A great man once said that “time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so.”
I have spent the past two years of my life making money online, while doing my daily tasks and travelling to different places at the same time.
And I did this while only working four hour per day. Which equals 28 hour per week.
And the only way I could pull this off, was by becoming an expert at time management.
So in this post I am going to share with you my top 8 time management techniques.
So let’s get started.
1. Power Hour
The first one is called power hour, and this concept originally come from a book called Deep Work, written by a university professor named Carl Newport.
The Power Hour technique is when you spend the first hour of your day, performing the most difficult task.
And during this hour you eliminate all distractions.
You get rid of your phone; you get rid of all the YouTube videos tab.
And most importantly you send your Dog in the other room.
And you are just focusing on this one task at a time.
Because there are two main benefits to this technique.
- It helps prevent Procrastination, just by getting started.
- It also helps you feel a sense of progress early on in the day.
This will set you up for a more productive day.
2. Using a Calendar
The second time management technique is using a calendar.
Aside from being able to plan your Power Hour, having the ability to view your week at a glance provide you with myriad of benefits.
- it allows you to plan for the upcoming day and week.
- It offers you the ability to schedule new events very easily.
- it keeps you accountable for things you have to do.
- it allows you to prioritize your tasks.
I personally love using a calendars because it eases my stress and anxiety.
It allows me to see clearly:
- what needs to be done?
- How it needs to be done, and
- When it needs to be done?
If you have an online calendar, you even have the option to share it with other people.
Which gives them the opportunity to support you if you are very busy.
You don’t have to plan your entire month.
Just start with your day and then move to your week.
In my opinion the most challenging part about a calendar is prioritizing what needs to be done.
Which leads us to the third time management technique.
3. Using Urgent Vs Important Scale
An important factor for effective time management is deciding where a task lies on the urgent vs important scale.
This idea is adopted from a book called 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, written by Habit Expert Stephen Covey.
Essentially you have to create a diagram like this one below.
Every activity you do throughout the day can be placed in one of the four quadrants.
The goal is to stay in the top right quadrant of “Important but Not Urgent.”
This promotes Proactive Behavior, so that you stay on top of things, and are minimally stressed.
Example of things that would fall under the “Urgent and Important” category would be:
- A Serious Deadline
- A Doctor’s Appointment, or
- Some kind of important meeting.
Phone calls, emails, would fall under the “Important and Not Urgent” quadrant.
And pointless busy work would fall under the “Not Important and Not Urgent” quadrant.
And you have to avoid this quadrant at any cost.
Its up to you how you prioritize your tasks, and decide which tasks should go into each of these quadrant.
When you are prioritizing your tasks, it’s important to have a good understanding of how long things will take.
Which takes us to the fourth time management technique.
4. Factor of Safety
There have been countless time in my own working life and especially in my student life, when I’ve created a seemingly flawless schedule, and everything is perfectly prioritized.
Then all of the sudden I’m interrupted with a problem that needs to be dealt with in that moment.
And this doesn’t have to be a professional problem.
This could be a personal one.
This could be a small emergency, where you have to go and take care of your family, or something like that.
But the point is, it completely throws off your schedule.
And when we are delegating our time for the day, we should always include a Factor of Safety, to account for the problems, distractions, and errors in our judgment.
Always plan a little more time than you think you need when you are scheduling an activity.
Especially when it is an important one.
This will not only allow you to maintain your schedule, but it will alleviate stress, pressure, and it gives you a sense of calmness about your day, and tasks.
Another great strategy for alleviating stress and pressure, is my fifth time management technique.
5. Taking Green Breaks
Humans are not robots; unfortunately, we cannot program ourselves to work for 8 straight hours.
Most of us knows that people need breaks, but something most people don’t talk about are Green Breaks.
Well one study found that exposure to office plants boosted not only the employee’s well-being, but also their productivity by 15%.
Instead of just taking breaks at the water cooler, or instead of just watching YouTube Videos, go outside for 10 minutes, and surround yourself with nature.
If you are not in an environment where you can do that, like let’s say you’re in a city or you’re in an office, simply surround yourself with plants that are in your environment.
And if there are none, bring some into your workplace.
I personally found this one has a huge impact on my creativity, and my overall mood.
I honestly believe that going outside in nature, is like giving our bodies medicine.
6. Know Your Priorities
You have to get clear on your priorities and to do this very deliberately, maybe even sit down and do it on a piece of paper or write it in your journal.
This is because when you aren’t clear on your priorities and what they represent on your schedule, it can be very easy to take on too many commitments and to become that overly busy person.
I think prioritizing can be a topic for a post all its own, but I do wanna give you a couple of questions that I ask myself whenever I’m trying to nail down what my personal priorities are and whether a new commitment is worth it.
- Number one is to ask a very in the details type of question. What does my schedule look like without this on it?
Answering this means taking a hard look at my current list of commitments, my schedule, how much free time I have, and whether or not I’d be willing to give something up to take on this new commitment or not.
And in addition to that question, I also like to ask more birds eye view question which is,:
- When I’m on my death bed, will I regret not doing this?
And this is the question that actually got me to start working on my first eBook.
This could be a question that would also be useful for getting over your fear to start doing things, but as a time management question, it can also be very useful because it helps you to prioritize things from a bird’s eye view, from a life values perspective.
And if you want to be really clear on your priorities and on your values and on what you are doing, it may also be useful to have a written record of what you are doing at the moment and to update it quite frequently.
7. Batch Your Tasks
You have to learn how to back your task effectively, and batching basically just means taking a batch of your task bundling them together and knocking them all out in one session.
When you do this you free up lots of time for more intense project later on, or if you are me, probably playing more PUBG, but more importantly, batching lets you take advantage of Economies of scale.
When you decide to do a batch of task in one big batch, you eliminate a lot of setup costs that you would have to deal with if you did them all individually.
In terms of task that make good candidate for batching, I am gonna go ahead and suggest my way of doing things.
- If it’s a low energy task and You have to leave the house to do it, go ahead and take care of all those in in one big batch in one afternoon.
- Task that require low mental energy and that are done at home like cleaning things up, Organizing papers, fighting that Ninja that’s hiding in your closet, clearing out your email box all that kind of stuff.
- Any kind of small tasks that surround your main work, Do all those things in one big batch.
8. Learn to Say No
Next thing you have to learn is how to get better at saying no.
This is an integral skill in time management, especially for people who are overly busy.
Those of us who are perpetually over-committed seems to be the kind of people who just can’t say no to new opportunities, Whether there are people coming to us because they want something from us, they want our help, or whether it’s just something that just seems really cool that we want to do.
Either way, we have to learn how to say no if we want to be able to prioritize the things that are actually important and give them the time that they deserve.
How exactly do you get to the point where you can say no? Well there are different tactics, there are ways to do that, there are ways to push off things that you might want to do for yourself etc.
Here’s the post on How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty
Time is without a doubt the most viable asset we have in life.
Everybody on Earth gets the same amount of time but it is up to us how we chose to spend it.
So learning Time Management is a very important skill.
And that’s why I wrote this article on time management.
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