Do you feel as if you’re on a never-ending treadmill, with increasing deadlines to meet and seemingly greater demands on your time? Despite modern day thinking that with all of today’s helpful mechanisms and facilities at our fingertips, we should all have more time to handle the day to day pressures of life, right? But what about as well as allowing us some much-publicised and recommended ‘me time’? Read on to find out more about how to help with productivity practice
When you get into the office on Monday morning to put your head down and tackle another busy and challenging day, you’re surrounded by distractions and interruptions from well-meaning colleagues asking about your weekend. And to be honest, we know we love chatting with our workmates, don’t we?
If you don’t work in an office with other people, but are self-employed, working on your own and having distractions of a different type (especially if you’re balancing various jobs with picking the children up from school, for example), you will be in a different place but on that same treadmill.
It may be that your time management skills are on point but how you manage time may need some improvement which will help you get through each day and to feel more positive about the rest of the week and beyond. Before you roll your eyes at me and say, “well, that’s obvious, you just said the same thing, didn’t you?” I’d like to challenge you to think of time management differently:
Here are some suggestions from experts in this field:
Emma Donaldson-Feilder, a chartered occupational psychologist with the NHS, says, “The aim of good time management is to achieve the lifestyle balance you want.”
For this reason, here at Ponderlily here’s how we adopt this:
- Set an intention to make a list of things that need to be accomplished
- Make a list – keep it somewhere accessible, on your phone for example
- Focus on results – do, delegate or defer!
- Time yourself - set limits for how long you work on a task
Check out our printable library for more resources on how to get started with this list-making method!
15 most effective and proven Time Management techniques from TimeCamp, the computer software which measures time spent:
- Plan your day in advance
- Limit the time you spend on emails
- Find your productivity zone – are you an early bird or a night owl? If possible adapt your working day accordingly.
- Eat the frog - 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.” It’s all about prioritising – do the most important first things in the morning and when they’re done switch to those less pertinent. This way you will become more efficient.
- Take regular breaks - We need breaks so that our brain (which has a limited attention span) can refresh and then refocus on work. One recognised Time Management method is the Pomodoro technique which was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. This is a refreshingly low-tech approach using an Italian kitchen timer (pomodoro) and setting chunks (pomodoros) of time of, say, 25 minutes for intensive work, interspersed with short breaks to enable you to stretch or walk around the office, have a glass of water, visit the bathroom before returning refreshed for the next session. This method helps you tackle what initially might appear as a huge daunting task, but broken down into chunks becomes more manageable. This technique has been widely popularized by dozens of apps and websites providing timers and instructions.
- Say “no” and delegate – although it’s very tempting to take on more work as you don’t want to show you can’t cope, be assertive and say no when you’ve been given too much to do or the demands are unreasonable. Willing people can be taken advantage of in the workplace so set the situation straight – you will be glad you did.
- Focus and block distractions – notifications, pop up messages, emails, colleagues constantly talking to you.
- Goals – set them as your path to reaching success. They’re rungs in the ladder to the top.
- Stop multitasking - Despite perhaps thinking that multitasking is a key skill, it actually damages our brain, according to a study conducted at Stanford University, and it dramatically decreases productivity.
- Allocate your time – Most people don’t know how much time they spend on particular tasks and how their daily work looks like in terms of work hours. Once you know you can better organise your workday and workflow. One way is to use time tracking software.
- Create a morning routine – Try not check social media first thing in the morning as whatever you do first thing powers you up for the rest of the day.
- Exercise - This is a great way to boost energy levels. It’s a way for the body to get rid of tension caused by stress and also helps clean your mind of unnecessary or disturbing thoughts.
- Audit your tech tools – we all have them. Think project management software, communication tools, apps helpful in creating habits. Do you need them all? Audit your tool and tech use whenever possible, why you need them, how much they cost, and what they do. You’ll be surprised to see the results
- Reward yourself – when you’ve finished something take a break and do something for yourself – have a coffee, listen to music or call a friend.
- Communicate - proper communication can save a lot of time and poor communication can waste a lot of time. If you don’t convey your plans people won’t understand their tasks.
Having read the above tips and suggestions, here are some questions for you:
- If you could only pick two of these tips, which ones would they be?
- Do you think you could start incorporating your top 2 choices today?
- What would these 2 new techniques give you?
- How do you think you'd feel if you did that?
Hopefully you'll feel more positive about the challenges facing us all in 2020 and beyond. Ready to create a schedule that has the best of both worlds?
Incorporate your work schedule with some self-care sessions using our collection of planner products. Look at our current collection here!