In times of self-isolation, a paradox is often observed. It seems that there is more free time, and it has become almost more difficult to keep up with everything. Many still manage work issues, but the home office regime is rarely conducive to productivity. And the immutability of the situation only exacerbates the situation. It’s time to dust off your time management notes. Consider a system based on two Google mobile applications: Calendar and Keep . They are free, cross-platform and quite sufficient for such a task. Go.
Goal setting is the foundation and starting point of a time management system. All methods and tools of such a system are sharpened to achieve goals. Therefore, you need to approach this issue with all seriousness, otherwise there will be little sense in time management. Goals can be set for any period of time:
for life (write a book, win an Oscar, fly into space);
for 10–20 years (become a minister, have three children, learn to sing);
for several years (learn a language, get a sports category, build a house).
These are global goals that set motion vectors. Write them down and refer to them as an additional motivator. For current time management, shorter time intervals are used. In general, the choice of planning horizon is an individual matter. In this system, the following representations of goals are offered:
long-term – a year;
mid-term – quarter;
short-term – a week;
If there are no quarterly plans in the work, then a month can be assigned as an average period or not considered at all. When formulating goals, especially long-term goals, pay attention to the SMART methodology (Smart).
More details with examples here . This will require additional efforts, but it is important to achieve the goals – whatever you call the ship, so it will float.
Divide the complete list of goals into categories. This is necessary for the further operation of the system and contributes to a better visual perception. An example with English category names:
Work – everything related to the main work;
Family – family affairs;
Housekeeping – economic affairs;
Business – entrepreneurship and freelance;
Profylaxis – personal health and sports;
Car – auto;
Self-development – self-development;
Research – research activities;
Other – the rest.
Lots of options. This list is provided for illustrative purposes. You can also read here . Further, when assigning target IDs, capital letters of the names will be used, so come up with names so that they do not repeat. Create a separate calendar for each category and assign your own color. To do this, open Google Calendar in your browser.
Inside calendars, useful notification and sharing settings are available. Colleagues will be able to clarify when the meeting is, and you will not forget about the children’s party brought by your wife.
Let’s go to Keep. Starting from this stage, we pick up a smartphone.
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Create shortcuts for all mentioned categories plus one for daily tasks. In the screenshot, this is ToDo.
Now we can enter annual goals into the system. Make them large enough and not too many, from experience, no more than twenty. Estimated implementation time for each of them is at least a week. How to understand that the list is complete? Imagine that the year is over and everything is done – you should have complete satisfaction.
In each Keep category, create a list-style “Goals for the Year” note of the corresponding color.
Write a summary list of annual goals in a note like ToDo and also highlight it in color. At the same time, assign an identifier to each goal in the form of a capital letter of the category and a serial number.
So, the general list is ready. It is useful to duplicate it on paper and subsequently make it traditional to sum up the results on a cozy winter evening at the end of the year.
From general to specific. Detail your goals
It is necessary to move from long-term goals to short-term ones. Here, a “direct” transition from year to week is possible, or through medium-term goals. Decompose the goals in each category. To do this, create colored notes with a title as an identifier. List the subgoals. The planned time expenditure of each of them is a week. Set a due date for each item. If there are dependencies on the fulfillment of another subgoal, no deadline is set. In a note, generate a reminder according to the closest date you have entered.
If there are too many subgoals, then create several larger ones, for example, with a quarterly horizon. Add a serial number to the identifier in the name (for the given purpose, you get H11, H12, H13, H14).
The resulting detail is the source of the weekly goals. When planning for the week, go to Keep in the “Reminders” tab and check which of the reminders fall on the upcoming week. Go to these notes and copy those sub-goals that you have to close in the next seven days.
The weekly plan is the cornerstone of this planning system. In Keep, it is identified by a number, labeled with a ToDo label, highlighted in color, and pinned to the top of the screen. It already has projections of global goals, add current tasks and you’re done.
There are two types of time management people: those who make a plan for the day the night before and those who do it early in the morning. It is drawn up similarly to the plan for the week, only without highlighting. If you’re afraid of forgetting, you can create a daily morning note to remind you to check in with your plan. And drink more water. By the way, such a note is integrated into a separate Reminders calendar.
Of course, at the end of the day, all the checkboxes must be checked and the plan sent to the archive. Otherwise, unfulfilled items are deleted (for a good reason) or transferred to the next day, starting the formation of a snowball. If there are a lot of points left, the note can be copied, and the old one can be cleaned and archived.
To prevent this from happening, better plan your day. Remember the Calendar. There are strictly scheduled events – they know the start time and, as a rule, the duration. Such events should be included in the plan in the first place. Any trips, webinars, videoconferencing, preparing materials, writing code, etc. Even if the event is not coming soon, be sure to add it.
Many organizers, when sending invitations, provide them with a link to add to the calendar. Take advantage of this opportunity, just remember to select the desired category and reminders.
Another type of events is flexible. For such activities and tasks, the time costs are usually approximately understandable. They “slide” with the flow of the day, avoiding crossing the thresholds of rigid plans. Grab tasks from a pinned note in Keep and place them on the battlefield of your day. In the calendar, you can not mark all the small tasks, but mark them as “actions according to the plan.”
Everything is planned. It’s time to go on the offensive. By screws!
Record and record everything
As the old military saying goes, the sharpest memory is dumber than the dullest pencil. Moreover, it is convenient to do this in Keep – add photos and links, dictate or sketch diagrams by hand. Any thoughts, insights, recommendations. Label helpful notes with a label and target ID if the content is relevant to the target. Subsequently, you can easily find the necessary material by these tags in the search.
Pay attention to reflection – the analysis of the stages passed. Recording in Keep and viewing calendar events will help with this. It is convenient to do this at the end of the week before making a weekly plan.