Time is said to be the most valuable resource we have. Whether or not that’s true, we’ll leave up to you, but one thing stands true no matter how you look at it: it is a finite resource. With deadlines breathing down your neck and new tasks piling up, getting a grip on your time management is crucial. Not only for staying productive, but for your overall mental health. In this article, we’ll give you a couple of practical tips that will save you precious time and boost your productivity (and mental health).
How to stay productive
Practice the Pomodoro technique
The Pomodoro technique was invented by an Italian productivity expert/ coach called Francesco Cirillo and it goes like this:
- Choose the task you want to work on.
- Work on it for 25 minutes straight.
- Take a 5-minute break.
- Continue to work for 25 minutes.
- Repeat this cycle until you have completed it 4 times (1 hour 15 minutes). At this point, you can take a longer break (anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes).
- Repeat until you finish your task.
Fun fact: Pomodoro means ‘tomato’ in Italian. When first practicing his technique, Francesco used a kitchen timer in the form of a tomato in order to time his intervals.
It’s incredibly easy to get distracted nowadays. And that was the case, even before Covid locked us all in our home offices. Mobile phones, social media, meeting calls, and even our loved ones can all pluck us away from getting any meaningful work done. Here are a few quick tips:
Set your phone to greyscale. Phones are super addicting and that’s no coincidence. They are built to keep you looking at them. One quick change that will help you stay away, is setting it to greyscale. Super weird, but that one change does wonders.
If you have an iPhone, simply go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Color Filters. Done.
If you use Android, go to Settings > Digital Wellbeing & Parental Control > Wind Down. Or alternatively, drop down your notification menu and press Greyscale.
Declutter your workspace. If it’s simple tricks you’re looking for, cleaning up your workplace should be one of them. A messy room and desk can slow down your productivity by a lot. You’d be surprised how much of a difference you can make in less than 5 minutes! ?
How to stay ahead of your work
Set up to-do lists
Time management is key. At the end of each day, set up a list of tasks that you’d like to finish by the end of the next. Doing so will help you stay accountable to yourself, and give you a useful overview/ reminder of all the work that’s ahead.
The same thing can be done at the end of the week. Use this list as a guideline to determine your to-do lists at the end of the day.
Start critical tasks early
Not only will this ensure you finish hard work early, but it will also put you at ease throughout the rest of the day. If you combine this hard-first-easy-later philosophy with the Pomodoro technique, you’ll be sure to breeze through your workday.
Practice Artful Participation
The term Artful Participation refers to your use in meetings. Is your attendance helpful or insightful? If not, it might be better to skip the meeting altogether. Not all meetings require your presence. Selecting which ones to attend and which ones to skip, however, can be a difficult task. Be mindful of the value you bring in this particular meeting versus the value of the time you spend attending. Read more on Artful Participation here.
How to manage your tasks
Use a task management tool
As your to-do list grows, things can swiftly get out of hand. Consider getting a task management tool to save yourself the headache of always needing to know everything about every possible task that needs doing.
Tools that can be shared with team members are even better, in that you also get an overview of which tasks colleagues are working on. This enables much smoother collaborations.
At zapfloor we use Trello. We love it, because of how nicely it provides an overview of both snapshot information as more in-depth details on individual tasks.
Delegate tasks when needed
Look, you are only one person. At times it is all-too-tempting to do everything yourself: from complicated specialized projects to tiny simple tasks. However, we speak from experience that it’s simply not feasible to handle your time management in such a way. You’ll get overburdened, overstressed, and the quality of your work will drop.
When using a tool such as Trello, you can simply assign a task to colleagues and they will get a notification. Click, boom, voila! Easy.
How to further improve time management
Use the right tools
We live in a time where new tools and technologies are popping up each and every day, and where existing tools are improving constantly. While daunting at first, it really pays to keep up. These tools are designed to make your life easier.
At zapfloor, we have tried and tested some of the most popular tools out there. In fact, we even wrote an eBook on what we think are the 11 most useful tools for Office Managers. Want to check it out? Great! We are giving it away, completely free!
Get your copy here.