Time Management, what do you do?

When it comes to time management, what do you do? Is there a particular technique you follow exactly? Maybe you follow numerous time management techniques for different types of tasks? Or have you customized your own time management style?

I’ve read about Time boxing and recently the [URL=“http://freelancefolder.com/how-to-get-more-work-done-in-less-time/”]Pomodoro Technique over at the Freelance Folder.

The short bursts are okay to shake up procrastination but I don’t think they should be used constantly. Once you get going and are in your groove you can spend hours fixated on a task.

When I was working for a company and lucky enough to have a very flexible lunch time I would use the incentive of “I can go to lunch after I do… whatever task”. Along with that, bursting to go to the toilet is a great motivator :D, keep seated until you’ve finished the current task and you’ll be surprised at the speed increase. (don’t wait too long though, remember your limits :p)

Personally, I love music, it has to be on while I’m at the computer otherwise I end up thinking too much about other things like computer games or stuff I want to develop for myself. If it’s not on I’m humming it. But that damn playlist has to be perfect, if it shuffles to a song I don’t want to listen to I could easily waste 5-15 minutes looking for the next best song. To tackle that, I listen to music without lyrics, Dj SlyOne is my favourite.

When a random thought pops into my head like I wonder what such and such actor has been up to I’m off to wikipedia to find out. From there, the power of linked documents appears and so goes an hour or 2… or 3 :blush: of my time. Well, now I write down the thought on a sticky note and save it for later. Web browsing is definitely one of the most evil time stealing tasks you can go off on when you’re suppose to be working. What do you do to tackle it?

I don’t think there is a particular system that solves everything - the problem (as mentioned above) as having the discipline to stick to whatever system you choose.

I make sure I close anything that could cause a distraction - Email, IM, Twitter - all off until I am finished doing what I need to. Then they can get opened, checked, and this creates the break between blocks of work.

But for me the hardest thing is the discipline. Gotta keep reminding myself to concentrate!

I first try to determine my time management issues and then use a simple system to fix it. So if I am forgetting things I use a simple to do list. If I need to make sure I get the important things done, I make a daily list of priorities. Try to solve your specific issue first before resorting to a “canned” time management system or book.

I use a system that I developed on my own. It’s a hybrid of other approaches plus the parts that I created on my own.

Very simple - I use MS Outlook tasks to manage high-level tasks that are organized into 4 categories. The categories are based on the 7 Habits concept of ‘urgent-important’, ‘urgent-non-important’, ‘non-urgent-important’, and ‘non-urgent-non-important’. The idea is to get the urgent-important stuff done quickly and spend more time on the non-urgent-important tasks.

I also plan time in 15 minute blocks and am highly focused on a SINGLE task during a block. I don’t do ANY multitasking at all, no IM’ing no Facebook no nothing when I am focusing on a single thing. No matter what anyone says, I don’t believe that people can multitask and be as productive with high quality as they could if they did each task on their own (I enforce this with employees, too).

I also push for quality work time by enforcing ‘breaks’ when applicable. We use OneNote to associate detailed notes with tasks.

Time management is an art form and the #1 thing you need is PRACTICE. I also have a very handy way of planning complicated tasks using postit notes - low tech and reliable :slight_smile:

But what do you use Sagewing?

I’m a huge fan of the Getting Things Done (GTD) method, I’m sure you’ve probably heard of it but that along with a GTD based checklist app (MyLife Organized) I’ve increased productivity tenfold. As for the environment itself, I work in a quiet room listening to podcasts as I work, thereby keeping my knowledge up-to-date without needing to read loads of blogs - as it’s all in audio form! Great way to save time when you could be pro-actively working. :slight_smile:

There are so many methods, and the majority of them are good methods and can work well. The hard part is having the discipline to work the method. Just start trying to manage your time in whatever way works for - do a bit of research and find an approach that sounds good and go for it.

For me I like to have a quiet environment as much as possible but I have also mastered blocking out noise also as you have to. I like to get a task done before I stop but a caveat to that is you have to recognise when you must take a break as you are not getting any where. five minutes away can bring your productivity right back up.

Other than that I like to be very strict on certain pieces of time being sacrosanct in terms of family. I will always put time aside to spend time with my wife at weekends.