Time is an irreplaceable resource we all experience differently. There is no magic formula for time management; it’s just all about knowing how to use your hours more effectively by prioritizing tasks and focusing your time and energy where they matter most.
With so many time management methods, apps, and innovative tools out there, you can choose the ones to help you with the challenges of organizing your time in a more productive way.
The timeless strategy of evaluating the important and the urgent was proposed by U.S. President D.Eisenhower. In this method, tasks are divided using the following criteria:
- urgent and important-to be handled first
- non-urgent important-to be planned and done later
- urgent not important-to be done quickly, can also be postponed or delegated
- non-urgent and unimportant-may be deleted from your task list.
One of the most useful smart organizers based on the Eisenhower priority matrix is Focus Matrix (iOS), that helps you with dividing tasks into groups given their importance and urgency. MyEffectiveness (Android) is another productivity app inspired by Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” that keeps track of your plans, goals, and actions to improve your effectiveness.
Create a planner and list all the tasks before the start of the day. According to neuroscientist Earl Miller, for the most part, we simply can’t focus on more than one thing at a time, so you can do better when you’re concentrating on one task at a time and finish it before starting another. To better manage your to-do lists and tasks, you can use Todoist, one of the most popular platforms of its kind.
With so much information coming to us every day, we always worry we might miss something important. Whether they come in the form of emails, phone calls, social media news, and other sources, all these little distractions take our time and reduce our productivity. You may increase your focus and performance by selectively blocking the websites that are distracting you. Freedom is an app that comes handy for blocking distracting apps and platforms, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, messaging, or other websites that waste your time. Another simple way to avoid distractions is to unsubscribe from unwanted emails and newsletters (Unroll.me), cut down the pages and accounts you don’t actually follow on social media, or simply turn off push notifications on your phone to reclaim your time.
The Pomodoro Technique is another productivity method that may be helpful to reduce distractions and maintain focus on tasks by dividing them into 25-minute time blocks followed by a 5-minute rest. This method actually allows us to stay focused and get more accomplished in less time.
We always have some part of the tasks or chores that we don’t feel like doing. One of the best ways to deal with the most challenging things is to “eat your frog” at the start of the day without spending much time to think about it, quickly remove it from your task list and move on to focus on what’s really exciting for the rest of the day. Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy is one of the best books on effective productivity habits.
Talking about the habits of success, Steve Jobs suggested that “Innovation is saying ‘no’ to 1,000 things. You have to pick carefully”. Saying no to things that take time but don’t add much value to our life is a very important time management skill. We may not always feel comfortable with saying ‘no’ to conform to other people’s expectations, but by constantly saying ‘yes’ to everyone, we may shift away from our priorities and not have the time to dedicate to things that really matter. This does not mean we’re running away from our responsibilities, but instead, we’re freeing up time to manage tasks properly and on-time.
One of the most common traits of successful people is that they start their day early to take full advantage of the day. Getting up early may contribute to your productivity throughout the day, providing an advantage to manage your time more effectively. Sleep Cycle is a useful app designed to track your sleeping patterns and help you get up easily at the most optimal time and with a more gentle wake-up call.
By making use of simple, time-saving tools to automate everyday tasks can make your life easier. Use EarlyOne to book your time in advance to be served in companies without waiting, consider online payment solutions like
Idram, MobiDram, or use mobile banking apps for quick and easy payments. To help you get your meal planning and grocery shopping, you can turn to apps like Mealtime or OurGroceries. And for those who like to collect all their notes, ideas, lists and reminders in one place, Evernote may be your go-to app to get all your stuff organized wherever you are.
We’ve covered above some valuable and practical time management methods and tools that may be applied to your daily activities to help maximize your productivity and make the most of your day.