It’s been one week into my time management overhaul, and so far I think it’s going well.
I’ve been more focused and productive these past seven days which has resulted in an unexpected ancillary benefit: A better mood. I simply feel better when not dithering away precious hours of the day on stuff that doesn’t matter.
Readers chimed in with some awesome suggestions for how they make the most of their time that really hit home. I plan to post about the ones I am able to implement into my life but here are two I latched onto immediately:
1) Cut out random grocery store runs. I must pop in to the grocery store for random items (scallions, peanut butter, a red pepper, cheese) three to four times a week. It wasn’t until my friend Susan and my mom pointed out the errors of my ways. Drive-by grocery shopping is the biggest time suck on the planet! Well, I’ll have you know I haven’t been to the grocery store once these past seven days, trying to make due with what I have on hand and reserve one big shopping excursion for an early morning run over the weekend (beating crowds– another time saving strategy).
1) Pomodoro, Pomodoro, Pomodoro. Reader Alice suggested I check out this super easy time management technique called Pomodoro that essentially divvies up a work day into timed 25 minute blocks, called Pomodoros. How it works: You work straight for 25 minutes — no interruptions, no emails — until the timer goes off, at which point you’re allowed to take a 3 minute break. After 4 Pomodoros (almost two hours), you’re allowed to take a longer 15 to 30 minute break. On and on it goes until the task is completed and crossed off your to-do list.
The technique is a bit more involved than that (you can read more about it here) but the reason it’s effective (for me, anyway) is because it calls upon you to glance at the timer — in my case, the stop watch on my iPhone — as you work. This has made me realize just how fast 25 minutes goes — in the blink of an eye! I find myself writing feverishly to finish, which I only hope will increase my overall productivity.
The 3 minute breaks are also key. Before, I would never give myself a chance to come up for air, thinking that was “wasting time.” What I didn’t think about or respect was that the mind takes a breather regardless of whether I consciously allow it (this is where an hour perusing gossip blogs comes in). With this new technique, I’m able to stay focused and refreshed with frequent and defined mental breaks.
Lastly, Pomodoro involves data entry, which, for someone like me who is kinda obsessed with making lists and “tracking performance,” is highly satisfying in a total dorky, nerd-fest kind of way.
So those are the two time management strategies I’ve been digging these past seven days. Thank you again for the fabulous suggestions.