A, B, C, D or E, where A is the task of the highest priority for today. There can be more than one A task, they should be marked – A1, A2, A3
- Tasks labelled with B, C, D, or E can be started only after the A tasks are finished.
The main difference between the Ivy Lee method is that the ABCDE Method allows a few pieces of work with the same level of priority.
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