Time management is life management.robin sharma
What do tomatoes, blocks, US President Eisenhower, and a frog have in common? These are the popular Time Management Techniques employed by professionals and students. Can moms use any of these time management techniques too? You bet!
This is an overused and overrated word to describe mothers. Being busy differs from being productive. We can be busy with Netflix and scrolling on social media, with chores (?) and wonder where the time went. Why not pursue productivity instead of busyness? Let’s skim through each time management technique and see what will suit us best.
The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is not an Italian way of cooking tomato sauce. It’s one of the more popular time management techniques business people use today. A student named Francesco Cirillo was having a hard time focusing on his schoolwork. So he set his tomato-shaped timer to 10 minutes and focus on deep work. And that’s where the tomato or Pomodoro technique came from.
How to do it:
- Create your to-do list for your morning, afternoon, and evening schedule.
- Prepare your timer.
- Set your timer to 25 minutes and focus on one task only. No multitasking, please.
- When the timer rings, set it again for 5 minutes and take a break.
- Repeat the process until you have at least 4 chunks of tomatoes or pomodoros. Then, take longer breaks from 10 to 15 minutes.
- Set another task and repeat the method.
If you’re the type who loves to procrastinate and delays actions, the Pomodoro technique can get you out of the rut. The Pomodoro technique helps me in my writing. When used correctly, this time management technique helps me get the job done. Distractions will lure me to dilly dally but when I notice it, I snap out of it and go back to work.
What you need for the Pomodoro technique is a timer. No, you don’t have to look for a tomato-shaped timer like our friend Francesco. A kitchen timer or your phone will do.
As a side note, to complete this blog post, I used the Pomodoro Technique. There were a few distractions, but I focused on writing and I did it! So this time management technique works for me.
Time Blocking Technique
If you loathe multitasking, then Time Blocking might work for you. This time management technique allows you to block off a specific time to work on one task. You can also block time to work on related tasks. It reduces the chance of distraction because you focus on one task at a time at certain times of the day.
If you are a pen-and-paper kind of mom, a printed calendar or a planner would remind you of the tasks for the day. A digital calendar that is set with an alarm is an efficient way to get the job done, too.
There is also task batching where you work on related tasks at a specific time of the day. For example, do your chores in the morning. Set aside time to do the laundry, clean the house, and cook lunch/dinner. So that you don’t have to prepare dinner anymore. Time yourself with these tasks. If you can do them in an hour or two, then set that schedule.
Take note that this is NOT multitasking because you are working on chores only and not on other things. Multitasking is when you do unrelated tasks at the same time. With time blocking, it is one task at a time.
This is an ideal setup if you don’t have babies or kids to care for. The kids come first before chores, of course. But if your kids are older and do not need tight supervision, then time blocking can work for you.
What you need for the Time Blocking technique is a visual aid. You need to see your schedule to keep track of what needs to be done for a block of time. You can also use a timer if you need to.
The Eisenhower Matrix
It was former US President Dwight Eisenhower who was the model for The Eisenhower Matrix. He knew what was urgent and important, which made him an effective leader.
The time management technique categorizes your tasks into four quadrants:
- Urgent and Important
- Not Urgent but Important
- Urgent and Unimportant
- Not Urgent and Unimportant
But how do we know which tasks are urgent or important? Is it all relative? Let’s see what Steven Covey, the author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People says.
Covey defines urgent as tasks that need immediate action. These are issues that need your attention NOW otherwise there will be consequences.
Important tasks contribute to your long-term goals. These matters need careful planning. This is where it becomes subjective. Because what may be important to you may not be important to other people. Important matters reflect your values in life and mirror your goals.
What you need for the Eisenhower Matrix is your priority list. This technique works well with your long-term goals. It wouldn’t hurt if you determine if a task will contribute to your future goals or if it is something for the here and now.
Eat the Frog Technique
Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.Mark twain
Does Mark Twain hate frogs? Why does he want us to eat them? I don’t know about you, but I dislike frogs! In fact, every time it rains in our area, I can hear them croaking their throats out. That is why we are too scared to open our door at night because a huge toad might hop inside to shock us all.
But I am not talking about that frog. Eat the Frog is a time management technique that tells us to do that: do the thing you dread the most!
You need to identify your frog. What is that task that you don’t enjoy doing? It is boring? Is it challenging? Or does it push you out of your comfort zone? Do that thing first thing in the morning. Brian Tracy says ‘eating the frog’ is the best way to gain success, status, respect, and happiness in life.
Do you hate cooking? Then, muster the energy to cook first thing in the morning. When that dreadful chore or task is out of the way, you have a more joyful mood to do the other tasks. All other work seems easier because the hardest part is over.
If you are a work-from-home mom, is answering emails your frog? Or setting up zoom meetings? Set yourself up for success every morning so that you can gobble up your frog and move on. Is Eat the Frog for you?
What you need for the Eat the Frog technique is the resolve to do the hard tasks. The more you avoid them, the longer it would take for you to tick them off your list. Get it done and move on to the next task!
What will suit you?
I mentioned earlier that these time management techniques work in ideal settings. You know when the kids are so well-behaved. Or if you have older children who ignore you lol. But if you are in a season of motherhood where babies and toddlers rule, then you can create your own time management technique. You can be productive in your personalized way.
But if you’re in a more flexible season now, I hope you follow any of the techniques I mentioned. Do you want to know what would best suit you? Take the quiz created by Todoist and see how you can be a productive mom rather than a busy mom.
Have you tried any time management techniques I mentioned? What works for you? Do you have other techniques to add to the list?