- Estimate time per task
- Map your time
- Use the 4-D rule
- Set SMART goals
- Stop multitasking
- Learn to prioritize
- Avoid procrastination
- Block distractions
- Use the reward system
- Limit your e-mail time
- 6 Best time management apps
Time management techniques play a crucial role in the life of every professional to work efficiently.
With the rising importance of time management skills, even more so during trying times like the COVID-19 pandemic, here are 10 time management techniques along with time management apps to help with work efficiency.
Estimate time per task
As much as we all want to log out as soon as the clock strikes the end of the day, it is best to take some time out to organize for the next day.
This is why, the concept of estimating time per task tops the list of time management techniques.
This also plays a role in effective time management as you can begin your day easily and have your thoughts organized.
For instance, if checking and reverting to emails is your first task, assign not more than 30 minutes.
So up your time management skills by a notch, estimate time to each of your tasks.
Map your time
Honestly speaking, mapping time is the most comforting part of time management techniques.
Why, you ask?
Let’s be honest, you want to keep your thoughts clear and ready to function with great ideas to ensure work productivity.
So, let your alarm and time management apps deal with the rest of your day(s).
Beginning with the time you wake up, work out till you hit your bed, have your gadgets deal with them, while you focus on the tasks at hand at work.
Use the 4-D rule
As a working professional you might think never saying ‘No’ is a sign of efficiency. Let me burst your bubble, it’s not.
Overworking yourself can lead to stress, anxiety and even burnout.
Trust me, you do not want that. So,you can follow this 4-D (Delete, Delay, Diminish and Delegate) rule for effective time management.
- Delete- Ask yourself if the task will bring in worthwhile results or if it’s synonymous to another project. If so, you can delete the task and move on to the next.
- Delay- Ask yourself if the task is required on an urgent basis or can be started at a later date. In which case, focus on other tasks which require priority.
- Diminish- Check if the task requires the amount of time designated, or can be done in a shorter period of time.
- Delegate- Can someone else handle the task better and more efficiently, if so delegate it to him/her/ them. You cannot be the Jack of all trades, since it will help you become the master of none.
Time management techniques such as this one, can help working professionals in acing their time management skills and increasing productivity.
Set SMART goals
Nowadays, it’s all about smart work rather than hard work. So, why should your time management skills not follow the same mantra?
Set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Realistic and Time-oriented) goals since your time management techniques need to be result specific.
Take for example, a content writer needs to churn out 2 articles in a week (5 days).
In that case, he can assign publishing one blog in the mid week and the other at the end of the week.
This will help him/her remain on track and designate proper time to the pieces.
It has been seen that when you quantify and plan your goals in detail, achieving them becomes a cakewalk.
Although considered a virtue, multitasking can seriously dampen your time management skills.
Here’s why… When you multitask there are multiple sources of information flowing through, which can take your time management techniques for a toss.
This can also damage your brain and also decrease your productivity.
According to a study by the Stanford University, “People who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information do not pay attention, control their memory or switch from one job to another as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time.”
Learn to prioritize
Another reason to have an effective time management in place is to learn to prioritize.
Those who do not plan their day ahead can easily face the trouble of being at a loss the next day.
But when doing so ask yourself questions like “When is this task due?”, “Is this task required on an urgent basis?”, etc to help prioritize your tasks.
The difference lies in asking what is important and what is urgent… Priority should be based on urgency and then importance.
As working professionals we often find ourselves procrastinating over the amount of work you have piled up. Some even procrastinate when deadlines start creeping up.
So, first things first, find out your reasons to procrastinate and address them accordingly.
Having clarity over your tasks at hand can help keep procrastination at bay. How? Use the 4-D rule stated above!
Tip: If you are someone who gets overwhelmed by the huge pile of work, break down a big task into sub-tasks. This will help you get the work done easily.
A harmless peek at a social media notification can lead upto an hour or more of wasting time.
This naturally hampers your productivity leading to the toppling of your effective time management.
So, the best time management techniques to avoid such disasters is to block social media and personal email notifications for the 8-9 hours you are at your desk.
Use the reward system
Reward system is a great time management technique to keep working professionals focused at work.
How does it work? Take for instance, Mr X is a content writer who needs to submit a 1200 word piece by the end of the day.
It’s medically acclaimed that nobody should be sitting down for prolonged hours at a stretch for health reasons.
So, Mr. X can break his task into 3 segments, namely he can take a break after completing half his piece, then again take a break once after completing.
This way he will be able to pull off an effective time management strategy and get his work done with ease without hampering his productivity.
All he needs to do is set alarms on his device that will let him know when his break time begins or ends.
Limit your e-mail time
Nowadays we all have our emails synced to our devices… every single one of them.
This might seem as one of the efficient time management techniques, but it can also have a counter effect on your productivity.
So unless you are driving yourself to work, you can answer your emails while travelling.
In case, you are driving to work, allot time to answer emails in the first 15-20 minutes when you reach your desk or when you return from your lunch break.
This way you will get your emails answered as well as focus on other tasks in store.
Apart from these time management techniques, medical experts believe recreational activities such as playing a sport, cardiovascular exercises, yoga or pursuing a hobby can help in working efficiently.
You can also use these following time management apps for effective time management and increase work productivity.
6 Best time management apps
With the pandemic being far from ending, working from home needs unique time management techniques to work efficiently.
These tips will not only help you work in full productivity during such pandemics but also help you during normal office days.
Be sure to use these amazing time management apps to help in effective time management!
All the best!