I don’t have time for time management. 20 years ago I completed a well-respected time management course; I remember being inordinately impressed with the methodology and immediately started managing my daily diary entries.
But as quickly as I got it, I lost it again. As much as I appreciated the concept I couldn’t maintain a system that neither maximised my strengths or supported my weaknesses; of which there are many.
When it comes to tracking, measuring and reporting, I’m not a natural. But as luck would have it, there are tools out there that do the grunt work for you.
Digging through data
How much time have you spent looking for files? Those few seconds it takes for you to organise your documents correctly now will save you time and stress later on. Imagine typing a keyword or applying a filter to access the information you need in a flash.
If you are looking for a robust, powerful library application, Microsoft SharePoint is worth considering. You can set up customised views and filters according to how you want to sort information; adding metadata will make your documents even easier to find and organise.
Microsoft 365 is another time-saving solution, not just for searching but also managing documents that have multiple authors, iterations and an approval matrix. You don’t have to spend hours chasing, pulling or pushing information ... it's all tracked for you.
To do lists
The key is to keep them small and straightforward. Remember this is about time and motivation; the more frequently you can experience a sense of progress, feel productive and see results, the less time you will spend procrastinating.
Are you a list person?
If you are an ISTJ Myers Briggs personality type, lists are your lifeblood and your guilty pleasure; but the rest of us may need a little online assistance.
Asana is a free to do list app that features task categories, tagging options and tons of ways to add info with comment threads for communication purposes. Its easy to use, clean interface makes it a simple online tool to use. There's something hugely satisfying when scoring through a task completed.
Trello, entirely free, comes with all of the basic features of a task management tool as well as a card-based interface where you create drag-and-drop boards to move and prioritise list items. It's a great online list management tool - visual and easy to manage.
Work, rest, work
When faced with a huge mountain of work have you ever felt completely overwhelmed? To avoid stasis (a time devourer), break your work down into manageable chunks and pace yourself.
The Pomodoro technique, developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, is a great tool. It's named after the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used for measuring time. His philosophy is simple; frequent breaks improve mental agility, recharge batteries and revive motivation ready to tackle new tasks.
With Pomodoro, tasks are broken up into fixed intervals of time separated by short breaks. A session, or Pomodoro, consists of working for 25 minutes without interruption, followed by a five-minute break; you take a longer break of 20-30 minutes after four Pomodori. Because nothing should interrupt an ongoing Pomodoro, distractions such as social media, email and office gossip are forced to wait.
- Focus Booster, available for desktop and mobile devices, provides an unobtrusive mini timer to monitor and record sessions, create timesheets automatically and generate reports.
- ClearFocus is a mobile app for Android. Free to download and easy to use; you can see what you are working on and review your statistics.
File management, to do lists and timers are just a few of the time management tools available today. Isn't it time you started using them?
Sponsored post. Copyright © 2017 Karen Cave, Netitude.