Now that we’ve all jotted down our intentions, resolutions and aspirations for the new year, there’s only one thing left to do – to get them checked off our list!
We know all of you boss babes out there are ready to start the year off on the right foot and get those goals completed. But, we also know getting anything done can feel pretty overwhelming when our to-do lists are filled to the brim and the clock is simply ticking away. Which is exactly why we lined up some of the best ways for you to schedule your time in order to increase productivity and accomplish everything you need to get done each day this year.
Ready to make 2021 your most prolific and successful year yet? Try out these three top time management techniques next time it feels like there’s too little time and way too much to do.
The Pomodoro Technique
You know the feeling all too well. You’re finally in the zone and making major progress on your project, when all of a sudden a distraction pops up. Maybe you got a hilarious snapchat from your best friend, or you started wondering about what you’re going to cook for dinner this evening. Whatever it may be, if you frequently find yourself struggling to stay focused, then you might want to try the Pomodoro Technique to help you get back on track!
Here’s how it works. Start by choosing a task you want to complete and then set a timer for a block of 25 minutes, aka a “pomodoro”. Intensely focus on that task, and only that task, for the entire 25 minutes. When the timer goes off, reward yourself with a well earned five minute break. After you complete four pomodoros, take a longer break of about fifteen to twenty minutes. Sounds pretty easy, right?
While it might seem like there’s simply not enough time in the day to take a break, giving your mind the chance to rest will actually improve your productivity when the time comes to focus again. The Pomodoro Technique also allows you to break down your day into manageable chunks, while creating a bit of wiggle room for you to take a break and succumb to the distractions every so often. So when your timer goes off, take a moment to grab a snack, to get up and stretch your legs, or even just to take a breather. You deserve it!
Eating The Frog
Okay, we know that this technique can sound a little bit daunting and well… pretty unappetizing at first, but trust us on this one. While we’d prefer to begin our day by indulging in a delicious breakfast and a cup of hot coffee, starting it out by eating the frog can actually go a long way when it comes to managing our time more efficiently.
This technique was created by Brian Tracy, a motivational speaker and self-development author. He coined the phrase “eating the frog” after being inspired by this quote from Mark Twain: “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
What Twain and Tracy essentially meant by this was that you should tackle the most dreaded task on your to-do list first. Whether it’s the overflowing inbox of emails that you’ve been hesitating to respond to, or the prep you need to do for the presentation that you’re nervously anticipating – you want to start your day by getting it out of the way.
If you’re someone who tends to procrastinate and leave your most harrowing and time-consuming task until the very last minute, then this tactic was practically made for you. Not only does it give you a sense of accomplishment right off the bat, but it also builds momentum and motivates you to continue plugging through the rest of the tasks on your to-do list. Plus, you’ve already completed the one task you weren’t looking forward to, so the workday can only go up from there! Trust us when we say that every other task you need to complete will feel so simple in comparison. Hey, maybe eating a frog doesn’t sound so bad after all!
Getting Things Done (GTD)
When we saw that the tagline for this technique was “the art of stress-free productivity”, our first thought was “sign us up!” A method that allows us to accomplish more, be more creative, and make our tasks more manageable, all while keeping us more relaxed at work sounds like a literal dream. So without further ado, here’s how to get things done with the GTD Method!
At the start of each work day, follow these five steps:
- Capture – Clear your mind by jotting down everything that will require your attention during the workday. This can include anything from the bill you need to pay, to the email you need to send. Include every task you need to accomplish, no matter how big or small.
- Process – Once you’ve written out all of your tasks, analyze them to decide whether or not they’re urgent. If a task doesn’t need to be completed right away, set it aside for right now. If it’s actionable and pressing, decide whether you’ll get it done today or if it can wait for another day during the workweek.
- Organize – When you’ve got your list of actions that need to be taken today, prioritize them based on what you need to get done first. You can choose to knock out the task you want to do least, like we did in the Eat The Frog method, or you can do the easiest tasks first. It’s all up to you!
- Reflect – Review your list of actions frequently throughout the workday. Cross off the tasks you’ve accomplished, remove anything that’s no longer pressing, and use it to determine what task to do next.
- Engage – Get to work! It’s time to start completing the tasks on your list. You’ve got this, babe!
By breaking down your work in this way, you’ll be able to focus on the task at hand, rather than allowing yourself to get worried or overwhelmed about the tedious job you have ahead of you. When you take things one step at a time, you’ll be surprised at how much stress you’ll avoid and how much of your to-do list you’ll have crossed off by the end of the workday.
Which time-management techniques work best for you? Share your tips and tricks below!
xo, The Pretty Little Hangers Team