Organize Your Day With These Time Savers

A recent post on Time Management, To-Do Lists, and the 3 + 2 Rule resonated broadly, suggesting that many of us continue to struggle with how to manage the 50, 60, 70 (and more) hours of work we face every week.

Summarizing the 3 + 2 Rule:

Identify only 3 big things and 2 small things to do in a day. Write down the 3 main activities you need to accomplish, each taking 2 to 3 hours, and 2 minor ones that take around 20 minutes each.

In addition to prioritizing your challenging list of tasks to a core five, or for those long days when deadline looming tasks demand a longer To-Do list, here are a few additional time savers to employ:

1. Plan your work-day in advance – I try to make a list of my core five tasks to complete (3 + 2) the night before. This serves as my own morning roll-call and makes a significant difference in a productive start to the day.

2. Schedule time to check email – Turn off email push notifications and check it only two or three times a day. Answer your emails and organize your inbox and folders during these times and log out when you’re done.

3. Don’t multi-task – Switching tasks slows you down. It takes time to get back to the productive zone you were in prior to switching. Complete the task at hand before moving on to the next. However, multi-tasking is sometimes unavoidable. Identify those tasks and use a block of time – perhaps one or two of the 20-30 minute intervals for knocking out these tasks. Or catch them on a break between scheduled tasks. Managing multiple social media platforms throughout the day is an example of this.

4. Focus – We’re huge advocates of the Pomodoro Technique. Remove distractions and focus in on each task for a set number of minutes. The technique suggest 25 minute increments, but I moderate that to fit my needs, from as little as 25-30 minutes to as much as two hours, but rarely more.

5. Take breaks – Breaking up your day into quantifiable tasks is important. Taking breaks between tasks is just as important. Without breaks, laser focus is almost impossible, creativity and concentration suffers and tasks take longer to complete.

Other time sharing tips? Please share in the comments below.

(image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattwestoby/2813988908)

4 Responses to “Organize Your Day With These Time Savers”

  1. Pam Makowski

    Great ideas! Now to try to put them into practice!

    Reply
    • tim

      That’s always the challenge Pam. Lots of good ideas out there, and they’re definitely not one-size-fits-all. Due to my daily responsibilities, “single-tasking” is a unique challenge for me. Good luck with implementing some of these ideas!

      Reply
  2. Pam Makowski

    One other comment: Schedule the time on your calendar. I find that if I can plan what days I am going to do what tasks, and then I schedule them, it keeps me from “overbooking” myself. Of course, there is a tendency to put these things aside when you need to make a “real” appointment, but that should be resisted. All of the work is real. Also, I do think you should actually schedule your regular tasks, like checking email, until you get into a good habit. I really hate it when I decide I am bored, so I check my email, only to find out that something BIG has come up. It could have waited, but there I am dealing with it on its schedule, not mine.

    Thanks for all of the helpful ideas, Tim.

    Reply
    • tim

      Good point, Pam. Identifying priorities is one thing, scheduling specific times to complete those tasks is key. I’m working on that :-)

      Reply

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