1. Flow technique
Most likely, you have heard about the Pomodoro method a million times. You set a timer, work for 25 minutes, rest for 5 minutes, and after three cycles of “work-rest” take a more extended break of 15-20 minutes and repeat the required number of times.
The Pomodoro technique is an effective and popular way to help yourself focus on things, but it only suits some. Some working timer does not motivate and drives into stress.
Many writers from free essay samples service use an alternative to the usual Pomodoro – the flow technique. It is gentler and considers that people’s productivity is not the same at different times and on other days. Sometimes you can playfully work for 1.5 hours without rest; occasionally, even 15 minutes are tough.
The flow technique also allows you to get to know yourself better, understand when you have more energy and less, and rearrange your schedule based on your peculiarities.
But this approach requires more awareness and discipline: without a timer, it’s easy to get distracted by everything.
How to use it
Record the time at which you start working.
Work for as long as you feel comfortable.
When you need a break, re-record the time to assess how long you’ve been working.
Set a timer for the time interval you need to rest. The main thing here is to stay moderate: you can’t sleep for 3 minutes, and after 3 hours of hanging out on social networks, you won’t want to work anymore.
When the timer rings, return to work and repeat the cycle as often as necessary.
This method is suitable for those with a hard time with rigid time management techniques when things are strictly tied to date and time. In general, it is designed for people with frequent mood changes who can sharply cool down to one task and become passionate about another.
The main idea of autofocus is to engage only in the tasks you want to do right now, or at least those that do not cause sharp resistance.
How to apply
Make yourself three lists: “All Tasks,” “Repetitive Tasks,” and “Canceled Tasks.” You can do this in any format you like: a paper notebook, a Google spreadsheet, a note-taking app, or a task manager.
In the first list, write down everything that needs your attention in the foreseeable future and draw a horizontal line under the last item. All tasks above the line are considered old, and those that you write under it later, respectively, new.
Run your eyes over the list and choose what you want to do now. When you’re done, cross it off the list. If the task is repetitive, such as fitness training, English class, or shopping, move it to the appropriate list. And if, for some reason, the job is no longer relevant, cross it off the list and put it in the “Canceled Tasks”.
Try to work with the old tasks first, and move on to the new ones only when you have completed all of them.
If you can’t do everything but realize that you don’t like any of the old tasks, switch to the new ones and keep looking at the list above the line to cross off all the items slowly.
3. The traffic light method
This is a simple and easy way to divide tasks into urgent and not-so-urgent. It also helps you keep your finger on the pulse and keep your deadlines on track. The traffic light method works exceptionally well with applications where you can create colorful notes and keep them in a visible place, such as the well-known Google Keep.
How to apply
Create three lists: red, yellow, and green.
In the red one, immediately write down the things that need your attention. Add those that need to be done in the next two days in the yellow one. In the green one – all the others.
Make the red list first and only. When all the tasks on it are finished, move on to the yellow and green lists.
Every morning, move some tasks from the yellow list to the red list and from the green to the yellow list.
4. The 10-Minute Rule
You may have already heard of several techniques with the same name. They can be formulated like this:
Take only 10 minutes to complete the task; if it doesn’t take long enough, you can finish it.
If the task takes less than 10 minutes, start it now, without delay.
But there’s another variation on the 10-minute rule. It helps you break down large and complex goals into smaller and more achievable ones. Another significant benefit is that 10-minute plans are relatively easy to manage. So, you’ll have a long, beautiful to-do list in front of you with check marks. And this is very motivating for new feats.
How to use it
Make a list with all the tasks.
Estimate the time to complete each of them. It should take up to 10 minutes.
If it is evident that a task will take longer, divide it into smaller subtasks.