There are many time and task management systems, all geared at helping you be more productive and, ultimately, more successful.
None of these systems are perfect and many will require an investment of time and effort to get them to work to full effectiveness, which can feel counterintuitive. Your first step is to do some research, choose a system that seems like a good fit, then make that system work for you.
Here, we’ve compiled a list of time-management systems for your consideration:
- The Pomodoro Technique involves breaking work intervals or tasks down into short, manageable, and time-limited parts while incorporating breaks to keep you focused every step of the way.
- Paperclip Strategy uses paper clips (or any other visual “cue”) to help you track your progress, stay motivated, and focus on getting your tasks done.
- Time Budgeting helps you balance and prioritize your daily tasks, with a focus on what is most important while reducing distraction and procrastination.
- Most Important Task (M.I.T) recognizes that not all tasks are equally important so encourages you to focus on completing the tasks or projects that will make the biggest difference. It helps you accomplish the most important things, giving you permission to ignore the rest.
- Time Blocking involves breaking your day into blocks of time then assigning a task, or group of tasks, into each block. During each block of time you only work on the task assigned, ignoring everything else.
- Self-Assigned Deadlines, also known as fake or artificial deadlines, are for those tasks that don’t really have a firm due date, but still need to get done. Assigning your own due date helps ensure the task gets done, instead of constantly pushed aside.
- Personal Kanban involves a wall chart with three columns: Options (everything you need to do), Doing (the things you are working on), and Done (things you have successfully completed). This creates a visualization of all the work to be done, and requires you to limit the work you are doing, making it more manageable.
- Eisenhower Matrix, also known as the urgent-important matrix, is a system for prioritizing your tasks, but identifying what is urgent and important, or both. This, in turn, identifies less urgent/important tasks, which can be delegated or set aside.
- Don’t Break the Chain encourages you to do something related to a project each and every day, no matter how small, putting an X on a calendar. As each day passes, you get more X’s which, in turn, creates a visual reminder of progress. The key is that you must not break the chain.
- Not To Do List is a list of things you should not be doing, don’t want to do, or that waste your time and energy, thereby keeping you from getting to all your important tasks. Giving yourself permission to not do these items can, effectively, make time and space for the things you want to do.