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It happens to many of us…. Sometimes we have so many tasks to do that we jump from one to another and the result tends to be the same: we leave them all incomplete and miss deadlines.
Learning time management techniques is key to completing our tasks or projects on time. When we learn to manage our time, our ability to concentrate improves and we are able to focus more efficiently. This translates, into an improvement in the quality of work and, of course, in the results.
If you find it difficult to manage your time efficiently, there is nothing to worry about! Here we bring you some well-known techniques that will surely be of great use to you when performing your tasks.
The Pomodoro technique
Have you heard of this technique? It is commonly used to increase productivity when studying, but it can also be applied to the workplace. This technique consists of using a timer to divide daily tasks into ‘pomodoros’ which are 25-minute blocks separated by a short 5-minute break. The goal is to help you focus all your attention on a single task without any distraction from the pomodoro time.
In a nutshell, these would be the 5 steps to follow:
- Choose a task to perform
- Set the timer for 25 min
- Work without any distraction for the pomodoro time
- After the 25 min, take a 5 min break
- Every 4 pomodoros, take a longer break of about 20-30 min
This website is dedicated to this technique, and contains timers for pomodoros and even for long or short breaks.
The ABCD Method
If you are one of those who prefer to divide tasks in order of importance, you will find the ABC method to concentrate very useful! This method focuses on sorting tasks into 3 categories:
- Category A: The tasks in this category are the ones that are prioritized. They are the most urgent tasks that have a time limit to be completed. Failure to complete them can have consequences. For example the delivery of a project to a client or a presentation of results.
- Category B: These tasks are lower priority than category A tasks. They are generally tasks that do not have a time limit but are necessary to proceed with other tasks. For example a call to a client or answering emails about a project.
- Category C: These are the less important tasks. They are usually simple tasks that can be completed in some free time because they have no sense of urgency.
- Category D: These are tasks that you can delegate to another team member.
By categorizing your tasks in this way, you will be more agile in identifying your priorities. In addition, you will be able to organize your agenda efficiently to avoid wasting time on tasks that do not deserve it.
The Eisenhower matrix
The Eisenhower matrix is a tool that helps you organize tasks according to their urgency and importance. This tool is similar to the ABCD method and consists of dividing tasks into 4 different quadrants:
Quadrant #1: Do
Important and Urgent. This is where we place the tasks to be prioritized that have a deadline. They should be executed as quickly as possible.
Quadrant #2: Schedule
Important and not urgent. These tasks are important to perform but do not have a deadline or a sense of urgency. Identifying them in a timely manner allows us to stay on track to meet long-term objectives.
Quadrant #3: Delegate
Not important, but urgent. These are tasks that we can delegate to a team member to ease the workload. These are tasks that get in the way of achieving objectives and take a lot of time.
Quadrant #4: Eliminate
Not important and not urgent. These tasks are those that do not contribute to the proposed objectives and also divert us from what is really important. They should be postponed or eliminated.
The good thing about this time management technique is that it is very visual. Having the tasks in quadrants will help you visualize them better and distinguish between what is important and what is not. Just try not to have more than 10 tasks per quadrant to avoid getting overwhelmed. The simple fact of setting goals will make you more agile when it comes to achieving them.
Dare to try these time management techniques, and you will notice how little by little you will learn to organize your time efficiently to accomplish all your tasks and projects. The important thing is to always identify which tasks are priorities, avoid any type of distraction, and take breaks to relax the mind.