TET #006: An Effective Approach to Time ManagementSep 10, 2022
Have you ever ended up with more tasks on your todo lists than with what you have started?
You are not alone.
Todo lists are a surefire way to do more while finishing less.
Today I will show you how to manage your time and energy more effectively.
The Instant Gratification Trap
Many people still run their everyday life on to-do lists.
I was one of them.
Our brain can only juggle a few tasks, so we intuitively know we need to track them somewhere.
A todo list is the zero friction solution: write it all down and continue with your business.
And who doesn't love the instant gratification of checking something off?
But here is the catch: chances are that we accumulate more tasks than we can get done on any given day.
Lists Lack Priorities and Context
Most lists are just a collection of tasks.
This is problematic and here is why:
- All tasks are created equal, Get the garbage out is equivalent to Finish company presentation.
- The simple tasks will take precedence. We get satisfaction from checking off either task, so we start with the low-hanging fruit.
- This pushes off the essential but tedious tasks.
- We don't think about the time it will take to work on any given task and bite more than we can chew.
We have all been there.
So let's talk about a more effective way to organize ourselves.
Use One Calendar
You are most likely using a calendar already.
I have multiple of them in various accounts.
Since I cannot do two things simultaneously, I am using Fantastical to bring all calendars into one unified view.
This way, I know exactly how much time I have available on any given day.
All tasks go into the calendar, without exception.
This forces me to think about priorities and the time required to finish a task.
Instead of a to-do list item, I now have an event in my calendar for which I must find a slot.
Once the day is complete, tasks have to move to another day.
Plan The Day
When should you do the task planning?
Ideally, the day before.
Because if I try to schedule tasks on-demand, I will be at the whim of my energy levels and motivation.
The question What should I be working on right now? becomes What do I want to be working on right now?".
Not an improvement over our to-do lists.
Schedule a recurring event.
Make it part of your wind-down or evening routine.
Execute The Plan
Once you have planned your day, all you need to do is execute the plan.
Trust yourself that you prioritized well and made time for everything relevant.
Don't second guess it.
If priorities have changed, adjust them in the planning for the next day.
See you next week.