The best time management strategies for scheduling your day, week, or life
The 2-minute rule is a strategy for quickly assessing and taking action on small tasks so they don’t take up too much mental energy.
Ask yourself if a task is going to take you 2 minutes or less. If so, just do it.
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This works well for the chronic procrastinator: those who say they will do it later and then wonder why it never gets done.
Instead of getting overwhelmed, tackle your to-do list in small manageable chunks. Scheduling your time by the hour takes little effort to implement but provides real results.
Rather than trying to work flat-out, break down your day into a series of work-sprints with a short rest period after each session.
Set a timer for 25 min and focus exclusively on your work for that time, take a 5 min break, and repeat.
Some people find that taking a 5 min break destroys their flow. But it does help to break long complex tasks into a series on manageable sprints.
This method involves literally planning out each of your next hours, rather than your whole day.
Start the day by writing a list of what you intend to do over the next hour. Top up the list throughout the day so it always contains approximately one hour’s work.
This works well for the over-promiser: those who overestimate how much they can do in a day.
To prevent starting the day unplanned, plan your day the night before.
Assign every hour of your day to a specific task.
Take your day’s to-do list and estimate how long each task will take. Plan your day out by assigning each task to your calendar. Include all related tasks such as commuting, breaks and admin tasks.
Eating the frog means taking the biggest job you need to do and tackling it at the very start of the day, getting it over and done with.
Check out your to-do list. Pick the task you’ve been putting off.
Identify when your peaks/troughs are and plan your day around your energy levels. Alternatively, you can also work with your chronotype.
The method involves identifying your big rocks (i.e. your priorities) then planning your day around them.
This is for the constantly over-committed - those who struggle to fit everything into a single day cycle.
Theme each individual day of your week to a specific type of task.
When you have a plan for the month, it gives you a sense of what you can realistically get done.
Experiment with monthly planning and see whether or not it fits in with your productivity cycles.
This is good for the big dreamer because it helps with starting making progress on long-term goals.
Planning for a year leads to a lax attitude throughout the start of the year, leading to a burst of frantic activity as the end of the year approaches. Forget about your annual plan and accomplish the same goals in just 12 weeks.
This works for seasonal workers.
Make a list of your annual commitments including work events and personal events. Plan your tasks around these events.
Rather than planning your time, plan your goals. Ignore specific timelines and instead focus on progressing toward your key goals.
For example, if you want to be President, you might choose to volunteer for local political activities, as opposed to taking a high-paying job in the private sector.
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Switching between tasks can have damaging costs to our work and productivity.
Develop the habit of single-tasking by forcing your brain to concentrate on one task and one task only. Put your phone away, close all the browser windows and apps that you don’t need. Immerse yourself in this task. Only move to the next one when you’re done.
“Time management is not a peripheral activity or skill. It is the core skill upon which everything else in life depends.”
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Pursuing productivity for its own sake is counter-productive.
Most people feel able to complete more tasks when they start using time-management tools, but they don’t bear in mind that they can’t keep increasing their productivity forever, and they commit to more and more. In a few weeks, they are more productive but still frustrated.
Back when more people worked in factories, laborers did not have to deal with time management. At the assembly line, time was managed for you.
Freedom comes with responsibility: you have to think a lot more about how you manage your time.
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Remind yourself of items that don’t bring you joy, and contribute very little to your long-term goals.
This way, you’re unlikely to spend a lot of time doing time-sucking, non-rewardin...
During this allotted break, give yourself permission to do time-wasting activities (social media scrolling included) until you got bored and want to move on to your next task.
And if your job isn’t ideal for focusing on one thing per day, you can dedicate your morning to one focus area, your early afternoon to another, and late afternoon to another.
This way, instead of being overly restrictive about finishing a task in that time period, you have the flexibility to do any work that moves you forward in that particular focus area.
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