Time management for beginners and a couple of applications that will help with this

    Today, the problem of combating laziness and the theme of time management resulting from it are extremely relevant. Almost everyone has unlimited access to educational materials for every taste, can work remotely, and indeed live in any convenient rhythm. The only thing that remains unresolved is where to find the time for all this, so that there is still sleep.



    In this article we will discuss the issue of planning and time management, what it gives, and also see how it can be implemented in real life by those who have not seriously dealt with it. Go

    There are many good and globally recognized time planning and management techniques, such as Allen’s “Getting Things Done” or Covey’s “Focus”. I will not go into details and delve into any of them, but instead try to collect and generalize this topic in order to begin to put it into practice without reading long books.

    So, what leads us to the need to keep track of our own time?
    It often happens that there is work, the tasks are specific, but to do everything you need somehow does not work. A working day passes, the planned things have not been done and the tasks have not been completed, although it would seem that there is enough time.
    Today, this is most often associated with procrastination, or with laziness, or with an incorrect distribution of time. One way or another, the problem exists and it is quite real, so let's try to dig a little deeper.

    Reasons for wasting time


    There can be many reasons, but most of them can be divided into groups. Each of them in itself is a factor preventing the proper allocation of temporary resources.
    1. insufficient motivation - this usually happens when it is necessary to carry out an uninteresting, routine work, or if the execution of a certain task was delayed due to some related factors, or when the task itself is unclear and foggy
    2. incorrect prioritization - often a situation arises when a person has, as a rule, one or two basic and a number of small tasks. For example, in addition to the main task - to analyze and fix a bug in the program - you also need to answer in the mail, go through some internal survey, book a meeting room for the rally for the next week, and choose a movie to go there in the evening. And when you have to keep all these in mind, it is very difficult to focus on something specific.
    3. distractions - various little things that take attention away from work and interfere with concentration. It can be something entertaining in nature (for example, a new article on the Habré), or something related to the workflow, but distracting from the current task. For example, in addition to the main task, you need to collect some list of documents that were stored a long time ago somewhere on the hard drive, and some, possibly on a flash drive. Or, a newsletter came in the mail with a survey and marked “urgently.” All these seemingly mundane working moments, which, nevertheless, negate all concentration.
    4. lack of long-term planning - this refers to some serious goals, for example - learning a new language. Everything seems to be simple, but since there is no clear plan and more accurate description of the composite tasks, the actions themselves are in no hurry to be carried out, postponed and rethought indefinitely.


    Without going into the intricacies of any particular planning system, we can distinguish common features that correspond to several groups of goals:
    • short-term goals are things you can do right now. Often - atomic actions, for the solution of which you need to spend not so much time - no more than a working day. For example, it can be viewing a boring but obligatory webinar, or writing documentation.
    • long-term goals - something that consists of a set of sequential actions and requiring much more time. More complicated than the previous one due to the fact that at each stage a person can stall for one reason or another and not go any further. The simplest example is the stages of application development (if we consider the simplest option) - task setting, development, test, application launch, etc. These stages are simpler atomic actions, which themselves are relatively simple, but together form a complex logical and temporal structure.
    • strategic goals - this is how one can characterize really very long-term tasks aimed at fulfilling any global goals. Examples are learning a foreign language, moving to another city, getting an MBA, taking a startup to self-sufficiency, etc. The difficulty is that the goal, although clear, does not offer any obvious action to solve it, and the whole process looks very vague.


    To solve the problems associated with the implementation of each group of tasks, time planning is used. Depending on the complexity of the tasks and the scale of the context of their implementation, planning techniques can vary greatly.
    In this article, instead of diving into the abyss of theoretical foundations, or telling entertaining stories about how successful people do 20 things to plan their time, I will talk about ways to plan and do this planning. Namely, about programs and applications that will help put this load of worries and troubles out of your head and put them in the head of a soulless piece of iron.



    Short term goals


    The main problems in solving the corresponding problems are the inability to allocate time for each of them, poor concentration, and forgetfulness. This can be avoided by clearly defining when and for how long to complete each of them.
    1. Pomodoro is a time and concentration management technique that focuses on dividing time into equal lengths designed for work and short breaks for rest between them. It helps a lot to increase concentration by working calmly, without being distracted by these of your Internet, knowing that after 25 minutes you can five minutes to look at the cats “legally”. It also helps a lot to distribute the time between several tasks. There are many applications of different functionality, I personally use ClockworkTomato ( Android )
    2. Lists of tasks - help not to forget anything and abstract the tasks themselves from methods of their implementation. Suitable for cases not tied to time - for example, buy a chocolate bar, call a friend, etc. There are a thousand applications of various kinds, I personally use GTasks ( Android ), which are synchronized with Google Task. Many also use Remember the Milk , which is for both platforms, but I did not like it.
    3. Calendars are for cases that are tightly tied to time and have a duration. For example, meetings, meetings, and the like. It sounds corny, but many neglect this simple tool. I use aCalendar ( Android ), which also syncs with Google, but has a very user-friendly interface compared to the standard calendar. There is also Sunrise , which supports both mobile OS.




    Long term goals


    Here the problem is to build the structure of the goal and everything that relates to it in one way or another. This may be plans for the implementation of tasks of each stage, as well as the streamlining and implementation of access to all related documents and files.
    1. Cloud data storages and office - very often there is a situation when you need access to some document, but it remained on the computer in the office. Or you want to keep everything at hand in a well-thought-out folder system, where all the data you need is easy to find. Despite the apparent obviousness, this saves a lot of time and avoids problems when the desired file is somewhere “lost”, or “I can see it at work tomorrow”. Be mobile! Keep everything important in the cloud, preferably with the ability to edit. For this I use Google Drive and Docs and a bit of Dropbox. In Docs, it’s very convenient to make various office files, like tablets and documentation, and then share them with the right people without having to send heavy attachments. Even for simple management suits. Well, a couple of times it really helped me out that an important document was available when I was not clear where with just one phone.
    2. Note storage services - there are always articles on the Internet that are interesting to read now or useful to view later. But either now there is no time for them, or you don’t want to forget about them when the information is needed next time - anyway, you get a situation that every housewife can see - a browser with 50+ open tabs. Here services like Evernote and Pocket come to the rescue , allowing you to save and organize everything you need to return to it at any time from any device, and the browser remains clean. Actually, the first is also suitable for organizing documents related to any task.




    Strategic goals


    For such tasks, it is characteristic that they are presented as a very abstract idealized ultimate goal. However, neither the steps to achieve it, nor the timing of their implementation have been determined, or are completely unknown. To get the result, you need, firstly, to determine the specific sequence of actions, secondly, to outline the timeframe for their implementation, thirdly - to determine the resources necessary for the implementation of each of the steps, in the fourth - throughout all time, do not lose motivation for the implementation of everything planned . There is little choice, but something was found.
    1. Multilevel Bucket-List - each goal is actually written, its stages and means are signed, and then it is hung out in a prominent place in the apartment or is recorded on the phone. If you pay attention to this list every day, then this may be enough, although not too convenient.
    2. Tools for achieving goals - the main benefit of such things (in addition to organizing everything from the previous paragraph) - is the motivation that arises when you place your goal somewhere other than your head - you begin to feel responsible for its achievement. Here you can recommend SmartProgress - in addition to documenting goals, there are many more interesting features, like goal templates and a social element. An interesting project and a fairly convenient site, as well as a client for iOS .


    Conclusion


    Thus, I tried to generalize somewhat the various techniques of managing temporary resources, and also gave here a list of where to start, without delving into aspects of any individual practices. I deliberately did not give more examples, but suggested general solutions - for solving more specific problems, everyone will choose the most convenient tools for himself.

    If you use some kind of tool that allows you to manage plans as a time lord, write about it in the comments and I will add it to the list.

    Only registered users can participate in the survey. Please come in.

    Do you use time management software?

    • 53.1% yes of course it's convenient 50
    • 13.8% no, I still remember 13
    • 17% no, I do not plan anything 16
    • 15.9% did not use, but now wanted 15

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