Time management is an important part of your professional life. Although the days you spend relaxing on the beach with a cocktail are great opportunities to relax and forget about the time, a lot of effort is required to let you have those days in the first place. We all love to relax. However, if you properly learn how to fill the time you have reserved for your professional life, you will be left with more downtime in the future.
Although being productive 100% of the time during your designated working hours is impossible, it is possible to efficiently plan your time so that you can get what you need to get done on time. With the right tools and strategies, even the laziest person on Earth can learn to use their time efficiently and finish the important matters at hand.
When it comes to finishing tasks, how much you get done matters less than the quality of the work that you finish. Unless you want to finish your work right the first time, it is important that you get important things done fully before concentrating on other, less relevant items. If you are looking for some amazing tips to help you manage your time, here are 10 different tools for you to consider adopting.
1. Google Calendar
Although there are countless computer-based programs to help you manage your time, Google Calendar is a professional time-planner that helps you organise your daily tasks for free. Have you ever told a colleague that you would stop by their desk at a certain time and then forget about it when the time came? This is where a time-planner like Google Calendar comes in handy.
With Google Calendar, you can also automatically send notifications to your mobile phone so that you never forget when you have an upcoming commitment. Each time you set aside a date to do something, just spend a couple of minutes adding it to your Google Calendar, and then you can forget about it until right before you actually do it.
The best thing about Google Calendar is that it is completely free to use. All you will need is a Gmail account and internet to keep track of your daily routine. Since it allows you to do advanced functions such as setting the priority level of each task, many people will make this their go-to time manager.
2. EpicWin – RPG Style To-Do Lists
If you are one of those people who has a tendency to play too many video games, you might be able to harvest that addiction and turn it into one which helps you get more tasks finished in a day. This app, which is available on both Apple and Android devices, turns your life into a role-playing experience where each task you accomplish is used as XP for the application.
With XP from completing tasks comes points for levelling up your character, just as you would in many popular video games as a reward. Since it operates very similar to a video game, it is a great way to take short little breaks in-between your work which aren’t addicting enough to actually draw you in for longer periods of time. This is a great tool for anybody who wants a little extra motivation to keep your to-do list active and up-to-date.
3. Cold Turkey Blocker
This tool is for people who have problems with distracting themselves from work for things like social media, e-mail and so on. Cold Turkey Blocker is an application for your computer and smartphone which will allow you to block yourself of all potential distractions from your work. The days of you spending more time on Facebook than getting your work finished are over.
Cold Turkey works by locking in settings that you have set so that you can’t change your mind and navigate away into the distraction zone. Whether your personal distraction comes from checking a certain webpage, application or menu in your phone, cold turkey can be used both on your pc and smartphone. Although this is great for people who need to manage their own time, or for businesses who want to encourage higher levels of productivity, it may also prove to be very annoying if you aren’t committed to using it.
4. Rescue Time
Rescue Time works by tracking all of the time that you spend on certain websites in applications. It also lets you set goals and gives you a weekly e-mail report. All of these features are completely free of charge. This is a great tool for people who are in the process of improving their time management and simply need some free assistance in helping themselves determine the biggest problem areas.
Just keep in mind that if you want to do the premium functions which take further action on your problem areas, such as blocking distracting websites and sending a daily log of your accomplishments, you will have to pay a monthly fee. However, the free version will also work very well at helping you visualise your weekly successes and distractions. In either case, this is a great tool for helping you manage your time by giving a visual representation of how you spend it.
With the look and feel that you would expect from Gmail, GQueues is another powerful tool to help you monitor your time. Using a built-in calendar, this application will allow you to easily set goals and visualise what needs to be done first. This is an exceptional program which is great for people who already use other Google features such as Gmail, Calendar, Drive and so on.
GQueues helps you to easily set up recurring tasks, prioritise your activities, set up reminders, keep track of important documents for events and so on. Since it syncs with Google Calendar, people who love this Google product might also love to use GQueues alongside it since it allows you to do more. There are free plans and premium plans, depending on which features you want to have for the service. It can also be used on a smartphone with an application or your PC.
If you need a tool which helps you to narrow down your daily tasks into a matter of priority, Scoro might be a great time management tool for you. Since this works as a software which can be accessed by both yourself and your trusted colleagues, this is a great option for freelancers and businesses who work constantly with other people. If you want to communicate less over skype and quickly be able to track the progress of a team, Scoro is a powerful option to consider using.
This tool allows you to assign and delegate certain tasks to anybody that you work with, even if it is for yourself. It also allows you to keep an organised calendar so that you can set aside and remember your time for certain events. Businesses who pay employees based on the time they spend on a project will also find this tool useful. Anybody who sells products will also be able to send over invoices to their clients within seconds after setting up this feature.
7. 52 / 17 Time Management
The premise of this strategy is that you are guaranteed to spend some of your time for work distracted by other things. Following this train of thought, it is then important that you delegate your time for both of these things. If done effectively, you can ensure that more time is spent on getting quality work done than doing less important things such as checking social media.
This system works simply by setting aside a timer for 52 minutes and then working as hard as possible for this amount of time. When the timer goes off, you then have a 17-minute “brain break” to get yourself back on track and ready to work again. The 17 minutes can be spent doing whatever you need to do to relax. Popularised by Julia Gifford from The Muse, there is even an online tool which helps you to work in this manner.
8. The 1-3-5 Time Management Strategy
If you want a time management tool that is completely offline, free of charge and easy to adopt, you might make the 1-3-5 time management strategy your new go-to. Developed by Alex Cavoulacos, this is a strategy that will help you feel accomplished at the end of the day, while still getting as much done as humanly possible. The best thing about this tool is that it only requires you to record what your daily tasks are, following a simple system.
The main idea for this system is that any given working day you can get 1 big task done, 3 intermediate tasks and 5 small tasks. To use this system, all you need to do is identify what each of these things are. You can simply grab a piece of paper each morning and write them down. After you finish each task, cross it off and then start to notice how setting a task list like this helps you get enough done every day.
9. The Eisenhower Matrix
If you are the person who is very conscious of the tasks you need to get done both today and tomorrow and can easily assign a level of importance to them, this is a free task that can be instantly applied to your daily routine today. It works by giving you a system by which you categorise your tasks and decide how and when they will get done.
To use this tool, simply get an Eisenhower Matrix Template, or separate a piece of paper into four different quadrants: do first, schedule, delegate and don’t do. Whatever you need to get done first you put into the “do first” quadrant. These will be the tasks that you get done before you even think about the other ones.
Anything you can schedule for the foreseeable future goes into the “schedule” box. If you have employees who can help you finish tasks, put them inside the “delegate” quadrant. Lastly, anything that shouldn’t be accomplished today you can add into the “don’t do” box.
10. Fresh or Fried Productivity System
Developed by Stephanie Lee, the fresh or fried productivity system is a great tool for anybody who notices that they work very well at certain times and terribly at other routine times. If you have a daily trend where you can barely get anything accomplished at 8am, and then grooving around 9am, for example, this system helps you to make full advantage of your efficient times and downtimes alike.
Using this system, you start by using the time your brain is “fried” to prioritise your tasks. You start by putting the most urgent tasks or those you hate the most at the start of your “fresh” periods and then slowly start doing less brain-intensive tasks as your daily brain activity starts to deteriorate. As long as you are motivated to keep up-to-date lists when your brain is fried, this technique can help you turn unproductive days into ones where you feel much more accomplished.
Awesome Tools to Help you Manage your Time: Summary
There is no one-stop solution to becoming more efficient in your time. Finding the tools and strategies which work best for your personal needs, personality and circumstance are something that you will be able to judge the best. As a result, each of the above options are simply that. Although each of them can be great tools to use for the right person, there is no guarantee that they will work for everybody.
However, if you are serious about becoming better at managing your time, any of the options above used either solely or in a group will help you turn your unproductive and/or wasted time into time that is more beneficial towards your daily productivity. In any case, be sure to consider what the causes are to your unproductivity, act upon them and fix them.
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