Let’s be honest, most people understand the importance of productivity but just as many struggle with the fundamentals of good time management. It’s true, we all want to be more productive but good time management is a process and not just a fancy phrase that gets bandied around in meetings.
But what does this mean exactly and how can you nurture this ‘good time management’?
Well, it simply means that good time management allows you to get more done in a shorter time frame but you need to actually track this time in order to be successful.
Let’s take a closer look at time management and the importance of tracking your time:
The Importance of Tracking Your Time
If you’re like me, you tend to get things done but often suspect you could do more. Meanwhile, your idea of time management might be that you take regular breaks or start and finish work at the same time. While there’s nothing wrong with the above, this process is a little more complex than timing breaks and good time management requires a more structured or definitive approach in terms of tracking your time.
In fact, taking steps to track this time is the real key to good time management. After all, you cannot improve what you do not measure and establishing more free time is simply impossible without this effort. But why might you want to free up this time in the first place?
As you know, when you accomplish more in work a short time-frame, this tends to free more time which can be used to take advantage of other opportunities. However, that’s not to say good time management is solely beneficial to your profession.
You see, the benefits of tracking this time can improve every aspect of your life. For example, more free time can help you focus on physical or mental health just as much as other areas of work. Needless to say, both are needed to create a work-life balance and just as important as any work-related endeavor.
At the same time, many people struggle with striking this balance and poor time management is often the reason for incomplete projects, frustration and that feeling of being scattered.
Removing Distractions and Creating More Time
The truth is, we create our own frustration and while notifications and the online world is certainly a reason for so many distractions, we permit and allow these distractions. That is to say, there is simply no need for the majority of these ‘notifications’ which are little more than trivial or amusing at best. What’s more, having various devices or multiple tabs open is counter-productive to any task.
With this in mind, it makes perfect sense that removing or minimizing distractions and tracking this time is the key to increased productivity. In fact, recent studies show that it takes more than twenty minutes to regain focus after a distraction of any kind. It’s no wonder people feel so unproductive!
That being said, there are now many apps and browser extensions which can help you remove these distractions, track your time and focus on getting more things done.
For example, Rescue Time is an app for understanding daily habits and claiming back all those leaked minutes of productivity. AgileLog generates time-sheets, earnings and everything you need to calculate how long it takes to perform specific tasks. Evernote organizes your notes, Grammarly automates your grammar and Last Pass helps you save all those wasted minutes trying to remember your recent passwords.
Taking Back Control with Good Time Management
On the other hand, there are also useful strategies such as the Pomodoro technique which can nurture a significant increase in productivity. As a rule, this time management method breaks down work into short intervals which are usually 25-30 minutes in duration. In case you might be asking yourself, the average cognitive attention span is said to be thirty minutes which means this method can often enable one to return to the task at hand with renewed energy or interest.
Either way, it’s important to take control and track your time in order to be successful. What’s more, while notifications or technology is often blamed for hemorrhaging time and productivity, it’s important to understand that we have full responsibility and control over what we do to make the most of our time.
It’s true, good time management is an actual process and not just a phrase to get bandied around for the sake of feeling productive.