Best Time Management tools – Part 2

As I’m now officially on vacation, I can continue the series of the Best Time Management tools tried and experienced, and recommended further.

The part 1 post you can find here.

Here are the next few tools/tips that can improve your personal organizing/peace of mind, if used properly and frequently enough.

Priority (1)

9. Daily/weekly priorities list

An example of a weekly priority list I put here, on the blog. But, if you’re lazy like me, you’ll think it’s perhaps overkill to complete such a detailed sheet each week. Sure, it provides clarity.
You can get similar results by just jotting down what needs to get done by the end of the week. The more you go into detail on who needs to do what and what are the outcomes, the more clarity you’ll get. But at least get your priorities straight. You’d be amazed how many people just let the day slip by, without doing much, without knowing why they’ve even come to work.

10. Life design exercises

The best life design I did for myself was about one year ago, when I enrolled into the ICA coaching course. It was a simple, yet mindblowing exercise, because I completed it with my life partner, to see where we want each our roads to take us. Not surprisingly, we got similar results.
The exercise is even more effective because it takes you through all your senses, it makes you visualize your future, feel it, smell it, hear it. The more senses are involved, the more powerful the attracting vision will be, and the easier it will be for you to follow your dream. Similar exercises you get in NLP courses – and, essentially, the exercise described previously has some NLP elements in it, making you visualize and use several senses at the same time.
I created my own Life Design exercise which I uploaded here, on the Life Management page of the blog – try it!

11. Buckets

Not linked at all to the “Bucket list” concept, “priority buckets” is a way to organize your work into separate areas. Dealing with these separate areas one at a time can ease up your mind and…well…make them seem less :)
For example, at work, each project can be a bucket. Each client can be a bucket. Small tasks and repetitive admin chores can be put all in one bucket. And, of course, dealing with all telephone calls in bulk is also putting them in a bucket. It’s an easy concept, and provides great simplicity in viewing your work, especially when you feel overwhelmed by a multitude of tasks.

12. “What’s the next action?”

This concept belongs to David Allen, who in his book “Getting Things Done” (one of the best Time Management books on the market) says that if he were to ask the world one question to change perspective, it would be this.
Most of our priority setting problems come from not being able to see the forest because of the trees, and getting mired up in too many details, when we should be thinking one step at a time. For example, I continuously postpone tasks which I’m unsure how to do. But, if I were to split them into bite-size pieces, and focus only on the next step ahead, it would be so much easier.
The example David Allen gives in the book goes somehow like this:

“- What do you need to do?
- I need to take my car to the service.
- Do you know which service?
- Yes, the one down the street.
- Do you have an appointment?
- No, I need to make an appointment.
- Do you have the number?
- No, but my friend Fred has it.
- So what’s the next action?
- Call Fred for the number of the service.”

Looks damn simple, right? And yet every day we postpone things that should be completed, just because we’re not clear what’s the next action, and because we’re confused, we prefer to deal with the other tasks that seem clearer.

13. Roles

Looking at my life as a succession of 5-6 roles has helped me make effectiveness choices in a way I could never have done before. Of course, I developed a tool for this too – you can find it here.
At the moment I have the following roles: HR Person, Bride (the “-zilla” at the end of the sentence is optional and fortunately fading away…:) ), Dance classes student, Boardgame host, Daughter, Blogger. You may notice I took the coach out of the equation, since I won’t be doing any coaching until August, when I return from vacation. But by then the “bride” role will have dropped out…
Most of us can juggle maximum 5-6 roles. More than that will make us feel overwhelmed.

Know thy roles – and know when to say no, when something outside of them comes up.

14. Focus – 1 thing at a time!

I can’t say this enough. Multitasking is not a gift, it’s a curse.
I admit I’m getting more towards ADD every day. Right now, I’m listening to Florence and the Machine as I type, and hum to the song. I might get up and dance a bit, then continue writing. I did a psychological test for attention to details yesterday. How did I react? I jumped to it, finished it fast and of course got a bunch of mistakes through and through.

There’s two things I’m working on – doing things SLOWER and ONE AT A TIME. I think this helps me be more focused, get better results and less mistakes, and – most importantly – be less stressed. Simplicity is key.
Although this is not a tool, it’s a mindset, I think this is the most important thing you could start practicing.

Let me know if any of the above helps you – not to save time, but to be more effective.

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