It’s easy to let technology hinder your time management with so many distractions at your fingertips. But if you want to make time management and productivity a priority, technology can be a major help as well. From wireless solutions to cutting edge apps and good old fashioned (or new fashioned) calendars, there are myriad ways to make sure you’re managing you time better.
Do a Productivity Assessment
To get a handle on time management, it’s a good idea to start with an assessment of how you actually spend your days. Time tracking applications like RescueTime will run in the background of your computer or browser to track how much time you spend on different sites and with different programs, allowing you to see just how many minutes (or hours!) you spend each day on social media, email, or other sites that may not be helping you with productivity. Time tracking apps like Toggl may also be helpful, though they require you to start and stop a timer to determine where your time is being spent.
Once you have figured out where your time is going, consider using an application to layout how you would ideally be spending your hours at work. Time blocking can be a particularly effective way to do this with one blogger estimating it leads to 50% more productivity each week, turning a 40 hour workweek into 60 hours without spending any extra time. The process involves spending a bit of time at the end of each day to plan out the next work day, thereby dividing your day into blocks of productivity. You can do this simply, and offline, using a paper calendar or just a notebook. But for something a bit more technologically advanced, consider using a calendar app, whether it’s your Outlook calendar, Google calendar, or an app like Sunrise. Scheduling out your daily tasks as if they were each a meeting makes it easier to stay on task on more difficult to procrastinate.
It probably goes without saying that being organized goes hand in hand with time management, but it’s also important to not spend so much time making to do lists that you actually damage your productivity. Instead, set aside a small amount of time at the beginning of each day to identify 3 key tasks that you must complete before the end of the day. By narrowing things down significantly, you can need every day feeling accomplished and motivated. To Do apps like Remember the Milk and notebook apps like Evernote can be helpful in this pursuit, keeping tasks in one spot for easy review.
You can’t make more time in the day but you can improve your focus during the hours you do have. Time management techniques like Pomodoro allow you to work for a set period (generally 25 to 30 minutes) and then rest for a shorter period (5 to 15 minutes). This method can actually help you to be more creative and more productive throughout the day. Use pomodoro tracking apps like Pomotodo to keep track of your time and watch your productivity increase.
Change of Scenery
Need a creativity boost and a bit more focus? Consider taking a walk or sitting outside near your office. Being outdoors has been shown to encourage sharper thinking and spikes in creativity. Plus, with the right wireless solutions, working outside can be just as easy as working at your desk. Work on your mobile phone or bring a laptop and connect to your office wireless network for portability and productivity.
In the end, managing your time so that you can be more productive is not just about getting more work done. When you manage your work schedule effectively, it means you have more time to spend outside of work not thinking about what’s coming up at the office. Good time management skills can actually lead to a happier life. When you let technology help you along the way, it’s that much easier.