Time vs. Energy Management
What if the traditional time management techniques are not enough?
Once you’ve delegated all things you could have, resigned from doing those that you could let go of (non important and not urgent — hence redundant), and prepared a general schedule on how you’re going to go about doing the work, then what? You still need to have a plan for tackling the tasks ahead, which will help bring about the best possible result.
What are the key 3 things to do? Consider using these:
Stack up your productivity spurts
Knowing, that you can only work effectively for so long, why not take advantage of this natural pattern and build productivity blocks to work in:
— start with 2–3 hours, followed by a 20 min break,
— then go for 2 hours with a 15 minute break afterwards,
— and finish off with 30-minute runs separated by 5 minute breaks.
This will both set a pattern of shortening time-frames ahead of you, and will facilitate a good way of making the best of your descending productivity & energy.
Align the productive blocks with task urgency
Despite the temptation to start the workday with the easiest tasks, it clearly makes sense to tackle the big, difficult and somewhat urgent work during the most productive period — which does fall to the morning for most. Also, if this pattern is followed, you can enjoy the way a day gets easier and lighter with each productive block. So, doing the tough work in the first hours, leaving the small, quick jobs to the last means that breaks get more frequent and work less difficult as the day progresses.
Sum up and plan ahead
As with any new strategy, it makes sense to add up the things you managed to do in a day, to get a glimpse of whether it works or not (pretty sure it will ;) While you spend the 5 minutes on it, you can also outline the key few things you’d like to accomplish the next day, to make the start of the next dat this little bit easier (we do this in the office with My Work widget).
Nobody’s time management strategy is perfect, due to the fact that an x amount of unforeseen work can always crop up, but making good habits — such as quickly recognizing the difference between urgent and important or planning ahead and time-management of self — can only help. Try it!.
First posted on the Kanban Tool Blog.