People often believe that strong will and good intentions will drive them through their to-do lists. Instead, what turns intention into action are a combination of effective planning and follow-through.
Once you have a handle on how to prioritize all the stuff you need to do, you’ll want to employ some tried-and-true time managment tools. Ahh, the little project manager that lives in my heart is so happy to have systems and tools! But to choose the best one for you, you need to decide if you’re a maker or a manager.
Here’s a concept that was a game-changer for me, and it might help shed some light on why the aforementioned scenario keeps happening: makers vs managers.
This line of thought was first popularized by another famous software engineer turned tech blogger, Paul Graham. He realized that most job titles can be broken down into 2 categories: makers or managers.
Managers facilitate work. They are the delegators, the project managers, the team leads. They sit in meetings all day, making decisions that help move work along, and their schedules have each day cut into one-hour intervals.
When you use time that way, finding time to meet with someone is no problem: just locate the next open slot in your schedule, book them, and you’re done.
Makers, on the other hand, sit quietly for long, uninterrupted periods of time and get stuff done. They generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least. They can’t create anything an hour. That’s barely enough time to get started.
When you’re operating on the maker’s schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in.
Which one are you? Figuring this out should help inform how to best fix the gaps in your time management strategy.
If you’re a maker sitting in meetings or running to appointments all day, you’re not able to be effective. And if you’re a manager, you are going to benefit from a lot more detail in the structure of your schedule.
Multi-tasking can seem necessary at times, and you might even be praised by your boss for doing it at work.
However, doing more than one task at a time, especially if they are complex tasks, actually tanks your productivity and your results. Not only does multitasking take more time in the end and involve more errors, it also leads to more stress.
Interruptions are the bane of productivity and effective time management. Interruptions, most notably emails and text messages, happen so often and blend in so seamlessly with our work that it is often hard to notice them at all.
Distractions are multi-tasking in disguise and to successfully monotask, you need to eliminate these distractions.
Relegating email and social media to the preset time slots may take some trial and error – and please allow yourself room to learn this new skill. With a little practice, you can overcome the top blockers on your path to boosting your productivity by utilizing one or a combination of the following frameworks.
Mornings are hectic and it’s easy to forget what you should be doing if you don’t have a plan in place. For this reason, spend some time each evening going over what you accomplished that day, revising future tasks on the schedule, and then fleshing out what needs to be done the following day.
Plan your day the night before, otherwise, the day has a habit of starting without you.
This includes knowing what tasks to work on, what you should wear, and what meals to prepare. Mapping out your day in advance could help you feel at ease in the evenings, and ready to go when you wake up.