History has shown that the most successful people all had different times at which they were at their productive best. Winston Churchill worked late into the night, and Toni Morrisson began working before dawn. This shows us that there is no one size fits all schedule for maximum productivity. No magical time management technique that will allow you to stay productive every single minute of the day. We are all born different and have different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to time management.
With most of us working remotely, you might be looking for the best time management techniques out there that are best suited for you and your line of work. Therefore, we have put together a list of our favourite time management methods to help you achieve warp-speed productivity every day.
If you think a blend of two works for you, follow it. After all, it’s all about finding the right fit for you.
🍅 The Pomodoro Technique
Studies show that taking small breaks during the day (including your lunch break!) can work wonders for productivity. An incredible hack to help you focus is the ‘Pomodoro Technique’. Pomodoro is Italian for “tomato.” Here, it refers to the tomato-shaped timer used by the technique’s inventor in the 1980s. In this method, you work in 25-minute chunks, called Pomodoros.
The idea is simple – Work for 25 minutes, take a break for five minutes, repeat. You can use a timer on your phone to keep yourself on track. When your timer goes off, stop, move away from your workspace and do something refreshing for 5 minutes. After 4 Pomodoro sessions (100 minutes of work time) take a more extended break of at least 15 – 30 minutes until you’re ready to start another set of Pomodoro. This method will kickstart your brain into work-mode, while also ensuring that you are taking healthy breaks.
⏳ The Time Blocking Method
Time blocking is one of the easiest ways to get stuff done. It requires you to plan out your day in advance and dedicate specific hours to accomplish specific tasks. Once you have decided what you want to achieve, enter the details in your calendar.
While scheduling out tasks, remember to account for two blocks: the proactive blocks and the reactive blocks. Proactive blocks are when you allow time for creative work or work that requires your complete focus. On the other hand, reactive blocks allow time for tasks such as emails and impromptu calls.
This time management method forces you to work within a rigid structure and accomplish tasks within a given time frame. This way, you are forced to concentrate on every activity that you do.
🏆 The Most Important Task Method (MIT)
As the name suggests, the MIT method is all about focusing on what’s absolutely essential. Instead of creating a massive to-do list every morning, choose 1-3 tasks that have to get done during the day and focus on only those. The MIT method does not mean that you do only three tasks per day. It means that you don’t devote your time to anything else until you finish those three tasks.
If we’re honest, most days, there are only a few things that must be done. If you can determine what those three tasks are, everything else becomes secondary. You can use this in conjunction with the Time blocking method and save your initial hours for the most critical tasks. This way, you’re completing a couple of essential tasks daily – unlike a to-do list where you might end up crossing off four unimportant tasks and never get around to doing the tasks that matter the most.
📌 The Kanban Board
“Kanban” is Japanese for billboard or signboard. The Kanban board revolves around having a visual board that helps you track progress on your goals. The Kanban Board usually consist of three columns, namely To do, In progress and Done. You can make this board in your journal with sticky notes, on a dry-wipe board or even on an app like Trello.
If you’re going the traditional route and using post-it notes, simply write your tasks and stick them into the columns that they belong to. This method allows you to visualise the whole process, giving you the satisfaction of moving things into the “Done” folder as they are completed.
These are challenging times and we may sometimes feel like our motivation has taken a battering. However, there are ways to pick yourself up and work your way out of this motivational slump. Here are some tips to stay motivated during tough times.