Have you heard the saying “A stitch in time saves nine?” That is what exactly a good time management technique is. The import of this popular proverb is that, if you sort out a problem immediately it may save a lot of extra work later. This saying stresses on the importance of time and its management in getting times done.
Time is a valuable resource which, when misused cannot be recovered and hence, the importance of organizing and planning how to divide your time between specific activities; also known as time management.
In order to ensure that your tasks and activities are on schedule, you need good time management techniques like the Pomodoro technique, Getting Things Done (GTD), Pareto Analysis, Rapid Planning Method (RPM) and others. The Pomodoro technique is centered on the idea that frequent breaks help to improve mental agility, making you feel refreshed, recharged and ready to tackle new tasks.
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals or sessions. Mostly 25 minutes in length, each separated by short breaks. Each interval is known as a Pomodoro, from the Italian word for ‘tomato’. Cirillo took the name from the tomato-shaped kitchen timer that he used as a university student.
The technique is very simple. After each 25-minute session or “Pomodoro”, you take a 5-minute break. Then you embark on the next. When you complete four sessions or “Pomodori,” take a longer break (20-30 minutes) to rest and recharge. By following this simple yet powerful technique you can perform better. Be more productive in any hectic or stressful situation.
15 Time Management Skills Similar To The Pomodoro Technique
1. Getting Things Done (GTD)
Just as the name of the technique implies, with the GTD method, you need to write down all the things you want or need to do.
Next, break them into smaller actionable items.
The smaller tasks are finished swiftly, and the bigger tasks are then divided into smaller ones in order to “get them done” or completed.
2. Pareto Analysis
This is also known as the 80–20 rule. The rule is that 80% of the tasks can be completed in 20% of the time. While the remaining 20% of tasks will take up 80% of the time.
That is to say, 20% of your work will make-up 80% of your achievements. Tasks that fall into the former grouping should therefore be given precedence to increase productivity.
3. 168 Hour
The number of hours there are in a week amount to 168. This technique proposes you plan your schedule; weekly, by organizing your time according to your priorities, so that you can cut down on misused time that comes from misplaced priorities.
4. Rapid Planning Method (RPM)
RPM seeks to ensure that you focus on what is truly important. It helps you find good reasons for doing work. Then you can construct a flexible plan to achieve it. This method is great because you focus on what truly matters and through that receive personal fulfilment.
5. Important-Urgent Matrix
This is another method to help you manage your time more effectively. It divides tasks into 4 quadrants. The quadrants feature tasks that are important and urgent, important but not urgent, not important but urgent, and lastly not important and not urgent.
This way, the important and urgent ones are dealt with because naturally you will tend to them first, then finally the not so important and not so urgent tasks.
This is a skill where you try to perform two or more tasks simultaneously. You move from one task to another in rapid succession. It saves the time spent to do tasks individually at a go.
It is an essential skill needed to perform most basic tasks since some tasks may be time-consuming but do not necessarily require your presence to be completed.
7. Do It Now
This method focuses on getting the task done immediately. It advocates the “do it now” mentality because when you put off tasks, valuable time is wasted and it takes more time to complete; whereas doing tasks promptly saves time.
8. Most Important Thing
This technique requires you to choose the three most important things you want to work on each day. This is like a “cheat system” that gives you permission to not work on the other items on your to-do list because you cannot get all tasks done. It promotes realism since not completing tasks are part of every day instead of an ideal of a perfect task completing master which is unrealistic.
9. Fixed Schedule
Create a fixed time to get tasks completed. For example, at 6pm after every lecture on weekdays, spend an hour and half reviewing lecture notes. And the next two half hours on assignments. That way you never miss assignments and always conversant with the lecture topics and prepared for up-coming exams.
10. Not- to -do List
Most times, it is easier to identify and state what patterns, behaviours, tasks are time-consuming and prevent you from achieving your priorities. Write a list of things not to do and be intentional about them. For example, set up “Do not Disturb” or aeroplane mode on the phone to avoid getting distracted by notifications from apps, cut down watching Netflix for hours on end with the excuse of writer’s block and instead focus on that article you have to write.
11. Don’t Break the Chain
This task helps you get tasks which you are not so fond of completed. By crossing out or marking the date each time you complete the task, you get motivated to not “break the chain”.
12. Fixed Time Commitment
This technique requires that each task on your to-do list should have a realistic time estimate of how long it should take. When you hit the limit, you end the task, completed or not. This is an amazing technique for perfectionists who can never decide that a task is done by continually evaluating and re-evaluating which wastes time.
13. First Ninety
For this technique you get to decide on one top priority or task for the day, then spend the first 90 minutes of the day fixated on your key priority BEFORE doing anything else. This method ensures that you have at least completed one important task.
14. Artificial Deadlines
For this method to be effective, you need to create an artificial deadline by making a commitment to another person. That way, you can be held accountable and also feel determined to complete the task. For example, promise to submit your team assignment to the boss three days before the deadline.
15. Personal Kanban
For the Personal Kanban technique, place a large piece of paper on your wall with three columns: To Do, Doing, and Done. Next, write your tasks on post-its/ sticky notes and put them in the To Do column. When you start working on them, move them to the Doing column, and then when completed to the Done column. This serves a strong visual reminder of your priorities and its progression.
These 15 techniques share similarities with the Pomodoro technique which is that the task(s) gets completed within a specific time by a person who understands the need and importance of time management.
Now that you have all these techniques available to you, go ahead and make the right time management choices for you!