how to manage your time effectively

The importance of work-life balance

Work-life balance is the optimal balance between work and other areas of life. Failure to comply with it leads to constant stress, and in especially severe cases, to professional burnout. Often we ourselves become the cause of imbalance by paying too much attention to work. We constantly check work messengers or think about work tasks, even on weekends. And this does not allow us to rest peacefully and devote time to our personal lives.

The life balance wheel will help you assess how things are going in different areas for you now. Draw a circle on a piece of paper by hand and divide it into 6-10 sectors depending on the number of areas that are important to you (this could be work, family, friends, hobbies, self-development, etc.) or use a free online template, for example, like this. Label each sector with the name of one of the spheres. Now rate from 1 to 10 your satisfaction with how much time and effort you spend on each of them, and shade the corresponding sector according to your rating. Look at the picture: did you manage to achieve balance or is one of the areas sagging too much?

If you have not yet been able to achieve balance between work and other areas of life, try a few time management techniques:

  • Set boundaries between work and personal life. Set a clear work schedule and stick to it. Manage your colleagues’ expectations and avoid answering work calls on your personal time. Switch work chats in instant messengers to silent mode and return to company news the next day.

  • Leave time for yourself. Don’t forget to set aside time in your schedule for hobbies, walks, reading your favorite books, or other activities that bring you pleasure. Be sure to add them to your calendar – when we don’t occupy our personal time with specific things, there is a risk of being overloaded with work and forgetting about our own needs.

  • Set your priorities. Determine what is truly important to you and focus on that. Choose from 1 to 3 main directions for you for the coming period.

Edward

Developer

For me, the most valuable thing in the marathon was drawing up a wheel of life balance with an emphasis on time and areas of activity with their subsequent assessment, as well as drawing up a plan for daily activities for a month in advance. Planning was always only in the head; something important could be overlooked. Thanks to the marathon, all plans are now fixed. A basis has emerged on which you can build and adjust your actions in the future if the need arises.

When you already understand which areas you want to devote more time to, it’s time to move on to planning.

Planning is the main step to effective time management

It is impossible to manage everything at once, so you need to concentrate only on the most important things, set specific goals for yourself and work to achieve them. To do this, you need a clear plan to direct your energy and time in the right direction. Otherwise, you will spend it on things that will not lead you to the goals you need.

There are many distractions – checking social networks, talking with colleagues on abstract topics, or going out for coffee. Identify your most common distractions and try to minimize these activities.

Once distractions are minimized and your goals are crystal clear, move on to creating a plan to implement them. When starting to develop it, follow the “6 Ps” rule: proper pre-planning prevents poor performance. Your task is to create a plan that would allow you to achieve the best result in the least amount of time.

Here are a few rules for competent daily planning of your affairs and goals:

  • Book time on your calendar for work tasks. Sometimes it is very important to set aside a couple of hours in a row to solve some complex task, and distraction can take you out of context, and you will spend even more time switching. Book this time on your calendar so that no one schedules an additional appointment when they see that you are free.

  • Don’t forget about breaks. If your schedule for tomorrow looks like a continuous marathon of tasks, then such planning will definitely not bring much benefit. Without breaks, your productivity will be much lower.

  • Leave a reserve of time in case of force majeure. When creating a daily plan, allocate approximately 20% of your time to unplanned tasks that may require your attention at any time.

  • Use the planner that’s convenient for you. It is better to keep your plans for the day in writing so as not to forget anything. This could be a special application, a spreadsheet, or just a diary.

Vladimir

Lead C++ Programmer

The information from video about three daily habits. I obviously saw it before the marathon, but after watching it this time, I noticed several points and subtleties that I had not paid attention to in the process of following such practices. To say that I was inspired is an understatement!

Time management techniques

In addition to planning, there are a number of time management techniques. Let’s look at some of them.

  • Pomodoro method. You’ll need a timer to set yourself for 25 minutes, and all your willpower to stay on task during that time. After stopping the timer, take a 5-minute break and repeat three more times, alternating work with a short rest. After the fourth set of hard work, take a long break of 30 minutes to sort out your thoughts and rest before the next push.

  • Dividing a large task into several subtasks. If a task seems too complicated and therefore there is no desire to start it, divide it into several subtasks. Then it will no longer seem impossible, and it will be easier for you to cope with it.

  • Two Minute Technique. Some tasks will only take a couple of minutes to complete. Do them first so you don’t accumulate many small tasks that you might simply forget about later.

  • The ability to say “no”. Helping colleagues is good, but not at the expense of your own goals. If you are asked to help and you have a deadline, politely refuse or offer to return to this issue when you have free time.

  • Stop multitasking. Doing multiple tasks at the same time reduces efficiency and increases time consumption. Focus on tasks consistently, without jumping from one thing to another.

  • Eisenhower Matrix. The essence of this time management method is to divide all tasks into four categories:

    • Important and urgent things need to be done right now, even if you really don’t want to.

    • Include important and non-urgent ones in your plan for the future and do not forget to return to them.

    • Unimportant and urgent are routine tasks that do not have much significance. Delegate them or figure out a way to automate them.

    • Unimportant and non-urgent – performing these tasks does not bring any benefit and only takes up time. Cross them off your to-do list or come back to them when everything else is done.

Anton

Software Security Architect

In fact, it turned out that I already unconsciously use 80% of the chips from the marathon; accordingly, the knowledge has been deepened and structured, and life will be easier. Well, in addition, I compared what I do with the opportunities that exist; When I don’t have time to do everything consciously, I can safely say “no.”

Summarize

No matter how much we would like there to be more time in the day, we have to be content with 24 hours. But with proper time management, you can manage, if not everything, then certainly the most important thing for you. It is important to learn not to be distracted by what is not particularly important. Time planning helps to cope well with this task. However, plans and schedules should not force you into rigid boundaries that deprive you of maneuver. Their main purpose is to help correctly distribute time and energy to complete priority tasks without unnecessary stress.

And of course, don’t forget about rest. Poor work-life balance leads to burnout and is not conducive to productivity. And that’s not what we’re aiming for, right?

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