5 Time-Management Techniques for Tackling Your To-Dos
- Credited to President Eisenhower and popularized in Stephen’s Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the Covey Matrix. Separate tasks into 4 quadrants: urgent and important (must be done immediately), important but not urgent (can be scheduled for later), urgent but not important (delegate), and neither urgent nor important (eliminate).
- David Allen’s GTD Method, author of Getting Things Done, focuses on getting things out of your head. Use our minds for ideas, not storage. This is a 5-step process for organizing tasks – Capture (write the task down), Clarify (note the subtasks), Organize (prioritize with dates), Reflect (keep current with regular reviews), Engage (get working and get your tasks done).
- The Pomodoro Technique, invented by Francesco Cirillo, is a great way to stay focused, but the artificial time pressures can be distracting. “Pomodoro” in Italian, means tomato, the original shape of the timer, and that’s as scientific as this gets. You set a timer (tomato shaped, or app, or phone) for 25 minutes and work on the task without interruptions. No time extensions, and you must take a 5-minute break after each 25-minute block.
- The Ivy Lee Method has been around for 100 years! Really. At the close of your day, list 5-6 most urgent, prioritized tasks to accomplish the next day. In the morning, start at the top and work through the list. Don’t begin a new task until you’ve completed the one before it. In addition to helping define vision and goals, this method aligns with the current research that our brains can truly only focus on one thing at a time.
- Now about frogs, the Eat the Frog Method, so named by Brian Tracy, is based on Twain’s idea to tackle the most challenging task first every morning. The theory is the task will probably not be as bad as you think, and once it is complete, you won’t be worrying about it all day. Since this technique doesn’t really help with productivity, this is a method easily combined with any of the others.
If you’re serious about improving your productivity and getting the most out of your time, start exploring these simple practices, keep a journal of what’s working, and practice letting go of what’s not. Have fun with this experiment. Remember, give yourself about 60 days to change a habit. Additionally, if you find yourself curious and want to try a dinner of frog legs (they really are delicious and taste just like chicken!), here’s a link to an easy recipe – Bon Appétit!
This post was written by Debbie King, CEO and Founder of Evolution Management, Inc. (EMI). To learn more about Debbie, check out our team page: https://evolutionmgt.com/our-team/.