It’s never easy changing up the way you work. If you want to make the most out of time blocking, follow these tips.
People are different, so what works for you may not work for someone else. Still, there are some guidelines that can help you in prioritising your work and answering questions about your time management skills.
1. Make your to-do list.
Listing on paper what you want to accomplish for the day is an effective way to remember the things you need to do. It can be a weekly to-do list, but daily ones are more effective. Write your list on a notepad, starting with the important tasks and then adding the less important ones.
2. Rank your to-do list.
After writing your tasks on a notepad, rank them from the most important to the least. Rewrite your list on another page, and make sure that your handwriting is legible. Tip: Did you know that usually bigger fonts can motivate you to complete the task more than small fonts?
3. Post your to-do list.
Put your to-do list somewhere you can always see it: on your planner or calendar, in your wallet or purse, mobile phone (type it in your memo section), or on the board in your classroom or office. If you always see the list, you’ll never forget that you have something to do.
4. Note your responsibilities.
Type or write in bullet-points some notes about your reminder. For example, you can write the exact time when you have to finish the task, materials that you need for the task, or the name of the person that you’re about to meet (if the task is a meeting). Notes are especially important for people who forget things easily.
5. Avoid unnecessary tasks.
When you’re done writing your to-do list for the day/week, try to analyse the less important task/s in terms of whether you really need to do it/them. If so, then you may need to adjust your schedule for the day; if not, then you can allocate more time for the other tasks or you can just take that opportunity to rest.
6. Set realistic deadlines.
When you’re working on something and a deadline was set, set your own deadline ahead of the deadline that you've been given. However, set realistic ones. Don’t try to rush yourself just to finish it earlier. Take everything one step at a time and don't set yourself up for failure.
This is also applicable for your everyday work. Don’t overwhelm yourself. You don’t want to force yourself to finish something and then suffer the consequences of a poor lesson.
7. Set your break time.
Working all day with no break is not fun. If you’re already tired, take a break. There’s nothing wrong with a 10- to 15-minute food break or a quick nap. Drink coffee when you need or want to. Stretch when your body feels cramped.
8. Put away distractions.
In this modern world, a lot of things can distract us from doing our work. These include camera phones, mobile devices, gadgets, the World Wide Web (especially Facebook and Twitter), and many more. How are you supposed to finish your work if you spend your time on these things?
Put away the things that distract you. Don’t check your inbox every minute; you can do this during your breaks from work or schedule time slots in your day to check. Once you learn to pay less attention to these things, getting the job done will be much easier.
The key to productivity is good time management. Prioritising is difficult but is also essential if you want to get things done. Aside from being more efficient and productive, it will also help you alleviate stress in your life. Learning how to prioritise is not an impossible task; you just have to determine what needs to be done and how much time you need to do it.
Tracking your time will obviously make you more aware of where your minutes go throughout the day. But even more importantly, tracking your time allows you to identify the activities that are misusing, or wasting, your time.
Procrastination is a habit – a deeply ingrained pattern of behaviour. This means that you probably can't break it overnight. Habits only stop being habits when you avoid practicing them, so try as many of the strategies, below, as possible to give yourself the best possible chance of succeeding.
You might be putting off a task because you've had to re-prioritize your workload. If you're briefly delaying an important task for a genuinely good reason, then you aren't necessarily procrastinating. However, if you start to put things off indefinitely, or switch focus because you want to avoid doing something, then you probably are.
You need to understand the reasons why you are procrastinating before you can begin to tackle it.
For instance, are you avoiding a particular task because you find it boring or unpleasant? If so, take steps to get it out of the way quickly, so that you can focus on the aspects of your job that you find more enjoyable.
Some of these methods are less easy in teaching, but for example, if marking your books or planning at the end of the day is a drag, then when are you more likely to be able to tackle these tasks?
The ABC Method is a powerful priority setting technique that you can use every single day. This technique is so simple and effective that it can, all by itself, make you one of the most efficient and effective people in your field.
The power of this technique lies in its simplicity. Here’s how it works: You start with a list of everything you have to do for the coming day. Think on paper. You then place an A, B, or C before each item on your list before you begin the first task.
An “A” item is defined as something that is very important. This is something that you must do. This is a task for which there can be serious consequences if you do it or fail to do it, like visiting a key customer or finishing a report for your boss that she needs for an upcoming board meeting. These are the 'frogs' of your life.
If you have more than one “A” task, you prioritise these tasks by writing A-1, A-2, A-3, and so on in front of each item. Your A-1 task is your biggest, ugliest 'frog' of all.
A “B” item is defined as a task that you should do. But it only has mild consequences. These are the tadpoles of your work life. This means that someone may be unhappy or inconvenienced if you don’t do it, but it is nowhere as important as an “A” task. Returning an unimportant telephone message or reviewing your email would be a “B” task. The rule is that you should never do a “B” task when there is an “A” task left undone. You should never be distracted by a tadpole when there is a big frog sitting there waiting to be eaten.
A “C” task is defined as something that would be nice to do, but for which there are no consequences at all, whether you do it or not. “C” tasks include phoning a friend, having coffee or lunch with a coworker or completing some personal business during work hours. This sort of activity has no affect at all on your work life.
After you have applied the ABC Method to your list, you will now be completely organised and ready to get more important things done faster.
The key to making this ABC Method work is for you to now discipline yourself to start immediately on your “A-1” task and then stay at it until it is complete. Use your willpower to get going and stay going on this one job, the most important single task you could possibly be doing. Eat the whole frog and don’t stop until its finished completely.
Your ability to think through, analyse your work list and determine your “A-1” task is the springboard to higher levels of accomplishment, and greater self-esteem, self-respect and personal pride.
When you develop the habit of concentrating on your “A-1,” most important activity, you will start getting more done than any two or three people around you.
Review you work list right now and put an A, B, or C next to each task or activity. Select your A-1 job or project and begin on it immediately. Discipline yourself to do nothing else until this one job is complete.
Practice this ABC Method every day and on every work or project list, before you begin work, for the next month. By that time, you will have developed the habit of setting and working on your highest priority tasks and your future will be assured!
Taken from Brian Tracy.com
The 80 20 rule is also called the “Pareto Principle.” It was named after it’s founder, the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, back in 1895. He noticed that people in society seemed to divide naturally into what he called the “vital few,” or the top 20 percent in terms of money and influence, and the “trivial many,” or the bottom 80 percent.
Later, he discovered that virtually all economic activity was subject to this principle, in that 80 percent of the wealth of Italy during that time was controlled by 20 percent of the population.
We can take Pareto’s 80 20 rule and apply it to almost any situation. Understanding the principle is essential to learning how to prioritise your tasks, days, weeks, and months.
The Pareto Principle is a concept that suggests two out of ten items, on any general to-do list, will turn out to be worth more than the other eight items put together.
The sad fact is that most people procrastinate on the top 10 or 20 percent of items that are the most valuable and important, the “vital few,” and busy themselves instead with the least important 80 percent, the “trivial many,” that contribute very little to their success.
You often see people who appear to be busy all day long but seem to accomplish very little. This is almost always because they are busy working on tasks that are of low value while they are procrastinating on the one or two activities that could make a real difference to their working day.
The most valuable tasks you can do each day are often the hardest and most complex, but the payoff and rewards for completing them can be tremendous.
Before you begin work, always ask yourself, “Is this task in the top 20 percent of my activities or in the bottom 80 percent?”
The rule for this is: resist the temptation to clear up small things first.
If you choose to start your day working on low-value tasks, you will soon develop the habit of always starting and working on low-value tasks.
Taken from Brian Tracy.com
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