What is time management and how to be more productive?
Many people associate time management with a daunting routine that regardless of the word “management” in its name demands much time for its implementation. They are partially right. Time management is effective planning of work focused on achieving certain goals, finding time, prioritizing and monitoring the plan. This is a skill that requires training, thus you may need some time to turn it into a habit. Think of roller skating. When a person puts on roller skates for the first time, they move with turtle speed. They view roller skaters blasting past as gods! But after a day-to-day training, a person is already viewed as a pro and can easily lay the table riding the roller skates. The same with time management activities. At first, they may seem complex and sophisticated but with the help of some time management tools and daily practice, you will learn how to be more productive.
Key tasks and objectives of time management
Modern time management strategies allow us to qualitatively our work or leisure time in a smart way. It may seem incredible, but many years of research show that a person who knows how to plan and organize their time, do almost twice as much as before they began to engage in time management. That being said, they spend almost the same amount of energy and get tired no more than before. And they do see the difference between efficiency and effectiveness. So, the main objectives of time management can be formulated as follows:
- increase the effectiveness of your activities;
- help to control what you do and when you do it;
- help to analyze the daily routine and take measures to optimize it;
- allow you to study and improve your time management techniques;
- help to get rid of inefficient activities;
- assist in time scheduling to prioritize the tasks and meetings;
- competently organize working and personal time.
In addition to these things, time management tools help in solving a range of other tasks peculiar for certain people and situations.
5 Time Management Tools Backed by Research
If you want to discover how to manage your time effectively, you should ask successful people how they do it. Let us introduce you to five time management strategies by Cal Newport. At the age of 34, he is married, has two children, has written 4 books, earned his Ph.D., and got an appointment at Georgetown University. How did he do it? He doesn’t keep that a secret and shares his experience in his books or gives interviews for such magazines as Time, the New York Times, to name a few.
Schedule deep work
Not a meeting, an appointment or calls. All of them depend on other people while you should schedule things you are responsible for. Newport calls them distractions, which are associated with other people’s work, not your own. The work you should do is called deep work by Cal. This is the type of activity that gets you noticed for promotion, that singles you out. Doesn’t it deserve to be paid more attention? How to be more productive and what will get you noticed for raises? Invest time in your deep work more than in the work of other people.
Make a scoreboard
A scoreboard helps athletes measure and monitor their results. They can see how they are achieving their goal. Follow their example then! If you are trying to learn how to manage your time and tasks, write them down to easily see the results at the end of the week. Remember, anything that is measurable gets measured. Believe the words of Peter Drucker, a successful management consultant. With this simple time management tool, you will be able to see whether you get tired at the end of the week because you strove for deep work or you only spent an hour out of 40 to reach your goal.
Consider ‘Yes’ a dangerous word
Are you interested in how to be more productive? You should learn to say ‘No’ to tasks that distract your attention from deep work. If you want to get things done, limit your use of ‘Yes’; instead, prioritize the work you are really interested in. You might think that rejecting people is rude, but if Warren Buffett, a billionaire, was polite to everyone, he would not have become what he is now. Consider his words: “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say “no” to almost everything.”
Focus on deep work
There are many power time management tools but one of the most powerful is making rituals. According to Newport, to get fully focused, work out the rituals and routines around deep work. Think of simple rituals, like cleaning your shelf or opening a window. It actually does not matter what it is, the main idea is to trigger your inner resources and make them switch to a “deep work mode.” Let’s draw a parallel between efficiency and effectiveness. While the first is really useful, but only the second one draws you closer to the desired result. So invent rituals that help you be effective in deep work.
Decide on shallow and deep work with your boss
Yes, you will have to talk to your boss about that and Newport believes it will bring good results. For many people, the work is measured by the number of calls, meetings, and emails. Without a doubt, they are important and the business can hardly be done without them. But once measured in terms of efficiency and effectiveness, you will see that they take too much of your energy which you could spend on deep work. That is why Newport recommends to talk to a boss and decide on what time is unbroken, that is aimed to proceed deep work, and what percentage can be spent on immediate, urgent and shallow tasks. It will be beneficial for both of you.
To sum up, use time management techniques to bring results. Do not focus and spend too much time on shallow work that you know is useless and that can be easily refused. Trust the experience of people who have found the secret of how to be more productive and share it with you. Be successful and manage your time!