Have you ever had a feeling you don’t have time for anything else? Or do you need to learn more about time management in order to be able to handle everything you have to do?
Millions of people around the world feel, like you, that life is moving so fast that all we feel is stress, frustration and tiredness.
At the same time, these same people somehow find time to interact in Whatsapp groups, catch up on football / soap operas / series, and stay on top of what news portals and social networks are posting.
What if there is a better way to manage our time and attention?
What if you could set up an environment where you could do your tasks productively, orderly, and without that sense of lack of time?
To achieve this, a good first step is to learn how to manage your own time. For this, we will see in this article in detail:
- Why managing your time is increasingly important
- What is (and isn’t) personal time management
- The Three Simple Steps to Better Manage Your Time
- Managing Your Time: 9 Life-Making Techniques and Applications
Even if you “don’t have time for anything else,” take a few minutes to read this post carefully until the end.
You will get out of it much better than you did.
Why time management is increasingly important
If you were lucky enough to be born before the internet boom , you should have some recollection of what life was like before we were always connected.
Things seemed to move at a slower speed.
Every thing came in its own time, and although problems such as anxiety and stress existed, they seemed to affect far fewer people.
Nowadays, driven by the internet trio, social networks and smartphones, our craze for greatness makes us want to embrace everything at the same time .
We want to see all the shows, follow the channels on YouTube, read everything in the book, hear all the news, follow webcelebrities and still be successful professionals.
Even if this is not humanly possible, we keep trying.
Without any strategy, we try to reach the stars and end up with our face down.
The day goes on with just 24 hours and we keep getting frustrated more and more. We are increasingly busy and producing less and less.
Only it doesn’t have to be that way. And the best way to break this vicious cycle is to learn about time management.
What is time management
Time management is the process of planning and executing conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency and productivity .
In this definition, the most important word is conscious .
As we will see below, time management is closely tied to managing your own attention.
And knowing how to direct your attention is one of the biggest productivity (and even happiness) secrets a human being can learn.
This is much more effective than simply wanting to add working hours to your day to try to handle everything.
That is why the first basic rule of time management is to have greater self-awareness.
Only you can tell where your time is going. And only you can try to understand why you decide to use your time the way you are using it.
So let’s look at the 3 steps you need to take to start managing your time better today.
3 Simple Steps to Better Manage Your Time
Step 1: Analyze Your Current Situation
The first step is for you to analyze your current situation.
Start with the big blocks of time:
- How much time do you spend at work?
- How long do you stay asleep?
- How much time do you spend commuting between home and work?
For most people, these are the three big blocks of time. If you have others (such as college or another course, for example), write it down as well.
Almost all of us have a good sense of the big blocks. The problem is small time wastes:
- How many hours a day do you spend on social networks (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter etc.)?
- How long per day do you spend reading and interacting on Whatsapp?
- How often do you check out your favorite news site or blog?
- How much time do you spend answering emails?
- How much time do you waste watching television including streaming services like Netflix?
- How much time do you spend with your family?
- How long does it take doing…?
There are ways for you to track exactly how much time you spend on each activity of your life.
For other tasks, such as housekeeping or time in front of the TV, you would either have to clock on the clock and record in a spreadsheet or use time trackings like Toggl .
Step 2: Determine the Desired Situation
Now that you know where you are, determine where you want to go.
How many hours do you want to spend on more productive activities? How many hours do you want to cut down on purely distracting activities such as social networking and the like?
This step is of utmost importance.
A lot of people say they want to be a more productive person, but the truth is that deep down we almost always want more relaxing and recreational activities.
It is not for another reason that we spend so much time in this kind of activity, procrastinating to get into the tasks that really matter.
Here once again self-knowledge is of utmost importance. List honestly how much time you want to spend on important activities.
Start with your value scale. If you prioritize your family, determine how much time you want to spend with your family members first.
If your focus is on work, say how much time you would like to spend working effectively.
Do not completely eliminate your distractions. Distracting activities are also required.
Set aside time for your leisure. No one is a productivity machine.
Step 3: Plan the Transition
Remember when you first did an activity?
The first time you swam. The first time you drove a car. The first time you touched an app.
At first all these activities seemed difficult. Over time, however, your brain adapts to them and each time they become easier.
Likewise, it is not overnight that you will learn to be a master of time management.
What you have to do in this last step is to plan a gradual transition to become a less distracted person and become one with more focus , concentration and productivity.
To this end, we will suggest 9 techniques and applications for you to build the perfect environment for your time management.
9 time management techniques and applications
1. The Golden Circle
Have you ever wondered why you want to become a more productive person?
Why the hell do you want to have less distracting activities and take on more challenging tasks?
Most of us go straight to what .
For some reason, we tell ourselves that we want to be better professionals. We want to read more books. Or do more exercises. Or create a work side project.
Few wonder why.
Why do we want to do all this?
When your motivation becomes clear, everything else seems to fit together much easier.
In the video above, Simon Sinek, author of the book Why? How great leaders inspire action explains what he calls the Golden Circle.
In this circle, you should always start outlining your goals for why. Then you go to what, and finally look at how .
2. Time Tracking
The most basic time management technique is time tracking . Simply put, this technique consists of:
- Time how much time you spend doing each task
- Analyze consolidated data to find improvement points
In the past, this was done with a clock and a spreadsheet. There are currently features that make the process easier. Let’s look at some of them.
We speak of the Rescue Time above.
This is a little program that, installed on your Android computer or smartphone, automatically tracks how much time you spend on each program, application, or web page.
It can also be installed as an extension on Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browsers.
Over time, Rescue Time generates graphical reports showing which sites, programs, and applications you spend the most time with.
In the paid version, you can block the sites that take your time.
Unfortunately, Rescue Time does not work on iPhone. Apple has certain restrictions on its smartphone that prevent the application from working.
To get around this, there is Moment . This app tracks how much time you use your iPhone a day and, with a little extra effort, also how much time you spend on each app.
Gyroscope is a data aggregator. It takes data from other applications to organize and display it beautifully and easily understood.
The data you collect in Rescue Time, for example, is presented in graphic format in Gyroscope.
It does the same with how much time you spend sleeping, meditating, exercising etc.
There are dozens of time trackers available on the market. We would like to recommend what seems to be the simplest of them, the Toggl .
Toggl has several extensions and integrations that allow you to have a simple button to track time on your computer, browser, smartphone and certain applications.
For example, if you use task management applications like Todoist or Trello, you can integrate them with Toggl to see how much time you spend doing each task.
The paid version also allows you to automatically track what happens on your day depending on your location.
This feature, called Superday , uses your smartphone’s GPS to check where you are.
For example, if you are at the gym it records as time doing physical activity. If it is in the office, it records as time working. If it’s in the car or the bus, it counts as commuting time.
Limitless is an extension for Google Chrome that can be used as an alternative to RescueTime.
What it does is track how much time you spend using your browser and, within that period, how much time you spend on each type of site.
In addition, Limitless serves as a home page, telling you how your time management is doing and providing some useful information.
The disadvantage is that it does not track the time you spend using programs or applications outside the browser.
Therefore, Rescue Time is still a superior option.
Timebox is probably the most effective time management technique ever invented. And the main reason for its effectiveness is its own simplicity.
A timebox is nothing more than a small block of time that you set aside to focus fully on one task.
For example, let’s say you need to write an article. All you have to do is, say, set aside a 30-minute block of time.
In those 30 minutes, you make a deal with yourself that you will be solely and exclusively dedicated to writing your article.
You sit at the computer, turn on a countdown timer on your mobile phone and simply type.
At the end of 30 minutes, the timer will ring. And you rest.
The task is over, great. Otherwise, get some rest and then assign another timebox to get on with the task.
The secret of timeboxing is in concentration during execution.
Therefore, the ideal is to turn off any form of distraction.
Leave the phone in silent and face down. Close any programs that send notifications. Turn off the internet if possible.
If something comes to mind while performing the task, write it down quickly and focus on the task .
At first it is difficult, but over time you will be on it.
The Pomodoro Technique
One form of timebox that has become very popular on the internet is Pomodoro Technique .
According to this technique, your timeboxes should be 25 minutes. This would be an ideal time to do a task with maximum focus.
Between each 25-minute block (or a pomodoro), you take a short 5-minute rest. And at the end of a four-pomodor cycle, you get a longer rest.
The video above clearly explains how it works.