Work Smarter, Not Harder. – Carl Barks
Perhaps you have heard these words. Why are these words relevant in time management? Working harder does not necessarily mean you achieve more of your tasks. But by working smarter, you can easily get more things done within the allocated time frame or even with less time.
Navigate the Page
- But how do you work smarter?
- What is Time Management: The Definition
- The time management skills you should have
- Time Management Tips
- Time Management Strategies, Techniques, and Methods
- ABC analysis
- Pareto Analysis
- The Eisenhower Method
- POSEC method
- Domino Reaction Method
- Triage Technique
- The Law of Farm
- The DREAM I.D
- The Pomodoro Technique
- Eat the Frog
- The 18 minutes
- COPE technique
- Tickler file system (43 Folders System)
- Swiss Cheese Method
- The Power of 1,440
- Wrapping it Up
But how do you work smarter?
This is where time management plays a significant role. By inheriting and learning the skills and tips discussed in this article on how to do time management, you can do things the “smart way” so you achieve more. You can do more. You can finish more of your tasks – even with the hectic schedules along the process.
What is Time Management: The Definition
In the simplest sense, time management is consciously knowing how much time you should put and spend on a specific activity. It is how you plan and organize the time allocations you give on a task to execute the right steps and achieve your goals. Because time is limited, it will ensure that the right amount of time is spent on the right activity.
Effective time management is based on quality rather than quantity. It does not mean getting more things done quickly. It means getting important things done.
“What’s the importance of time management and why should I care”? you may ask.
Effective time management helps to get “more” of an individual. What this means is that by equipping yourself with the right time management skills, you are being more productive; which is essential for meeting goals – goals of the company you are working with or your own goals in life.
Before we tackle time management tips and skills, we should first know WHY it is this important to us. Sure, you can study and learn all the tips and skills for better time management but without knowing why we need it, and why it is important, you won’t get on the right track. Here are the reasons and factors that emphasizes on why it is important in our lives.
At Work and Business
Bad habits and lack of proper time management can damage an employee and the company where he or she works as well. The goals and mission of a company depend on how well the employees are working towards achieving these goals. Here are the top reasons why people should practice sound time management at their workplace.
Learning in school prepares us for the BIG world. That means a lot of challenges as we take our education. Time management for college students is especially hard – the biggest challenge known is resisting distractions. Knowing how to manage time effectively between your homework, subjects and leisure activities can help a student be ahead in the game.
First, we need to understand why you, as a student need it, and how it will benefit you. Want to reap its benefits? These are the Top 3 benefits of time management for students:
All of these things can be summed up..
into three (3) factors why time management is very important:
- You can’t buy time. You are only given 24 hours a day.
- You can’t stop time. Unless you are some kind of a mutant with superpowers.
- You can’t save time. Your free lost time yesterday can’t be added to your time today.
The time management skills you should have
Before getting your hands dirty on learning time management, the first step is knowing the time management skills everyone should possess in order to understand and properly practice time management. These skills will act as the fundamentals or framework of the tips and strategies on managing time we will discuss later.
Coaching Positive Performance outlined 17 effective time management skills that play a critical role on analyzing one’s productivity levels. Understanding these skills’ roles on how you practice time management is very important to becoming more productive at all times. Discussed skills below are not only for those who have jobs, but also are essential time management skills for students and teens.
1. Goal setting. Every time spent on taking actions should bring you closer to your goals. You should have the ability to spend your time on things that are necessary to achieving your goals. This is a fundamental time management skill that you should have.
2. Prioritization. Most of the people focus on getting MORE things done which is wrong, and should not be the case. Instead of listing what should be done, eliminate the tasks that should not be done. Only choose the valuable ones and focus your energy and time on it.
3. Self-awareness. Be aware of your own preferences. Others have a different style of approaching work from you. Examine yourself deeply so that you can take the best advice of managing the time that is suitable for you.
4. Self-motivation. It is hard to get going when you lack self-motivation. You should feel motivated to take action with your tasks in mind. This is an essential time management skill everyone should have.
5. Focus. No matter how well you do with your activities, you can’t move along if you allow yourself to be distracted. Don’t let yourself be caught in unnecessary things. An individual with a laser-focused mind is someone who gets great things done.
6. Decision-making. Every day is a constant battle of decision-making like what should be done, what tasks should not be done, what tasks are completed and so on. If you don’t have a sound decision-making skill, it can lead to serious trouble in every aspect of your life. This is a great time management skill since you will waste lots of time doing things that don’t really matter that results to bad decision-making.
7. Planning. Panning will give you proper course of your action. What should be the first? What’s next? Knowing these will make every action done in an orderly fashion. Since everything is planned, every action will go out smoothly saving you tons of time in the process.
8. Communication Skills. There will be times when work can’t be done alone, in this case you need to team-up with others – and working with others is not possible without proper communication.
9. Questioning and challenging. Don’t always try to accept the task someone will to give you. Challenge and question them if you think you are not the one that be should be doing the task. This alone can reduce your workload that will allow you to focus on your own tasks.
10. Delegation/Outsourcing. One of the most important time management skill is learning how to determine if your skill sets are suited to perform the job. If another person has the right skills to do the task assigned to you, it is much better to delegate or outsource these tasks to him. Just make sure to orient the person and provide all the information needed to finish the job.
11. Coping Skills/Flexibility. Be flexible. Learn how to conquer the ups and downs of your work. Learn how to cope with all the things happening to you. With this, you are able to think and plan rather than waste your time worrying.
12. Stress management. Stress management skills go hand in hand with time management. When you experience stress, your body, mind and productivity become worse. Negative energies start flowing in you resulting in poor performance and focus. As a result of poor performance, your work will start to pile up affecting your time management skills. Proper stress management can help you battle all of this.
13. Team-work. No man is an island. You can’t get all things done by yourself. If you are nice and approachable, good relationships will start to build and working with others will be easy. With this, tasks will be done quickly.
14. Writing vital information down. Don’t rely on memories. Write the necessary information you get. You will be surprised at how much time you will be able to save up just because you have the access to information every time you need it.
15. Organizations. When your things are organized, you know exactly where to get what you need instead of blindly finding a piece of folder just because you left it somewhere.
16. Patience. Don’t rush things that shouldn’t be rushed or else you will do mistakes and find yourself spending more time on correcting that task (wish that it’s even possible to correct), when in fact you could have patiently worked on the task in the first place and not doing mistakes at all.
17. Forgiveness. You will do mistakes and others may let you down. If you don’t know how to forgive, becoming too emotional will distract you from getting your work done.
Time Management Tips
Now that you have a better understanding of time management which is extremely helpful, ready yourself now to take actions as we give you these tips on time management that you can use to “hack” time.
In the Workplace
Let’s talk about managing time in the office. Check out this infographic by Officevibe to learn how stress infects the workplace: Now that is a really scary stuff! But no worries mate! By applying these simple tips to better manage your time in the workplace you’ll win against stress and deadly deadlines (no pun intended).
Now for the students! The key to being a successful student does not depend on pure intelligence or wisdom but on time management that will develop good study habits. Here is the list of quick and true tips for time management for students that you can apply NOW:
Time Management Strategies, Techniques, and Methods
Let’s dig and dive deeper into time management tactics you can use to hack time. These time management techniques are essential and critical to your productivity. Take time to master these skills and it will help improve the time management skills we discussed earlier. Just have the dedication and you will be equipped with the methods and that are essential to your success.
Using this time management technique to categorize and group your tasks into 3 categories – A, B and C whereas:
A –Important and Urgent tasks.
B – Important but NOT Urgent tasks.
C – Unimportant tasks whether urgent or not.
These groups are ranked based on priorities, A with the highest priority. Once tasks were given a specific category (A, B or C), tasks should be further prioritized based on a number. Example, A1 should be done first before A2. ABC analysis can be combined with other methods like Pareto Analysis that is discussed below.
Pareto analysis, often referred to as 80/20 rule, it states that 20% of a person’s effort achieves 80% of the result. For example, if your goal is to publish a book with a total of 100 pages of content within a month, 20% of your overall effort will result in 80 pages of content. The remaining 80% of your effort will only make 20 pages for a total of 100 pages (your goal).
So what does it mean? Prioritize your time on that 20% of efforts that result in the 80% of the result. Prioritize on the tasks that yield the BEST results.
It is important to realize that there are certain efforts that can affect the majority of your outputs. Why is understanding this Important?
If only 20% of workers contribute 80% of results, you can reward these employees.
If only 20% of customers result in the 80% of your revenue, satisfy these customers first.
And the list just goes on.. The point is, focus on the 20% that makes GREAT difference rather focusing on 80% that doesn’t even tickles.
The Eisenhower Method
This method is named after President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
To use this method, first you need to identify the tasks you need to do to achieve your goal. After that, tasks are evaluated with respect to their importance and urgency, or both. Place these tasks on the Eisenhower or “Eisenhower Box” which has four quadrants.
Just ask yourself these questions:
Is this important? Is this urgent? Or both?
These tasks are then evaluated based on what quadrants they are into:
- Urgent and Important– Do these tasks first.
- Important but Not Urgent– Set aside. Put this on a calendar and do it later.
- Urgent but Not Important– These tasks are delegated. Assign someone to do it or place it in the lowest priority.
- Not Urgent and Not Important– Drop these tasks. Your time is already occupied by your priorities on other categories.
Here is an example of James Clear’s Eisenhower Box with tasks on each quadrant:
The Eisenhower Method helps you divide your actions into four categories to aid you on what should and shouldn’t be done.
With POSEC method, you: Prioritize by Organizing, Streamlining, Economizing and Contributing.
In order to apply this method and achieve our goals, we should take a closer look and put our attention on our daily activities. It enables us to prioritize better by turning goals into manageable chunks of small projects.
With POSEC method:
- Prioritize – It is about defining your goals and arranging your tasks according to its importance. This will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the person or the team.
- Organizing – Implement a great structure on how you do your tasks especially those you do on a daily basis to achieve your goal.
- Streamlining – Refers to the tasks that you least prefer to do BUTyou must do somehow and must be completed. Examples are the daily household chores. Simplify this kind of tasks for better efficiency.
- Economizing – There are things that you would like to do now, BUT it is not urgent. Find the means to budget your time on these tasks.
- Contributing – What you give back to the world. These are your social obligations such as love, friendship, kindness. Effects of these tasks are seen in the long term, and may not be evident immediately. You should also focus on these contributions to
POSEC method is somewhat based on “Hierarchy of Needs” by Abraham Maslow.
Domino Reaction Method
The Domino Reaction Method on time management by Amit Offir was further explored in the book 24/8 – The Secret for being Mega-Effective by Achieving More in Less Time.
With time boxing, instead of working on a task until it is done, you are simply allocating a time limit or a fixed time period to work in every task or group of task. Thus, time boxing is focused on time spent rather than the tasks done.
Use the Triage technique to group your tasks into 3 categories:
- Things that are important but not urgent.
- Things that are a waste of time.
- Things that need immediate action.
This technique in time management was inspired by the triage technique used to treat wounds of soldiers during the Napoleonic era.
The Law of Farm
Do you think that if you plant an apple seed today, you can harvest it tomorrow, or next month? Absolutely NO! As in farming, achievement of goals happens through a regular course of action and effort. There are no shortcuts; there is no such thing as instant success.
The DREAM I.D
Our Identification cards like voter’s I.D, or school I.D will serve as a proof of our identity if we are, for example, lost. However, there is no such thing that will remind us of our dreams if we are lost along the way. This is where the DREAM I.D play its role: To remind you of your dreams in cases where you get stuck on life.
How to make your DREAM I.D?
The first step is to IDENTIFY YOUR DREAMS. So go ahead, make at least 10 lists of your dreams in life. Some people will accomplish this in a blink of an eye. Some will have a hard time figuring out their dreams. Don’t worry, this is natural. Just take some time and concentrate, and you will have your lists of dreams easily.
Now that you have your lists of dreams, the second and last step is to PRIORITIZE YOUR DREAMS.
So go ahead and categorize your dreams according to your priorities. This will help you identify what tasks should be managed first, so as to utilize your energy and efforts effectively and efficiently. The most important tasks should be done first.
After completing these two easy steps, voila, your DREAM I.D is now done! Have your DREAM I.D with you always and put it in best places where you can see and notice it always.
But hey how will it save up my time?
Now you have a much clearer path in your life. You have identified your dreams and what matters most in your life. You can see the finish line now and all your actions will be dedicated to reaching that finish line.
The Pomodoro Technique
“Pomodoro” is the Italian word for “tomato”. This method was developed by Francesco Cirillo where he used a tomato timer to track his time when he studied in university. The idea here is to put actions into several 25-minute intervals called “pomodoros”.
This one is so simple. You can achieve this technique with these easy-peasy steps:
- Identify what tasks should be done.
- Set 25 minutes to do the tasks. (Use a timer here.)
- Work on the task.
- When the time is up, set the timer again for a 5-minute break. Use this 5 minutes to do what you want. Perhaps, watch a funny video prank or do a level of candy crush.
- Repeat the steps.
- After doing this four times, take longer breaks like 15 minutes.
If you like to try Pomodoro technique now, you can visit this website: www.tomato-timer.com
That was fun, right? This method refreshes our attention and allows us to re-energize.
Eat the Frog
Eat a live frog the first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day. – Mark Twain.
Your “Frog” here symbolizes the most difficult and most important tasks. Get these tasks done and the rest of the day will be easy.
Read: The Truth About Frogs
This is probably the most simple time management method out there BUT the most effective. Simply keep a paper with lists of your to-do tasks at hand and track what should be done now and what’s next.
The 18 minutes
This method was developed by Peter Bregman, the author of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done.
5 minutes in the morning: Sit down and take deep thoughts on what you need to do today that will allow you end the day with the feeling that you were productive and successful this day.
1 minute per hour. Now set an alarm per hour. When it beeps, simply spend a minute asking yourself if you’ve been productive for the last hour.
5 minutes in the evening: Assess your learnings and what happened throughout your day.
Further reading: An 18-Minute Plan for Managing Your Day
Suggested by Peggy Duncan, COPE stands for Clear, Organized, Productive and Efficient technique.
My system incorporates getting to the root cause of why you don’t have enough time and what you can do about it – Duncan
Clear – analyze your tasks. Have a clear goal by eliminating the time wasters.
Organize – Organize everything. Have a system on how to approach your tasks. Systemize the repetitive tasks.
Productive – Prioritize your tasks.
Efficient – Get the main tasks done.
Tickler file system (43 Folders System)
Since almost everyone is “techy” nowadays, we often forget we only need the simplest and the most basic system to aid us on our day to day lives.
The Tickler File System or commonly known as the 43 Folders System gained its massive popularity when David Allen, one of the leading experts on personal and organizational productivity, introduced it in his book “Get Things Done“. This system will remind you of the things you need to do in the future.
To get started, you need to prepare 43 folders:
- 31 folders to represent each day on the month; and
- 12 folders to represent each month in a year.
After that, here’s what you’re going to do:
- Label 31 folders with numbers 1 to 31 (your daily files)
- Label 12 folders with each month, January to December.
So how does it works?
So you have to arrange the folders by keeping your daily files in the front beginning with the files for tomorrow’s date. The files following it represents the days next to it through 31. Behind the folder labelled 31, is the folder labelled for next month and so on..
Every single day, you open the first folder (your file for that day) and check whether you filed something on it and then put it on the back. The next folder will be your tomorrows file.
Sounds complicated? Confused? No worries! Just watch this video below and I promise you, it’s so simple to implement.
If you don’t like to make the folders yourself, the tickler file system is popular, you can easily find similar products online. Here’s some examples:
If you have this system in place, you will avoid a lot of headaches and save a lot of time!
Swiss Cheese Method
On Alan Lakein’s book How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life, he suggests the Swiss Cheese Method on Time Management. With this, you divide big tasks into small chunks and do them one by one. As you accomplish these small chunks of tasks, you will eventually get to the point where you finally completed the task.
The Power of 1,440
You might be murmuring now, “What the heck is this 1,440 and how can it help me?”
Well, if my math is right, there are 1,440 minutes per day. Print a BIG 1,440 on a paper and stick it in places like your office door or any other place where you can see it easily.
This is to remind you that you only got 1,440 minutes to spend in a day. If you truly felt this 1,440 minutes, how would you think your life changed?
Wrapping it Up
Lots of people struggle with managing time. Remember: The goal of time management is to lessen distractions that hinder productivity.
We gave you lots of information here and your next step is to put these things into action.
How about you? How do you manage your time? Share it by commenting below.
Also, feel free to share it with your friends and family members!