Quickly tidy up the desk before we leave and then- oh, a call! Back to the desk and suddenly it's lunchtime? Okay, but now we start, just answer a few eMails, and then we're done? Theoretically we would have to go home now, but we didn't really manage much today, if we are honest. Who doesn't know days like these? Time management is a big issue at work. We have tested three modern time management methods for you to find out how you can better organize your time.
Method 1: Eat that frog
This time management method focuses primarily on the effects of a task. It works as follows:
- First think about the big goal you want to achieve.
- Set a deadline for this.
- Then make a list of all the things you need to achieve the goal.
- Now set priorities. The highest priorities are your frogs.
- Start immediately! Always kiss or "eat" the ugly frog first, then you have it behind you.
- Identify new frogs every day and kiss the ugliest one first thing in the morning. So the day can only get better for you and no matter what happens, the most important thing is done.
We had very different opinions about this method in the office. Even Mommy forced us to do our homework before we were allowed to play and a proverb advises us "First the work, then the pleasure".
But unfortunately it is often so: When the day starts with the worst, the mood often drops very quickly and the motivation disappears before it could even arise. Sometimes you simply need smaller tasks, which may even be fun, to get a good start into the day.
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Method 2: The Pomodoro Technique
Pomodoro is Italian and means tomato. This method was named after the egg timer in the shape of a tomato, which the Italian Francesco Cirillo used to develop the technique. The method works as follows:
- Note which tasks or subtasks you want to complete in the next 25 minutes.
- Set your alarm clock to 25 minutes and work concentrated and focused during this time. Don't be distracted!
- Once the 25 minutes are up, cancel the completed task and take a 5 minute break.
- Repeat steps 1 through 3 a total of four times and then take a 30-minute break before restarting.
Yes, there is indeed a meaningful core to this method. It is incredibly helpful to take regular breaks in order to be more concentrated during the actual work. However, it is very difficult to divide the time exactly so that the plan actually works out. If a task takes much longer or takes much less time than planned, you quickly lose your rhythm and give up immediately. It would make more sense to keep the basic idea and find your own rhythm for your tasks.
Method 3: Not-To-Do list
This method primarily serves the purpose of protecting oneself from distractions. Such a list includes all tasks that are not necessary or can be delegated, as well as bad habits that one wants to avoid during work. A Not-To-Do list could look like this:
- Play CandyCrash on your mobile phone
- Renounce lunch break
- File files
- Private social media use
- Daily overtime hours
To deal with one's own bad habits and weaknesses and to formulate goals from them is in itself highly recommendable. However, the New Year effect quickly occurs and good intentions are quickly broken. Besides not all tasks can be delegated or completely neglected, even if they do not supply a direct result. We therefore see this method in the midfield rather than at the very top.
As you may have already noticed, there is no perfect timetable for optimal time management for us. Here it probably means finding the right mix. Just try a few methods for yourself and get the best out of each.
Here are a few tips that really help:
- Create to-do lists to keep the overview at all times
- Always write down ideas immediately
- Setting goals and priorities
- Subdivide large projects into subtasks or milestones to measure success
- You can also say no to an assignment
- To lower one's own demands also sometimes
- Do not postpone, but rather start immediately
- Take breaks seriously and perceive them!
- Actively support brain performance (through a healthy diet, sufficient sleep, fresh air, exercise, etc.)