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The best time management strategies for scheduling your day, week, or life

By the quarter

This is good for the big dreamer because it helps with starting making progress on long-term goals.

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The best time management strategies for scheduling your day, week, or life

The best time management strategies for scheduling your day, week, or life

https://blog.rescuetime.com/best-time-management-strategies/

blog.rescuetime.com

16

Key Ideas

By the hour

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.

The Pomodoro Method

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.

The 2-minute rule

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.

The Next Hour

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.

By the day

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.

Time blocking

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

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.

Natural energy cycles

Identify when your peaks/troughs are and plan your day around your energy levels. Alternatively, you can also work with your chronotype.

  • Bears are active in the day, but they’ll likely hit the snooze button before they get up. They’re best tackling intensive tasks just before noon.
  • Lions are early risers and are most productive in the morning.
  • Wolves would prefer to sleep through the morning. They peak late morning and late evening.
  • Dolphins are light sleepers. They should save intensive tasks for later in the day and are most productive in sprints.

Big rocks first

The method involves identifying your big rocks (i.e. your priorities) then planning your day around them.

By the week

This is for the constantly over-committed - those who struggle to fit everything into a single day cycle. 

Theme days

Theme each individual day of your week to a specific type of task.

For example:

  • Mon: Research
  • Tues: Client work
  • Wed: Marketing
  • Thurs: Client work
  • Fri: Bookkeeping

By the month

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.

By the quarter

This is good for the big dreamer because it helps with starting making progress on long-term goals.

The 12 week year

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.

  • When you have just 12 weeks to reach your goals, every day counts.
  • It encourages you to think in terms of what you can accomplish in less time.
  • Promotes daily action to accomplish long-term goals.

By the year

This works for seasonal workers.

Make a list of your annual commitments including work events and personal events. Plan your tasks around these events.

By the lifetime

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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Brian Tracy

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Work Around Your Energy Levels

Productivity is directly related to your energy level.

Find your most productive hours — the time of your peak energy — and schedule Deep Work for those periods. Do low-value and low-energy tasks (also known as shallow work), such as responding to emails or unimportant meetings, in between those hours.

Plan Your Day the Night Before

Before going to bed, spend 5 minutes writing your to-do list for the next day. These tasks should help you move towards your professional and personal goals.

You’ll be better prepared mentally for the challenges ahead before waking up and there won’t be any room for procrastination in the morning. As a result, you’ll work faster and smoother than ever before.

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Time-management tools
They offer the promise that you would gain certain control over your life, but there's no guarantee it will work.
When it fails to work, most people try another app or another technique.&nbs...
Uncritical Productivity

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. 

Balancing act

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.

4 more ideas

Write A Stop-Doing List

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...

Schedule Procrastination Breaks

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. 

Divide Your Day Into Themes

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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Defer

To defer means saying, "Not right now" rather than, "Not ever." This could be a new project you want to com mence in a week or two or it could be van idea you want to reflect on before takin...

Delegate

You might find it disconcerting when the results are somewhat different than when you complete the work yourself.

To delegate effectively, create a playbook breaking down a project or task step-by-step and detailing what the outcome looks like.

Do

Simply put, act on your tasks. The 2-minute rule can help with that:  If you can complete a task in two minutes or less, do it now.

It's amazing what you can accomplish in just 120 seconds: write an email, make a quick phone call, pull a report and so on.

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Zen to Done (ZTD)

It's a productivity system that teaches how to take a simple approach to improving your productivity, by encouraging you to focus on forming one productivity-boosting habit at a time. 

The Minimalist Habits of Zen to Done
  • Collect: Get ideas and to-dos out of your brain and onto a list.
  • Process: Review your list daily and decide how to act on each item.
  • Plan: Pick a few high priority items to accomplish each week and every day.
  • Do: Schedule time to accomplish your selected to-dos without interruptions.
The Collect Habit

To clear your mind and improve focus, get your ideas and to-dos out of your mind and onto a list. 

Documenting to-dos in the moment lessens the likelihood that you'll forget to do something and gives you a master list of to-dos to reference when you're trying to decide where to direct your time.

2 more ideas

What Time Management Is

Time is our precious resource. It is perishable, it is irreplaceable, and it cannot be saved. It can only be reallocated from activities of lower value to activities of higher value.

...

Eat That Frog!

Your “frog” is your most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it.

If you have two important tasks, start your day with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first. Focus on completing it before you go to the next one.

Failure to execute

We tend to confuse activity with accomplishment: we attend endless meetings and make plans, but at the end of the day, no one does the job and gets the results required.

“Failure to execute” is among the biggest problems in organizations today.

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The Planning Fallacy

We all have busy schedules, but we are incorrectly planning our day around the time we have, not around priorities.

Our estimates on how long certain tasks will take are almost always ...

Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
“What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important."
The 4 Kinds of Priorities

The Decision Matrix on how to approach tasks has 4 quadrants:

  • Quadrant 1: The Urgent Problems which are important.
  • Quadrant 2: Not Urgent but important tasks
  • Quadrant 3: Urgent but not really important
  • Quadrant  4: Distractions and time-wasting tasks. 

Prioritize the important (Quadrant 2) to attain maximum benefit from your work.

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Time Management And Personality

In order for any time-management method to be successful, you have to take into account people’s individual behaviors at work. There is no one-size-fits-all method for time management.

The Action Hero

Give them a seemingly impossible list of tasks and they will have them done and dusted faster than a speeding bullet. But in their haste, they can miss things and prioritize nonurgent tasks.

Strategy: For this type, ranking tasks according to urgency is a good call. 

The Diva

Very sociable and upbeat but with a tendency to procrastinate, they often boast about their nonexistent achievements giving the impression they are more productive than they really are.

Strategy: breaking tasks into tiny steps, scheduling their resolution and setting reminders works well. Email management according to urgency is also crucial considering how much time it usually consumes. 

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Make planning a habit
Make planning a habit

Some mornings we feel motivated to create a to-do list, but that is often the exception. We need to get things done, even when we feel disengaged.

Start by setting the alarm for you...

Align your to-do list with goals
  1. Break down your big goals into daily tasks. You can't add "Get in shape" to your daily to-do list, but you can add "spend 30 minutes on my bike."
  2. Consider your week as a whole. You likely have multiple goals. Some goals benefit from daily activity, while working towards others a few times a week can create momentum.
  3. Add your have-to-do tasks last. We often fill our to-do lists with have-to-do tasks that crowd the whole day. Adding it last forces you to fit your have-to-do tasks around your goal tasks.
Have one daily priority

Many of us start our mornings with dozens of things we need to get done, but later realize that we haven't crossed any of them off our lists. We did get stuff done, but none of the things we planned.

A balm against hectic days that pass without progress is to choose a single activity to prioritize and protect in your calendar. If you struggle to select your top priority, ask yourself, when you look back on your day, what do you want the highlight to be? That's your priority.

7 more ideas

“Most people have no clue what they are doing with their time but still complain that they don’t have enough.”..."

Grant Cardone

“When the goal is merely to ‘get through’ the day as quickly as possible, life will pass full of regrets. Time becomes the great taskmaster when it should be the liberator. Time is endured rather than enjoyed.”

“When the goal is merely to ‘get through’ the day as quickly as possible, life will pass full of regrets. Time becomes the great taskmaster when it should be the liberator. Time is endured rather than enjoyed.”
Understanding time

You have all the time in the world if you know how to utilize the time you’re given.

There are no limits on time. You can complete as much work as you want — if you have the right mindset and environment

7 more ideas