Time management methods help you work more productively – here are four ways to help you pace your work day
Have your thoughts gone astray? When your day consists of putting out fires, focussing on the task at hand won’t happen at the snap of a finger. If your to-do list is longer than your arm and you have a million thoughts running through your head, your productivity might suffer.
Even though the most urgent jobs take priority, it is also important to set aside time in the day for large projects, thinking and intense individual work. Besides time management, there are a number of tools that can help you improve your productivity.
Here we take a look at four popular tools that can help you focus and create a framework for pacing your work day.
The 10-minute rule – for when tackling large tasks is a challenge
The first rule applies especially to multi-taskers and very busy employees – and earlybirds. At the start of the work day, focus ten minutes on the task that is foremost on your mind and which needs to be started. Sometimes, these ten minutes can seem to go on forever, and sometimes they can inspire you to keep working on the task. Nevertheless, you managed to start up an important task, even on difficult mornings.
The most important part of this rule is to focus these ten minutes right at the start of the day. That means don’t look at your to-do list or open your emails yet – focus on the task you need to focus on today.
The Pomodoro Technique – when you want to work productively
The Pomodoro Technique helps you manage your time and improve your productivity. It is the right tool for you if your to-do list and priorities are already under control.
With the Pomodoro method, you immerse yourself in a chosen task for 25 minutes without interruption, and then take a 5-minute break. After four 25-minute-long pomodoros, you take a longer break, such as a coffee or lunch break.
The Pomodoro Technique requires discipline at first, as you must work without interruptions: that means closing unnecessary tabs and setting your phone to mute. You can use an alarm clock or free timers to time your work stretches and your breaks.
If you like, you can make a list of the 25-minute work stretches, named after the tasks you have performed. When you have a clear list of the work you have completed during the day in front of you, your work feels productive and motivating. The technique can be used initially for larger tasks and those requiring more intense focus.
The 1–3–5 method – support for prioritising tasks
If your to-do list is filled with small, urgent tasks, you will need to draw on prioritisation skills to take control. The 1–3–5 Rule is a versatile tool for managing the day’s tasks.
At the start of your day, choose one big and important task, three medium tasks and five small tasks for your to-do list. These tasks must be completed by the end of the work day.
If you have more than five small tasks, some must be delegated to others or postponed until later. Next, the day is scheduled such that the most productive hours are reserved for the big task. The method helps you contribute every day to one bigger project that is often more important in the long run. When you make progress in important projects, your work becomes more inspiring.
You can easily combine this tool with, e.g., the Pomodoro method: set aside four pomodoros in your day to work on your biggest task.
The Eisenhower Matrix – for throughly assessing the importance of tasks
The Eisenhower Matrix is based on prioritising tasks and assessing their importance. At the start of the day or week, all work tasks are divided into one of four quadrants:
The matrix can help, for example, if it feels like your to-do list is filled with inessential tasks or if you have a tendency to take on the tasks of others. By categorising tasks, you learn to pick out the truly important ones – and eliminate the unnecessary ones.
Once the tasks are divided up in the quadrant, it’s time to pick the ones to focus on. You should spend most of your time on tasks in the first quadrant: important and urgent tasks are usually tackled first. It is important, however, that you also set aside time in your day for tasks in quadrant 2: these are the most important tasks in the long run. No time should be spent on tasks in the last quadrant.
Once you have your concentration tools in order, you can focus on bringing calm to your external work environment
In order to improve your productivity, your work methods and work environment might both need a little sprucing up. Even if you already master efficient working methods, tasks that demand intense brainwork will be a struggle if noise and visual stimuli constantly interrupt your efforts. The work environment should thus enable uninterrupted focus. Office pods create areas in the office that support different needs and bring a peaceful work environment even to large open spaces.
Do you want to improve your work environment?
Module pods prime work communities for success. Download the presentation, which can
– help you pinpoint the challenges of your work environment
– give you tips on how to solve your space-related challenges
– increase awareness of the benefits offered by Module office pods in your work community.