Do you feel that the day goes by so fast that you can’t finish all your tasks and they pile up all week?
The fast-paced life we lead by staying at home 24 hours a day, causes us to assume drastic habit changes. Home office, the increasing work responsibilities, housework, family, social networks all require us to better manage time to achieve personal and professional goals, feel motivated, productive and avoid procrastination.
Certainly, managing your time during the COVID-19 pandemic is becoming a big challenge but it is a skill, like others, that can be learned and/or improved. We propose to start with the 4D’s (desire, dedication, determination, and discipline) to achieve your goal of managing your priorities.
Let’s remember that time is an atypical, inelastic, indispensable, irreplaceable resource and that it is totally in our hands to manage what we do with it.
What is the most valuable use of your time today? Since this is a fundamental question in time management, ask yourself this question and keep the answer in mind until you internalize it and turn it into an automatic guide that motivates you to focus your attention, effort and activity on the tasks that represents greatest value to you.
Before you start applying the time management technique that best suits you and your environment, I suggest you review and exhaust these three steps:
- First define your purpose, vision and values for your personal and/or work life. This is fundamental to maintaining a clear north, focus your priorities accordingly and maintain a long-term perspective.
- Establish clear objectives and results in each area of your life. Apply the rule of three, which was created for business and economics but can also be applied as a time management technique. It consists of setting three main tasks or activities that represent ninety percent of the value for your work or personal life. There are only three tasks and activities that represent of the contribution you make to your business or personal life. Focus your energy on them. Identify them and be sure to include them in your calendar.
- Plan your monthly and weekly activities by setting priorities and set aside thirty minutes each day to review your goals, plans and progress. The best time to do this is first thing in the morning. Use a unified and visual calendar. Today’s mobile applications provide fast and efficient alternatives. Important: FOLLOW YOUR PLAN! This process is useless if it is not accompanied by dedication, determination and discipline to maintain it.
Once you define what you want to do in the three points above, you can start applying some of the powerful time optimization techniques available to you.
Here are some of the most popular ones:
This technique consists of dividing time into fine intervals of 25 minutes called “pomodoros and focusing on each interval in a single continuous task, then you give yourself 5 minutes of rest and continue with another ‘pomodoro’. After 4 work intervals, you can give yourself a longer break of 20-30 minutes.
The Pomodoro Technique, invented by Frances Cirillo in the 1980s, optimizes time and efficiency by blocking 25 minutes of continuous concentration.
Below, I show you how this technique works in 6 simple steps:
- Choose a task to complete.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes.
- Work on the task continuously until the 25 minutes are up.
- Rest for five minutes (here you end a “pomodoro”).
- Repeat steps 1-4.
- After every four “pomodoros”, take a longer break, 20 minutes or more.
Additionally, this technique includes three rules to get the most of each chunk (interval):
- Break down complex projects
- Groups small related tasks
- Once we program an interval this should NOT be interrupted.
Without a doubt these techniques help us to be more focused, productive and to achieve our goals. The important thing is to find out which one fits you best and follow the 4D´s.
How beneficial has this post been for you and what would you add to this list? I would like to receive your comments!!