How organized are you? Do you ever get really caught up in something you enjoy, only to end up postponing what you should really have been working on until the last minute? What about time management — did you ever get mixed up and missed an important deadline, just because you ended up spending all of your resources on another task, thinking you would make it on time?
Don’t despair if you find yourself lacking in organizational skills! There are many helpful tips and techniques that can help you get a firm grip on your schedule, which will also create incentives for you to eliminate the word ‘procrastination’ from your vocabulary, so that you can maximize your productivity.
One of the most effective and simple ways of managing your time is The Pomodoro Technique, named after the tomato-shaped kitchen tool we all know and love. It involves setting the timer to 25 minutes in order to compartmentalise your time, making it easier for you to allocate the correct amount of effort and time ‘units’ to each of your tasks. This method gives you extra incentive to protect your working time from any and all interruptions, while it allows for some minutes dedicated to recapping, working and reviewing your tasks, and it helps you set your timetable according to your to-dos or to your schedule.
Other successful productivity methods include the GTD (Getting Things Done), which involves setting up a schedule with tasks according to their length and priority, finishing up smaller tasks first, and then concentrating on breaking up huge tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces, and also the ‘Don’t Break the Chain’ method, which urges people to start working on something at the same time everyday, and taking note of how many consecutive productive days they managed to have. This combo, when written down, will make you want to ‘keep the chain going’, making it harder for you to slip.
We have compiled a list of useful time management life hacks that you can try and see whether they work for you and your workdays:
- Take half an hour first thing in the morning to plan out your schedule and assign time to your tasks. Make sure you leave a few minutes free to manage interruptions and other unforeseen circumstances. Block your time, assigning it to meetings, work and phone calls, or whatever you need to do in a day. Treat these time windows as set-in-stone appointments with your work.
- Do try to tackle your most important tasks first, followed by your other projects, from shorter to longer. You can try breaking down huge tasks to make them more manageable.
- Focus on the task at hand, and learn to say no to outside interruptions if they are avoidable or if they can be postponed. Don’t be embarrassed to use a ‘do not disturb’ sign if you absolutely have to. For internal interruptions, take note of each idea and thought on a notebook, and then forget about them until your task is finished. If you don’t have to, don’t take any calls during this time, and don’t check your email if it can wait.
- Take some time before every task and project to visualize what you are trying to accomplish. This way you will be more centered and you will be able to see what you need to do in order to complete it successfully. If you fail, you can take some time afterwards to think about what went wrong, so that you can try and fix it next time.
- Make a habit out of the tasks you are required to fulfill daily.
- Take breaks between tasks, especially after large blocks of time. For example, take a 15 minute break after working non-stop for 2 hours on a specific project, so that you can clear your mind, check your notes for any thoughts or ideas that might have popped up, check your email for anything important, and then prepare yourself to focus on your next task.
- Keep your attention away from the tv, from social media and even games. If you manage your time well, there will be plenty of time for that later!
If you are the type of person who likes to make the most out of modern technology, we recommend using a note-taking app, such as Google’s excellent Keep, which allows you to create (and share with others, if needed) colorful post-it-style notes on your device, which can contain checklists, sound files, recordings, photos and handwritten messages that can help you remember important things. Each note can also have its own alarm sound, set to the right time!
By Danica Ratte
Danica Ratte, Wild Tussah’s Founder, is a travel addict who came across endangered ethnic weaving communities in Vietnam during a 5-week trip through South East Asia. She was blown away by local ethnic weavers’ skills and their excitement to teach others about their craft. After she found out that these techniques were on the verge of going extinct, Danica decided she had to move to Vietnam and work with the artisans directly to help preserve their traditions. Now she designs handbags sustainably, provides these weaves to other designers and asks this question every day: “Do you know where your bags come from?” Culture preservation and sharing artisan’s stories is at the forefront of Wild Tussah’s mission. To learn more about these beautiful handicrafts, go to wildtussah.com