By Kahlil Garmon - VP of Business Development, Jim Reynolds Asphalt Contractor
When I first began remote-work, I had trouble staying focused and managing my time. As we all know, time is the most important asset we all have. Making the most out of time means making the most out of work and life. After some research and personal testing; I have found the 5 easiest strategies for effective Time Management.
1. Write it Down/Break it Down
When I first began to study time management strategies among top performers, one routine was consistent among creators—consistent writing and tracking. Most creators had multiple systems of writing to optimize their time and track most of their actions. This goes from journaling and planning the day to goal setting and time blocking. This inspired me to learn more and adopt routines for myself.
My first goal was to consistently plan my days and weeks in advance. You can go old-school like Me with a pen, paper, and planner or you can use technology like the notes app, google calendar or google docs
2. Top 3 List
Once I became consistent with my writing routine I was extremely proud to have a full journal and tracker with many activities and tasks to check-off. Checking those items off helped me feel pretty busy and accomplished. Although things were getting checked off, my most important tasks were getting overlooked. I made the common mistake many people make of “staying busy” instead of staying effective. Remembering what is most important keeps you effective.
Personally, I write down my top 3 most important tasks for the day on my whiteboard and post-it notes to serve as a reminder. Effectiveness comes from finishing those top 3 tasks before anything else.
3. Time Yourself (Pomodoro+Parkinson)
Using a physical timer was the obvious time-management game changer I didn't know I needed. Your timer app should be your new best friend. Two popular strategies , Parkinson’s law and the pomodoro technique combined became powerful for my productivity and time management.
- Pick a task and the allotted time to complete. Ex : monthly planning (1hr)
- Divide time into 5 sections of 20 minutes. (20 min x 5sections)
- Set a timer for 20 minutes to work on a task with high focus.
- Take a 5 minute break to regain energy and relax. Start another 20 minutes session
- Take a 20-30 minute break after completing the 5 sessions.
*Using this technique helps me focus for long periods of time
Parkinson's law states that work expands to fill the time allotted. Simply, if I give myself an hour to clean my room, I will most likely take an hour to clean it. If I give myself 30 minutes to complete it, it will take me 30 minutes to clean. This can be a powerful tool when combined with the pomodoro technique. I use it to push myself to attempt to complete a piece of work in record time. Or simply I give myself 10 minutes to complete a small task. It works with everything.
A recent interesting tool I’ve learned is what many call the “not to-do list”. Simply listing out the things you need to stay away from before you start a project. Becoming aware of potential obstacles helps you figure out how to navigate through your work. Personally my list consists of things like social media, YouTube, and checking emails. List anything (or anyone) that might keep you from getting in the zone then remove immediately. Your productivity will skyrocket.
5. Review / Reflect / Repeat
Reviewing and reflection is important--without reviewing and monitoring your progress, how can you tell if you're growing? There is a famous quote in business that says “what gets measured gets improved”. For improvement to truly be continuous you have to continuously be deliberate about what to improve. One of my favorite thoughts is one Elon Musk said recently in an interview—“ We overestimate what we can do in a day, and underestimate what we can do in a year.” Don’t underestimate yourself this year; try these strategies, reflect then repeat. These strategies will help you to gain control of your time.
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