What is Time Management?
“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”CHARLES DARWIN
In simple words, time management is about knowing the importance of the limited time you have, and managing it accordingly. Things go haywire when time manages you.
What happens when time manages you
Everyday when you go to bed you worry of all the unfinished tasks.
After a less than wonderful sleep, you wake up with searing guilt and bloodshot eyes — reluctantly ready to replay the cycle again and again and again…
There are no actual vacations or getaways, just a ton of lazy weekends. You can actually see your productivity and the quality of work decline.
Stress and then anxiety consume. They consume your valuable time and energy. And this goes on and on.
But, you can actually break this cycle.
When you learn to manage time you gain some control over this unpredictable life. And it is better to have some control than no control.
How to Realistically Manage Time
Perfect is the enemy of goodDr. Valerie P. Jackson
According to Dr. Valerie P. Jackson, MD, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, there are some key steps for successful time management. They are as follows:
- set realistic goals
- get organized
- relax and recharge
- stop feeling guilty
These are fairly simple steps. Create a to-do list, and be realistic, list all things that you can’t leave out like personal hygiene, travel time, eating time, etc.
Fit your tasks within the limited time you have in between all the daily activities you can’t avoid.
If you work in a team share the load and be able to delegate task.
Take time-offs in between work, and enjoy your leisure time. Leisure time is there for a reason.
And stop feeling guilty, just try to be consistent. No matter how distracted you are try to put in at least 5 minutes of work. You will definetly benefit from putting a tiny effort.
Finally, be aware of these two behaviors: procrastination and perfectionism
Murmur to yourself “I’ll do it later.”
Feels good, doesn’t it? Not if you know how vicious the cycle is.
Your brain rewards you with a good feeling every time you put aside a task. But time won’t wait for you. The clock keeps ticking, and you keep pushing the task aside to avoid any unpleasant feeling.
If you have procrastinated you how the habit harms you. The temporary sense of relief turns into anxiety. And, anxiety consumes a lot of brain powerx leaving you exhausted. As a result, your productivity suffers.
Perfectionism is a good thing, right? It is.
But it is a hindrance when you over do it.
If you’re confused, let me explain.
When you are not happy with your work, you spend more time and energy to make it better. That is inherently a good thing, but you should not let your work consume you. In the end, you may have a hard time finishing the work. Obviously because you end up tired, stressed, and frustrated.
In fact, in the words of Dr. Jackson, “Perfect is the enemy of good”.
Time Management Technique
There are a number of time management techniques. However, for now, I will talk about a simple technique called the POMODORO TECHNIQUE.
The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management tool made famous and developed by Francesco Cirillo in late 1980s. It’s based on the 80/20 rule.
THE 80/20 RULE
According to the 80/20 rule, 80 percent work is done with only 20 percent effort. For this to work, you have to be very focused on your work for a fixed period. You also should learn when to say it’s enough. Let’s take a look how the 80/20 rule works with the The Pomodoro Technique.
follow these directions
- do something
It can be something big, something small, something you have put off since ages: it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is your undivided attention. Write down what you plan to do.
- set a timer for 25 minutes
Now, for 25 minutes, focus only on this task. Promise yourself this: “I will spend 25 minutes on this task and I will not interrupt myself.”
Remember, it is just 25 minutes.
- manage distractions
Take a few deep breathes, and remember to just concentrate on what you are doing. It’s only for a while.
- reflect on your work
When the timer rings, reflect on how you felt during the entire 25 minutes. Did it pass quick? Did you do well at your task? Are you ready for more?
- take a short much needed break.
Take a short 5 minute break. Let your brain rest and recover. Just relax, take a deep breath, grab a cup of tea, watch the sky, gaze outside the window, etc. Just let your brain relax and it will thank you later.
After the break, repeat the cycle.
- Repeat 4 times, take a longer break
Do the above task for four times, take a longer break of 20-30 minutes. As you work more, your brain needs rest before another round.
This is the Pomodoro Technique.
Scientists believe the human brain has an attention span of 20-25 minutes. After the 25 minutes, your brain loses focus. So, use that 20-25 minutes efficiently. Work and then rest.
Now apply this technique in your real life. See how things change!
Update: If you have tried the technique and found something useful or if you believe needs some adjustments do let me know! 🙂
Jackson V.P.(2009) Journal of the American College of Radiology, 6 (6), pp. 434-436.