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Time Management Techniques
Time management techniques help you increase your productivity, make better use of your time, focus on the things that really matter and get more done in less time.
If you feel that you have too much to do and not enough time, incorporating these time management techniques into your work routine can make a significant difference in your productivity and achievement.
While there are many different time management approaches and systems out there, the basic techniques and principles are well understood and accepted.
Here are a few key time management techniques that will give you the most benefit:
1. Work From A List
Getting todo's out of your head and into some other medium (like a to-do list or planner) sounds simple, but it really works.
Most time management experts agree that working from a list (whether it's pen/paper based or electronic) is one of the keys for effective time management.
2. Plan Your Day
This is another time management technique that sounds obvious but surprisingly few people actually do it.
You don't have to micromanage or account for every minute of the day, but having a general idea of what you want to accomplish each day, and more importantly, making time in your schedule to actually do it will increase your productivity.
3. Work on important things first
The truth is that there is more stuff for you to do than you'll ever be able to accomplish, so it's critical that you prioritize and consciously decide what you ARE going to do and what you are NOT going to do.
One of the best ways to do this is to use prioritization to consciously decide which projects and tasks deserve your time and focus on those projects/tasks first, before you invest time in other less important things.
4. Schedule your "big rocks" and let the other stuff fill the gaps
This is a great time management technique to help you make time for the important things. The idea is to schedule these "big rocks" (the things that really matter) as appointments in your calendar and MAKE time for them, and let all the other stuff fill the gaps around them.
This technique is particularly helpful during the first two hours of the day, where most of us get distracted with trivial stuff, because they can set the foundation for the entire day.
Instead of checking email or wasting your time, focus your first two hours on your most important "big rocks" for the day.
5. Use a productivity system
Using a productivity or time management system is very powerful because it integrates and combines all the other techniques into a unified whole that allows them to work together.
Put these time management techniques into practice and you'll see some dramatic improvements in your productivity and effectiveness.
List of Time Management Techniques
Here are some more articles with practical time management techniques:
- Effective to-do list - A to-do list represents a central place where you can capture everything that you need or want to do. It is important for your to-do list to remain useful and manageable even as you add more and more items. This is why it is critical to use an effective to-do list.
- Master project list - The master project list is part of the effective to-do list and keeps track of your high level projects or outcomes.
- Project plans - Project plans keep track of the low-level details associated with each of your projects. In addition to the project task list, they may also contain things like objectives, risks, etc.
- Project files - Project files help to separate documents and paperwork that you are actively using as part of your ongoing projects from other reference material that you are not.
- Effective filing - Effective filing helps you store your reference documents so that they are easy to find when you need to use them.
- Prioritize - Prioritization is essential to effective time management because there is more available to do than anyone can possibly accomplish. You need to choose how to spend your time on the things that matter to you.
- Inflow management - Inflow management provides a systematic way of capturing and handling any emails, calls, notes, documents, or any other inputs that you receive.
- Scratch pad - The scratch pad is a simple tool you can use to capture tasks, action items, or notes while you are away from your desk or when your time management system is not easily accessible.
- Time charts - Time charts are a tool that helps you achieve better balance over the long-term by allocating blocks of time to different activities throughout the day.
- Reminder systems - Reminder systems help you write items down and avoid using your memory to keep track of them.
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If you'd like additional help, time management coaching and life coaching are both a great resource to implement these ideas and improve your time management skills. You can use personal coaching or group coaching depending on your needs.
In a corporate setting, executive coaching is also very valuable to help you be more productive and perform at your best.
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