Time management is taught, pushed as the way to be effective, and considered a factor in brainpower and will power. Focusing on eliminating the need for time management is perhaps a pie in the sky ideal, but can be a very simple and exciting way to work.
Wikipedia defines time management in ways that includes creating an environment conducive to effectiveness, setting of priorities, carrying out the activities around those priorities and reducing the time spent on non-priorities. Wikipedia also links time management to project management, attention management, and personal knowledge management.
We have been encouraged to mold ourselves into a packet of restrictions to manage time. Some can follow a list of rules and boundaries to a T, while others flounder with such strict management. People are very different and I encourage standards that are a little more varied. Understanding your most effective work methods and times is the first step to figuring out the best standards for you.
To begin, consider the ways in which you work. Testing this is simple, just try different ways to work. Don’t be afraid to fail, for figuring out what doesn’t work also gets you closer to knowing what does. Take note that how you work on regular duties may be different than how you work project to project.
Here are some different ways to structure your work to come to your own style of time management
- Work at your best time of the day where you are most productive, no matter what the task or project. (i.e. are you a morning person?, a night owl?, an afternoon rockstar?).
- Block time by the day or half day for each project. Only block and organize for the important/top priority projects. Be sure that the blocked times/days are where you are at your best.
- Shift every 30 minutes between several projects. All open on your computer.
- Work with two or three screens.
- Use your un-blocked time for your remaining needs/tasks. They don’t have to be prioritized at all but rather just completed by picking up the next one and doing it. That process can be extremely fast eliminating the need for time management.
Often time management is only needed for things in which we lack talent or high interest. Which is why applying time management to everything can be unnecessary and create undue stress. Tasks that fall within our sweet spots we naturally structure in ways that take little effort. Knowing your sweet spots is very important. Take time to consider them.
Bottom-line, before you can manage your time, you have to be familiar with the material, be in top shape with your brainpower, and know a bit about yourself. Otherwise, you may find yourself so tired each day that walking to your car at the end of the day is daunting or constantly overwhelmed with the tasks and projects on your plate. Once you have your personal parameters to work within you may find yourself getting more accomplished and working with time instead of it working against you.