Time management is super important for having a productive day.
How are you scheduling your time right now?
The first step to a productive day is organizing a To Do list of all of your tasks.
The second is applying a time management method to those tasks so you are able to check them off in an organized and timely manner.
Sometimes, I think we forget to create a schedule because we are living in the freedom of working from home. But trust me, once you apply one of these time management methods to your work day, you will be free of your To Do List so much FASTER than if you were just working without a plan.
As a teenager, someone once told me “Plan your work, and work your plan” and honestly this is the best advice I have ever received to date.
When you dive into the day head first with no plan, you are constantly scrambling to get it all done… but then you turn around and you realize its time for dinner. Where did the day even go? AM I RIGHT?
So are you someone who writes an open ended never ending to do list or is there some method to your madness?
Let’s talk about two different time management methods to create some closure to your TO Do Lists.
Two time management methods
We’re going to dig into two different time management methods today:
- Time Blocking Method: this is where you divide your day into blocks of time and assign tasks to said blocks.
- The Pomodoro Method: this is where you go down your To Do list, assigning increments of time like 25-45 minutes with a 5 minute break afterwards.
While these methods are similar, they are also very different.
Time blocking is much more structured than the Pomodoro Method.
We’re going to dig in these two methods below.
The time blocking method
The time blocking method is when you divide your day by blocks of time, assigning each task on your To Do list a different block. This is very effective for maximizing your day and time.
As told in ToDoist.com “Instead of keeping an open-ended to-do list of things you’ll get to as you’re able, you’ll start each day with a concrete schedule that lays out what you’ll work on and when.”
The time blocking method takes your To Do List and makes sure it gets done. Which is always your end goal right?
I am constantly making lists on lists on lists, but I’ll be honest, there are weeks where day after day the same task is pushed over (because my alter-ego is the Queen of Procrastination… do you know her too?) .
Using the time blocking method ensures I am maximizing the hours I have in my work day by assigning them to my To Do List. You can also time block your entire day from wake up to bed time, just be sure to block out some family time and some self care!
Let’s break the cycle of the open-ended never -ending to-do list and start using the time blocking method to assign times to our tasks so we get it done, girl!
Time blocking with Trello
Do you use Trello?
Trello is a free project management tool that is great for time blocking!
I use Trello to create lists, keep me organized on projects, and now I have begun using it for time blocking.
It is an easy way to apply time blocking to your day because you can access it from your phone or the computer, you can check things off virtually, and you can create a new Card each day.
But how do you time block your day?
So, now that we went over why time blocking is an effective method for having a productive work day… let’s put it in action.
Time blocking is like the power hour working method but all day long.
We skip the To Do List OVERWHELM and dive right into working.
In the beginning, look at your To do List and write down next to each task how long it will take to complete (30 minutes, one hour, and so on).
Once an amount of time is assigned to each actionable item on your To Do List, block out a piece of time in your calendar to do it.
Treat each item of the list similar to how you respect your client meetings, show up on time, and dig into the meat of the task.
The time blocking method is great for someone who has a few distraction free hours to get work done.
If this isn’t for you… there is a second method for managing your to do list.
Entering stage right: The Pomodoro Method
Have you tried this out?
This is also known as the timer study method.
Basically you use a timer (of any shape, although traditionally it was a tomato timer) and break work down into intervals of 25-45 minutes and then you take a 5 to 10 minute break to move your body or do something for yourself. Learn more about the Pomodoro Method here
It is another similar concept to a work power hour where you are super focused on one task for a short amount of time. This is great if you are a blogger, content creator, or student because having open-ended tasks like writing, creating, and studying can take over your day whereas when you are applying the Pomodoro Method to your day, these tasks are capped at a certain amount of time.
I know as I transitioned to working from home (and being my boss) there are days where I either realized I didn’t know if it was sunny out (oops) and I forgot to eat lunch (double oops).
Much like caring for ourselves at the office, it is just as important to take breaks while working from home.
The Pomodoro Technique
I really enjoy this method when planning out my day because I realized I do need the 5 minutes to check in with myself before going on to the next task.
I generally set a timer for 45 minutes, turn my phone on Do No Disturb, and get to work. I am always amazed about how much I accomplish in this time knowing that a quick dance party or a mindful cup of coffee is waiting for me.
The best part about time management methods
The best part about any time management method is that it is there to help you succeed.
Whether the time blocking method suits you with your entire day blocked, structured, and accounted for.
Or the Pomodoro technique where you set a timer for 25-45 minutes to buckle down on a task and then reward yourself with a 5-10 minute break.
Both methods work well, but it truly depends on how much structure you require as a person, along with what your to do list looks like.
Scheduling a Productive Day
Scheduling a productive day is possible when using a time management method.
Sometimes we skip the step of getting organized because we are so overwhelmed with all of the TO DOs.
But, there is so much value in a To Do List to not only keep you on track but also show you how much you have accomplished.
I wish you luck on your days, drop a comment below to let us know which method you are going to try first!