Article contributed by JP Lama
We all have 24 hours in one day. But why do some people get more things done than others? “Better time management” is a common answer to this question. However, there are different time management methods out there, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Here are three time management methods I use to make the most out of my 24 hours.
I. Eisenhower Matrix
This is the time management method all RareJob Philippines employees are taught from their very first day in the office. Even before working in RareJob Philippines, I’ve seen office workers in Accenture call center companies and even high school students who were members of the Philippine national karate team instinctively use this method. It revolves around a quote from former US Prsident Dwight D. Eisenhower: “I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.”
How It’s Done:
1) Make a box with four quadrants and sort out your tasks according to the four quadrants.
Q1 = Important/Urgent quadrant
Q2 = Important/Not Urgent quadrant
Q3 = Unimportant/Urgent quadrant
Q4 = Unimportant/Not Urgent quadrant
2) Follow the actions appropriate for the task in each quadrant.
Q1 tasks are done immediately and personally.
Q2 tasks get an end date and are done personally.
Q3 tasks are delegated.
Q4 tasks are deleted.
-This method works really well if you are clear on what is important and what is urgent.
-It can also be applied in different horizons (x days, x weeks, x months, x years, etc.).
-Because this method has a broad horizon, it doesn’t help much when it comes to dealing with tasks in its minute details.
-It also doesn’t help if multiple tasks are all equally urgent and important.
II. Pomodoro Method
This is the time management method RareJob tutors use the most, even if unknowingly. The technique gets its name from the Italian word for tomato, which is the shape of a kitchen timer initially used by the developer of this method Francesco Cirillo during his university years.
How It’s Done:
1) Set a thirty-minute timer. The first 25 minutes is spent on continuous work, while the last five minutes is spent on rest.
2) I have my own personal twist on this method. If you use one sense during the first 25 minutes, in your five minute break, use another sense. For example, if you’ve been reading/typing for 25 minutes, in your five minute break, listen to a song on your mp3 player, or eat some candy. That gives your sense of sight time to rest while at the same time stimulating your sense of hearing/taste.
-This method works really well if the task can be accomplished in 25 minutes or less, such as a RareJob tutoring session.
-If the task you’re doing needs more than 25 minutes to be done, the break(s) will break your momentum.
-If you try to do multiple tasks in the 25 minutes, there’s a risk that you could miss something as you flip-flop from one task to another.
-There’s a chance that you may inflate a simple task to 25 minutes, or cram too many tasks into 25 minutes.
I developed this by applying the Snowball method of money-debt management to time-tasks management in the office (time is money, after all). It is the method I use the most in the office, especially when I’m answering e-mails from tutors.
How It’s Done:
1) List down all the individual tasks you have to do for the day.
2) In just one glance, decide which task will take the least time to finish. Put that at the top of your list.
3) Work on the task at the top of the list. Once it’s done, delete it from the list or mark it done.
4) With regard to the remaining tasks, go back to #2.
5) Repeat until you finish all the tasks on your list.
-This method is the fastest way to accomplish all the tasks in your to-do list.
-This only works if all the tasks you list down are equally important and equally urgent. If a task that requires more time is more urgent than a task that requires less time, this won’t work.
-This doesn’t work if your tasks have to follow a specific sqeuencesequence, meaning, you need the outcome of one task to start with another.
-The longer a task takes to do, the more difficult it becomes. Even if you have only one task on your list, if it goes on for four hours, the method will fail.
FINAL THOUGHTS: There’s no one best time management method that will work in every situation. You have to choose which one works best in the situation you are dealing with. However, never forget the guiding principle of all time management methods: we all have only 24 hours in a day. The difference is in how you make the most of it.
About the author
John Paul Lama is a junior writer/editor for RareJob Philippines. He has a Master’s degree in Philosophy from Ateneo de Manila University, where he is also currently taking his Master’s degree in Basic Education Teaching. He has a third-degree blackbelt in the International Shotokan Karate Federation and teaches karate to teenagers and children during the weekends. His interests include watching horror movies, watching youtube videos, and working out.