When you’re taking control of your time and learning how to manage your schedule, it can spark some difficult conversations. The habits, the methods, the ideas can seem a little lofty to those who don’t yet see the big picture. But if you understand these 7 time management terms, you’ll be prepared to have those conversations with the people around you and be honest about the life you want!
7 Time Management Terms You Need to Know
1. Calendar Blocking
If you’ve been hangin’ out with me for a while, you probably know a thing or two about this one. Calendar blocking is the act of not just adding tasks to your calendar, but adding the entire block of time that the task will take.
This practice will transform the way you see work. You’ll start looking at things not just as tasks to complete, but as things that take time. From there, you can start to adjust your lifestyle to make enough time for the things that matter.
2. Time Batching
Time batching is a similar concept to calendar blocking in the sense that it makes you consider the amount of time for a task. But instead, you’ll take those tasks that you’ve blocked on your calendar and start listing the similar ones together. Then, find a way to put those tasks together on your calendar.
One of the ways I leverage time batching, especially when working from home, is scheduling all video calls or filming on the same day. On those days, I get camera-ready and do my hair so I can get the most out of that makeup! Batch together the tasks that make sense to do together, whether that’s based on when you get ready, what your commute is like, or where you may be working. This is a great way to be efficient with your schedule and get things done when you’ll be the most focused on them.
3. The Ivy Lee Method
With the Ivy Lee Method, you create a list at the end of each day with your top 6 priorities for tomorrow. You then rank those tasks in order of importance. The next day, start with the first task on your list and complete things in the order you ranked them.
Using this method along with calendar blocking and time batching is an incredible way to keep your priorities straight and achieve your goals. If something is in your list of priorities but not in your calendar block, you know some adjustments need to be made in order to make time for your tasks. Align these 3 habits in your planning routine and master the art of making time!
4. Task Switching
Task switching happens when you’re working on a task, but your mind keeps wandering to other things. Maybe you’re working on a project and something you need to grab from Amazon pops into your mind. You might head to Amazon, reaaaally quickly, and place that order. But you and I both know — Amazon is a rabbit hole. A rabbit hole I’ve fallen down many, many times.
Task switching is a major distraction, no matter how you try to convince yourself it’s not. If you think of a task that needs to get done, write it in a reminder on your phone or in the Notes on your computer. Do what you can to avoid task switching so you can stay focused, especially if you’re working within a block of time on your calendar.
This has always been a tough one for me since I tend to be of the mindset: ‘if you want it done right, do it yourself.’ But I don’t have unlimited hours in the day! If there are tasks in your schedule that you don’t have to be doing, ask for help. Delegate some household duties to someone else who lives with you. Hire somebody to help you manage your social media. Look for opportunities to pass a task off to someone who may be better suited for it, so you can free up time to focus on the work that matters to your life.
6. The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a concept of focus time and break time. Essentially, you have 25 minutes of intense focus on a project. Then, you have a 5 minute break. After 4 rounds, you take a longer break (usually 25 minutes).
Using these shorter periods of time to really focus on a task is ultimately more efficient than stretching that time out to one or two hours. I find that I’m more focused and more productive in the short term, especially with the gratification of a quick break.
Taking control of your time sometimes requires difficult conversations with the people around us, and even with ourselves. We often try to do it all, to take on tasks we don’t need and not delegate them to others. We try to convince ourselves we can do 50 things instead of 6, or that our partner is right and they do need my attention right this very second.
But that is not true.
You are allowed to set boundaries with others and with yourself. If you want to see a change in how you spend your time and you don’t feel like you’ve seen it, it’s probably because you haven’t learned how to say ‘no’.
Should you be a person that only ever says ‘no?” Of course not. But you don’t have to become a ‘yes’ person, either. Instead, be a ‘hell yes’ person. Make every ‘yes’ matter, and say them only to the things that excite you and help you to grow.
QOTD: What’s the hardest thing about time management for you?