The secret to effective time management is simple: Manage Your Zoo
Eat “A frog”
Check your to-do list and highlight the tasks that you do not like the most in green. They are your frogs. The frogs are the most unpleasant, boring and exhausting tasks that you are most likely to postpone and avoid throughout the day. The best time for eating a frog, i.e. completing the least enjoyable tasks, is the morning. You need to overcome your eagerness to put those tasks off and undertake them at the beginning of the day. Otherwise, you risk having them on your to-do list forever. This simple technique will help you get done with the most unpleasant commitments in the morning and enjoy the rest of the day doing the things you love.
Split Up “An Elephant”
Each to-do list has one or many huge tasks, that are difficult to commit to. Meanwhile, they are easy to be postponed or even abandoned. When you undertake a large piece of work, it is difficult to stay focused and dedicated if you do not see a finish line. A complexity to estimate an actual progress decreases your motivation. At some point, you can no longer keep up the momentum and feel broken, down and tired. The reason is that you cannot handle an elephant at once. Therefore, you need to break down huge tasks into manageable chunks and set interim goals. It will allow you to praise yourself for small achievements and make you stay motivated and up to new wins.
Collect Your “Monkeys”
Look through your to-do list. Does it look well arranged? Or is it still a chaotic set of tasks in no particular order? Just exactly as a jungle full of monkeys. Order of tasks does matter: Your to-do list should not be a backlog of tasks. It should be your well-organized blueprint of the upcoming day. Take a look at your list of tasks for a day. Identify similar ones and consolidate them. Reorder the tasks and create blocks that consist of resembling activities. This easy step will provide you with much smoother workflow and allow you not to lose concentration when switching to the next task.
Avoid The “Cats and Pandas”
These animals are funny and super cute. They are too distracting, though. You can stare at them for hours and let them amuse you all day long. The problem is that they will never let you get done what really matters. Your environment is full of limitless distracting factors that are willing to steal your focus and interrupt your work. Do not let trivial issues hinder your productivity and ruin the entire day. Avoid social media, keep away from talkative colleagues, kill notifications and if possible go offline. Do what matters first and let yourself relax later.
Follow these steps to manage your zoo and your time management will significantly improve. Why not give it a try today?
Max Lukominskyi is the CMO at Evopaper, company behind Slice Planner – app-powered paper planner that makes your schedule look intuitive, so you can manage your time and get things done easily. His writing has been featured on Inc, Business Insider, BBC, The Independent, Huffington Post, IB Times, Thought Catalog, Medical Daily, The Muse and dozens other outlets.