What is Time Management - a Definition
We live in a time where high performance and an always-on work ethic is endorsed from society. Almost to a point where people feel it's like an accomplishment to be constantly overworked and stressing from one thing to the other. This is only one reason why we need an efficient time management.
There are various methods and measures to make use of time as optimal as possible for completing pending to-dos. In short: How do I ensure that I use my time optimally for my purposes? This is crucial for whether the feeling of a productive workday can be achieved by the end of the day. And this, in turn, results in a good work-life balance.
Why Good Time Management is So Promising
Without good time management, we often fall into the attempt to do everything at once. This is all too familiar under the term multitasking, and it has been proven to not only reduce performance but to potentially lead to burnout. In contrast, there is the sequential processing of tasks. By focusing 100% on one task, error sources are reduced, and generally much better results can be achieved.
These better results, of course, positively impact the achievement of professional goals and provide arguments for potential development discussions. Additionally, thanks to efficient time planning, you benefit from reduced stress and time pressure in your everyday work.
Methods and Measures
On the one hand, it is important to structure your workday well and prioritize the tasks at hand. Nothing is worse than thinking about 25 different to-dos simultaneously and not making progress on any of them. It is also about continually optimizing work processes. Regular introspection is a valuable tool for this: How have the past two weeks gone, where have I saved time, and where have I lost it? Which processes have helped me work productively, and what was challenging in this regard?
Further tips could look like this:
- Let's start simple: Take the time to plan and allocate your week and individual days based on the tasks at hand.
- The to-do list is essential for this. Important here: setting priorities. What should be done first? How extensive are the individual tasks? Are there correlations between tasks?
- Now use the calendar for time allocation. This allows an overview of the week, and a summary can be drawn at the end of the week.
- Avoid acute disturbances - especially your phone. Instead, take breaks and combine them with a drink or a short walk.
- Trust your team, delegate tasks, and rely on productive collaboration. You might be able to do everything yourself, but your day also has only 24 hours.
- Last but not least: Automate processes. Numerous tools like HRlab can be used to your advantage to reduce time loss and regain motivation for strategic tasks.
Popular Time Management Methods
There are numerous methods to try and find what works best for you. The following overview of methods and principles should help in making a choice.
The ALPEN Method
At the core of this method is distributing tasks throughout the day. All you need is a list of all pending tasks and activities. The acronym ALPEN stands for the 5 steps to organize the day efficiently.
A: Activities - What activities need to be done? Are there meetings or presentations? Are there unread emails? L: Length - Estimate the expected time required for each task. P: Pause - Plan you breaks actively and account for buffer for unexpected events. E: Establish decisions - Prioritize the tasks based on their importance. N: Note down - How is the plan going? Have you accomplished everything? And most importantly, did this method work well?
The Pomodoro Technique
According to this technique, you work productively in intervals. First, choose a task and focus on it for exactly 25 minutes. Then take a 5-minute break. Repeat this process four times and then take a longer break.
The Eisenhower Method
This method is especially helpful when it comes to setting priorities. Tasks are sorted and worked on according to urgency. At the end, you have an overview of all tasks and can decide which one needs to be delegated and which one needs to be done yourself. Tasks are divided into four categories:
- important and urgent
- important but not urgent
- not important but urgent
- neither urgent nor important.
The Pareto Principle
This principle, also called the 80-20 rule, optimizes your results. This principle states that 20% of the tasks affect 80% of the overall results. Therefore, it is crucial to identify these 20% of tasks. The remaining 80% of subtasks require more time and, in turn, only achieve 20% of the results. With the Pareto Principle, good results can be achieved, especially within a short time frame.
The 10-10-10 Principle
This principle aims to achieve a better decision-making process. It involves asking yourself: How would a particular decision look after 10 minutes, 10 months or 10 years?