Managing Time Effectively

Something that we are all guilty of, is putting off a friend/family event because we are too busy. Time is constant, and there is always enough time to do what we want. For me, no time is no excuse. As part of my training allowance at work, I was sent to undertake a project management and time management course. So here is a short summary of key takeaways on how to manage time effectively.

It’s always important to have a goal. It can be anything, from learning a new skill, losing weight, pursue a side project, spending more time with family, travel etc. As long as this is SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Trackable), then you’re own your way to success. Write it down, and start doing it!

Eg: I will wake up at 6am every morning to run for an hour starting this coming Monday. I will do this by sleeping an hour earlier by cutting down on my social media and Netflix time at night.

We don’t like to admit it, but money is another great source of motivation. If you would like to lose weight, sign up for a half marathon or marathon. Once you commit to it by paying, you’ll more likely to train consistently. Want to learn a new technical skill? Pay for a verified certificate on and start learning. It’s a proven motivator. This is the beauty of the sunk cost fallacy.

What are some good habits and bad habits you have? Write this down and see if you can remove these bad habits over the year. 

Good HabitsBad Habits
Reading whilst commute everydayToo much social media before bed
Exercise daily during lunchLazy to wake up early to run
Self study at nightYouTube/Netflix etc
Blogging, self reflection.Lack of saying no

Realising I was distracted every time I get a notification from Facebook, I decided to turn push notification off. This has saved me tons of time and allow me to control when I read my message daily. I have also now limit my social media time (feature on iPhone) to an hour a day. It has increased my productivity by ten fold when studying and working.

Time Management Matrix

Urgency & Important Tasks.

 Urgentnot urgent
  • deadline projects (work, uni)
  • client meetings
  • family emergency
  • exercise
  • reading
  • personal projects
  • sleep
  • family/friends
Not Important
  • internal meetings
  • emails
  • interruptions and disruptions
  • false alarms
  • social media
  • youtube
  • snacking

What does your’s look like? Most people put off the top right quadrant because it’s not an urgent task, albeit important. Cut some time in the bottom right quadrant and spend more time in top right quadrant, before it becomes an urgent task. (health implications due to lack of exercise, burnout due to lack of sleep, not spending quality time with family and friends until it could be too late)

Tips for productivity

  1. Don’t multitask. 
  2. Create deadlines
  3. Create to do list per day (or per week) the night or week before.
  4. Zeigarnik effect – Start on something. It will make you want to finish it. Whether it’s a personal project or book.
  5. Asking for help – If you’re overloaded on tasks, ask for help. 
  6. Block out chunks to do tasks. Limit switching between tasks.
  7. Turn off push notifications on phones.

And finally, here is my typical weekly calendar:

Some good tools to manage time and your projects include Google Calendar, Trello, Evernote etc.

And that’s it for now, good luck!

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