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Time Management: Methods for Productivity

Do you want to know the most important things about time management? The truth is, it’s impossible. Minutes merge into hours, days into weeks, and months into years whether we want them to or not. And that’s the bad news. But the good news is that we can manage ourselves and structure our lives so that we will have time to do all the most important things, even if, as before, there are only 24 hours in the day.

Such technology as time management teaches us how to build a personal schedule within a given time frame. Having mastered its basic rules, you will eliminate the usual chaos and disorder in your affairs, and thus begin to act more actively and live comfortably. As a result, you will find time to work, gamble at the Bitcoin casino, and go out with your friends.

Time management won’t increase the number of hours in a day, but help you use them more efficiently. And this will save not only your strength but also your nerves.

History of Time Management

Since ancient times people have tried to organize their lives so that in the shortest possible time they can do everything that is necessary and to achieve their goals. Without strategy and tactics, it would be impossible to build cities and empires.

But the amazing thing is that the more ways of speeding up certain processes appeared, the higher the pace of life became. The scientific and technological progress that humanity faced in the twentieth century led to the birth of a separate direction in time management. And in the 1970s it was called “time management”.

In the XXI century, the theory and practice of time management are dealt with on a scientific basis. As a result, we have at our disposal modern ways to improve personal effectiveness and development, designed for:

  • Businessmen and housewives.
  • Office workers and freelancers.
  • Engineers and “free artists.”

There are so many options for time management that one can get confused. But do not blindly follow the trendy theories in numerous articles, or attend all the courses. It’s important to find the methodology of time management that suits you and adapt it to your situation.

Goals and Objectives of Time Management

The main goal in this matter is to learn how to manage everything you need in a limited time frame to achieve your goal. An effective time management system helps:

  • Schedule activities by their level of priority.
  • Distribute goals according to their importance.
  • Divide responsibilities in the team and define the responsibilities of each member of the work group.
  • Build a step-by-step plan for each task.
  • Increase the productivity and efficiency of the work organization.
  • Find hidden time reserves and exclude their irrational use.

Each of these areas of time management is a separate task, which can be broken down into subtasks, depending on the needs of the individual.

At first glance, it may seem that time management is necessary to learn to work harder. That may be true for some. But in fact, improving personal efficiency is designed to solve the main problem – to free your schedule from everything unnecessary, in order to find time in life for life itself.

The Basic Principles of Time Management

Time management is not just a list of tips, it is a whole science that is based on certain laws and rules. And if you look at any system of time management, you will see that for all their differences, they are built according to specific principles.

Planning

This is the basic concept of time management. It’s where everything starts. You may use any convenient option for making a plan:

  • Making handwritten notes in a regular organizer.
  • Putting stickers with daily tasks on a special board.
  • Allocate tasks with the help of various programs for your computer or smartphone.

In most cases, people try to keep everything in your head. It seems to you that making a list is unnecessarily long and not important. But in fact, it turns out that the lack of a clear plan leads to confusion and downtime. Your task at this stage is to organize all the planned activities and move them from your head to any other medium.

Determining the Complexity of Tasks

The entire list of available tasks can be classified according to their complexity:

  • By the amount of time required.
  • By the level of labor input.
  • by technical complexity of execution.

Experts recommend planning the most difficult tasks for the first half of the day. A person has more energy in the morning, and there are still many free hours ahead. This reduces stress and nervousness, which are the main enemies of high performance at work.

Splitting Complex Processes Into Simple Ones

If your plan has one big task, it’s more efficient to divide it into several subtasks. This method is called “eating an elephant in pieces:

  • Break down a complex process into smaller tasks.
  • Determine the sequence of their execution.
  • Check the overall plan after completing each subtask.

Sometimes you are so eager to tackle everything at once. But practice shows that enthusiasm is enough only to start, and after evaluating the scale of the coming work, energy fails, and the task starts to seem impossible.

Search for Hidden Time Reserves

There is a technique – before going to sleep, replay all the events of the day, as if on film. This approach can be used to assess how effectively you acted in specific time intervals. It may be that out of 40 minutes of conversation with your business partner, 25 minutes were spent discussing extraneous matters, and as a result you did not have time to finish all the planned work tasks.

The main “eaters” of time, or chronophages (aka hidden reserves) are:

  • Conversations with colleagues, including on the phone.
  • Personal correspondence in messengers.
  • Scrolling through feeds on social networks.
  • Computer games.
  • Watching television or videos on the Internet.
  • Face-to-face meetings instead of solving cases over the phone or via email.

Managing Your Motivation

There are no lazy people – there are those who simply lack the motivation to perform a task. Motives that move a person can be divided into two conditional groups:

  • Intrinsic motives. These are our desires and needs that allow us to set goals and achieve them. This may include emotional motivation, that is, a sense of psychological satisfaction from the result.
  • External incentives. First and foremost is financial gain. It is a serious lever for action, and significantly increases the effectiveness of work. But moral incentives should not be forgotten either. After all, we all need praise and recognition, so their use is always welcome.

Time Management Methods 

There are so many options that it is simply impossible to list them all. But there are techniques whose effectiveness has already been proven in practice, and therefore they enjoy well-deserved popularity throughout the world.

The Pareto Principle

It was formulated at the end of the 19th century by the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. The basic idea is as follows: 80% of the results provide 20% of the efforts expended. And this formula can be applied to all areas of life. In terms of time-management, Pareto’s principle means that 80% of all planned tasks take 20% of your time. And vice versa, 20% of tasks will be so difficult that they take 80% of your time.

Does it seem different to you? That’s a reason to find and eliminate chronophages.

Mind Maps

Mind maps were invented by writer and expert in learning and thinking psychology Tony Busen. They allow you to structure all the information available for its subsequent analysis and the creation of an action plan. Thanks to this visualization tool it is possible to:

  • Intelligently plan the work day.
  • Make responsible decisions.
  • Have brainstorming sessions.
  • Create presentations for business meetings.
  • Break down complex processes into steps, etc.

Eisenhower Matrix

The authorship of the methodology is attributed to U.S. President General Dwight Eisenhower. The essence of the concept is to be able to divide all cases according to their importance and urgency into 4 categories:

  • Urgent important.
  • Non-urgent important.
  • Urgent unimportant.
  • Non-urgent unimportant.

Urgent and important things should be done first, and non-urgent and unimportant things should be crossed off the list altogether. Everything that is urgent but unimportant is better delegated to someone from your environment or to an outside specialist. And then you will have a time resource for all the non-urgent, but very important things in your life that you have been putting off for so long.

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