Time Management Tools for Success 2020
The first step to taking control of your life is by taking charge of how you spend your time. How often do you know exactly how you will be spending every hour you have in a day? As entrepreneurs we are faced with the overwhelming challenge of representing every department in our new business, we are the legal team, marketing, RnD, HR – and yet we only have so much time.
This is a step by step actionable list of free tricks and tools to help you take control of your time to design and therefore realize the life you want and deserve.
1. Smarter Time (App)
Do you actually know exactly how you spend your time? Are you always ‘busy’ yet never seem to get anything important done? This is because you are living a life of reaction instead of an intentional one. Smarter Time is a free app that syncs to your devices and automatically keeps track of how you spend every minute of your day.
The app allows you to better understand and manage your time as you get to see an automatically built timeline of your life. What’s more, what the app doesn’t guess, it learns from you, just correct your timeline where necessary (without cheating of course).
By seeing how many hours you spend on social media, doing chores, commuting, talking on the phone or working on your computer, you start to analyze the best way to control your time and begin to design the life you want.
2. Time Batching
Now that you have assessed how you spend your time, it’s time to take charge of your days. Time batching is the process of scheduling similar tasks to be done around the same time. It maximizes productivity and creativity and helps you focus on identical tasks instead of doing a hundred different things and getting none of them done well. This is because it reduces the mental energy you use to switch between tasks. Multi-tasking is a myth we should leave in 2018.
The first step is to create a list of all your tasks, errands, and events.
Second, group similar tasks together using different categories like, type of tasks, location, or function. For example, any out of the office/house tasks, group them together. If you need to pick something up, this would be the day to do it. Batch all calls, emails, and any interactions you need to have together. Group creative tasks like working on a project, brainstorming or research together, keeping in mind a time of day when you usually feel creative like in the morning.
The next step is to schedule your categories into time slots accordingly, which leads us to Calendar Blocking.
3. Calendar Blocking
This is the process of assigning the categories you created into slots on your calendar. Say you have a meeting scheduled for next Friday, you can schedule all your outdoor tasks for that day. It should look something like this:
Use different colors for different categories/days and make sure to create a category for free time to take care of yourself. You can also create different calendars for different tasks. The Google calendar is a great and free option for calendar blocking.
4. Recurring Task Reminder (Pomodoro Technique)
After having a clear schedule, you will need to take action. The Pomodoro Technique is a popular time management tool that drastically reduces procrastination. Created by the Italian, Francesco Cirillo, it breaks tasks down into smaller work intervals followed by a rewarding break. Using a timer, break down your tasks into 25-minute sessions, called Pomodoro, with a five-minute break after each session. After four Pomodoros, take a longer break of 15-30 minutes, reset, and start again.
This is a very effective technique, especially for those who procrastinate (or feel lazy), as it breaks down seemingly large tasks into achievable goals. The Recurring Task Reminder is a free app that allows you to schedule these time periods and automatically resets after every session.
5. Time Boxing
This is a common technique used in project management. Time-boxing is simply setting an amount of time to work on a specific task. Instead of working on a task until it is done, you commit to working for a set amount of time and move on. This technique is good for perfectionists and rescheduling small tasks that seem tedious.
Tasks that are easy to do are easy to not do. Therefore, setting a time limit on those pesky little tasks is a good way to complete your to-do list. If the time runs out and you feel you have the momentum to keep on going, feel free to extend the set time to accommodate for completing your task.
6. Any.do/Google Keep
Hopefully, you have heard of this free app. Any.do helps you stay organized by adding all your lists, tasks and reminders easily to the app. It is very simple to use, with a daily ‘game’ you play at a scheduled time to go through your tasks by order of priority. It also syncs with your calendar, making it easier to organize your tasks and thoughts.
Coming in close competition to Any.do, Google Keep is an all in one Brain Dump and organizational tool. Store your checklists, written/voice/photo notes, links, screenshots, and watch them sync seamlessly with your calendar and other devices.
The beauty of this app is its ability to display all your notes in an easy-to-view menu, and the simplicity of categorizing your mental notes on the go. It also goes hand-in-hand with Google Calendar and Google tasks allowing for easy manipulation of your to-do lists and notes.
7. The Paperclip Strategy
Trent Dyrsmid, a broker who needed to prove himself at work, decided to fill one jar with paperclips every morning and have another empty jar right next to it. Every time he made a sales call he would take one paperclip and put it in the empty jar. He did this until the jar was eventually empty every day. He went on to become one of the most successful employees at his bank.
This technique is so simple and you can customize it to your liking, use marbles, candy or anything you prefer and try it out. The visual of the progress you have made will motivate you to continue and start again every morning as you achieve your goals.
8. The Seinfeld Strategy
The popular and talented millionaire, Jerry Seinfeld, was asked how he managed to build such a successful brand in comedy and he had a very simple answer: Have a full calendar on a wall that shows the whole year. Every day, write down a piece of content and when you do, use a thick red marker to cross out that date on the calendar with a big ‘X’. You will create a chain and the goal is not to break it.
This is similar to the paperclip strategy in that you get to see the visual progress you are making. It is important to give yourself a pat on the back to inspire you to work on your goals the next time you feel like the procrastination monster is a mental roommate with your will to take action.
9. Online Mentors
The best (and fastest) way to build a successful business or livelihood is to follow the steps of someone who has already built the life that you want. Find a mentor you admire and follow the exact steps they took to get there and you are sure to be on your way to success.
The problem is that sometimes, we cannot reach the pillars of success we dream of interacting with. The solution? Following them online. The digital age has given us the opportunity to meet and ‘stalk’ mentors from anywhere in the world. Gurus like Amy Landino, Gary Vaynerchuk, Richard Branson, and even the late Jim Rohn who was the embodiment of time management and productivity will change your life.
Follow your mentors online and make sure you take action. Do not just click ‘like’ on their pictures on social media. Take notes whenever you watch their videos and implement those tips into your life.
10. Miracle Mornings
We’ve heard it many times before, waking up early plays a key role in the journey to success. By controlling your mornings, you give yourself the opportunity to control your day. The Miracle Morning, by Hal Elrod, is a great book that provides a detailed process to having the most successful mornings, especially for business-minded individuals. The book is free as an app on Android and will change the way you view your time and productivity levels. Transform your life today by taking charge of your mornings.
11. Audit, audit, audit!
You can only get better by analyzing your methods, seeing what works and does not work, and then refine your process. Audit how you spent your time, what goals you achieved, and the setbacks you had every single month. This will allow you to get better and better. “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” The most satisfying feeling you will get is when you assess how you spent your time and you feel fulfilled by the steps you took towards achieving your goals.
If you want to achieve your goals, you have to take action, implement these actionable time management tips, and see your life soar into the realm of success in every area of your life.
“Never let your customers know more about your competition than they know of you.”
This is a Guest Post by Diana Wangeci. Diana Wangeci is a professional B2B and B2C content marketing writer. She is passionate about building brands through developing proven marketing strategies. These strategies are tailored to individuals and companies for higher ROI and reach. Diana focuses on quality over quantity to deliver real value to target audiences for her clients. She writes about productivity and self-development whenever she gets a chance 🙂
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