Are you looking to improve focus and increase productivity? Here are 5 time management techniques to organize day-to-day workflow. They are relatively simple and easy to integrate these techniques into everyday office activities.
Time management is a challenge for every working professional. Whether it’s battling distractions, carving out time in the day for breaks, or realigning focus between switching tasks, there’s always some aspect of our time management technique that could be improved.
The Pomodoro time management technique is extremely simple: Your work day is broken into 25 minute blocks that are separated by 5 minute breaks. After four of these time blocks (and their breaks) you then take a longer break of 15 to 20 minutes.
This technique is intended to prevent mental fatigue, keep you focused, and maintain productivity. The bursts are intended to be manageable and allot a realistic time frame for a task to be completed. The built-in breaks make this technique a great option for those who have difficulty resisting notifications, as the time limits are short enough to prevent one from getting too absorbed in external stimuli and distracted from their tasks.
Work smarter, not harder. This principle is also referred to as the 80-20 Rule. It is derived from the idea that 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Sound familiar? You’ve probably heard this adage before: 80% of sales come from 20% of clients.
As a time management strategy, the Pareto technique forces recognition of which items on a to-do list are the most valuable. This is done by evaluating:
- How much effort is needed per task on a scale of 1 – 10
- The potential results/importance on a scale of 1 – 10
- Dividing effort by the result to discover your new priority list
This technique will identify which tasks will produce the most worthwhile output. Enabling more efficient utilization of your time and focus of energies that reap the most benefits.
Time Blocking Method
Time blocking is a method is favored by great minds like Bill Gates, Cal Newport, and Elon Musk. This technique prioritizes your time, rather than prioritizing a to-do list. The benefits of this method? To maximize daily efficiency by accounting for every single task that you will – and want – to accomplish during the day.
The day is broken into blocks; those blocks are devoted to tasks, break periods, personal activities in slots of 5 minutes or an hour. Depending on how detailed you wish to be, every second of your day could be accounted for. Wasted time switching between activities is eliminated. Giving the user powerful control over their schedule, time management, and incredible insight into how they actually use their time.
Build flexibility into your schedule with allotted break times and anticipate energy lulls and potential interruptions. By anticipating the possible deterrents in your day, you better equipped to overcome them and thus, increase your productivity. With this technique, you may find yourself abandoning the trusty to-do list, altogether.
This Most Important (MIT) Task Method
This is ideal for the user that finds to-do lists lacking focus or altogether overwhelming. Similar methods like “One Thing” or “Eating That Frog” all have the same message: having a few definite goals for each day. A single-minded focus on your ultimate priorities make you more likely to accomplish them.
This method is not intended to discourage the completion of other lesser tasks, however. All other tasks can be attended to once the most important tasks are complete. The looser structure of this method is ideal for those who desire more flexibility in their daily schedule.
This method is similar to (and often paired with) the Pareto Analysis method. The ABC method requires a written to-do list where tasks can be assigned a ranking in importance, A (most important) to C (least important). The goal is to avoid prioritizing “filler” tasks, tasks that seem pressing but yield very minor accomplishment towards a goal.
Consider for example, that you have an important report to complete. But because you know this will be time-consuming, you instead focus on smaller “quick” tasks such as reading all your emails, finishing up tasks from the previous day, or signing papers. People often find themselves in this predicament when others are waiting on them Tending to those tasks first may seem to be the obvious (or at least courteous) thing to do, but those activities often provide very little actual value to you or your company. You’ll also find that those “quick tasks” quickly add up, eating into valuable time and allowing you to give in to interruptions.
There’s no single “correct” method. Combine these techniques to find a time management technique that works for you, your staff, and your firm. Increased productivity, focus, and satisfaction are close at hand when you employ these tried-and-true time management techniques to organize day-to-day workflow.
You can also rely on the talented and dedicated staff at Attorney Business Consulting to assist with your firm’s day-to-day operations. As the premier law office management consultation agency, we can assist with every aspect of running a law firm, allowing your staff to focus on what’s most important. Visit Attorney Business Consulting today for a free consultation.