Time Management – Managing your Instant Messages and Pop-Ups

Pop-ups on our screen are a big distraction, if you’re concentrating and a notification pops up, that distraction can take you nearly thirty minutes to recover from. (Based on research from University of California Irvine)

Checkout this article that links to the study.

If you’re serious about getting through your to-do’s in an efficient and a more issue free manner, then switch off your notifications and snooze the instant messages.

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Switch of your instant chat notifications for the day, see how much better you are able to stay focused on your tasks.


Time Management – Managing your Inbox

Better managing your email inbox can be a great way to avoid distractions.

What can I do, it’s important I see my emails, in case the world is about to end… 🙂 If you feel it is imperative you see some emails, that’s fine, there are still some options.

I presume every email that comes your way does not hold the same importance?!

You can set up some rules to filter the less important emails into different folders that you only check at certain times of the day, this saves you having to be distracted by every email that comes in, important emails will be left in your inbox ready for you to see.

If a new email comes in that has been missed by your rules, and it’s not high priority, set up a new rule to deal with it, right there and then to avoid being distracted again.

Try This

As a first pass, add all your emails to a single folder with a rule, that are not marked as high priority, and only check them at certain times of the day. (See if anyone comes chasing)


Time Management – Reassess your Day

After spending time planning and prioritising your day, it’s only right you take another look to reassess.

If something came up, that trumped all your plans, then it is time to reassess. This can involve removing some items, you expected to get done or maybe re-prioritising somethings.

The strategy of planning your day, is to leave you with a sense of satisfaction, getting done, what you planned to can do this

Even if there is a major interruption from unexpected things, reassessing leaves you in control and knowing what should get done.

Even if your day goes in a completely different direction, you can still feel some sense of control, knowing you planned, reassessed and that the real interruptions were responsible for the non-completion of your tasks.

You will have to feel the interruptions out, gauging whether they trump your planned tasks, turning people away, if you have planned priority tasks is OK, don’t feel you have to be at peoples beck and call.

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Try to maintain your expected items to what you feel you can get done with the remaining time in the day. E.g. If you get interruptions, remove an item.


Time Management – Talking & Thinking

Do you account for talking and thinking about your work each day?

When you plan your day, some of the work you have to do, may involve having to talk to other people and/or thinking about the task in hand.

You should account for this time, previously, I have read that as little as two to three hours of coding is actually done per day, in between interruptions, coffee breaks, meetings, toilet trips, etc.

The book by Jon Sonmez “Soft Skills: The software developer’s life manual

Research has suggested as much as fifty percent of your day can be used talking and thinking about work, so plan for it, don’t think you will just be sat, writing code or doing whatever you feel is the main part of your work.

Try This

Have you ever heard of the Pomodoro technique? Find yourself a Pomodoro app or a website and see how many uninterrupted sessions you get done each day for a week or so.


Time Management – Keeping Track of your Tasks

Writing a checklist is great for some people, but they can become large and difficult to maintain, transferring items and shuffling them around can get messy.

I suggest you find a to-do app that suits your needs, I use Todoist on my phone, there is a paid version but the free features allow me to do what I want.

Every time I think of something to add, I do it straightaway and select no date, when I am ready to plan my day, I can look at the available tasks and there are buttons for “Today” and “Tomorrow” or use the calendar, you get a day view or the next seven days, things like that, I like it.

Find something that suits the way you want to work, as long as you can organise your day, efficiently and without hassle, it doesn’t need to be all bells and whistles.

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Find an app that you can add your tasks into, view tasks for the day and maybe set some priorities, if you need them.


Time Management – Priorities your Work

Listing what you what you have to do in the day can help you see if you have too much on.

if you think your list is looking rather long, then, it is time to priorities.

Priorities, Priorities, Priorities…

You may have some stuff that just has more priority than another item on your list, but, if there is a job that you don’t really want to do and the other things can wait, do the one you don’t really want to do first.

Leaving an item from your list, that you don’t really want to do, means it will be playing on your mind, so get it done and feel good, knowing it has gone from your list

Getting your list right, may come from a little bit of trial an error, but if you think you have too much to do in the day and any of that involves anyone else, give them a heads-up that you may not be able to fit them in, sooner rather than later.

Try This

Give the items on your list a score out of five, five being the most important and then work through you list in order of priority.


Time Management – Planning your Day Before it Begins

Planning your day can help you feel much more productive and satisfied.

Plan your day at a time that best suits your current schedule.

Opportunities to Plan your Day

  • Take five minutes whilst in bed.
  • Just before you finish your work day.
  • During your morning commute. (if your not in charge of the vehicle :))

Whatever time suits you best, make sure you make it a routine, pick a time and do it everyday at that time.

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For this first step, don’t be concerned with other things, do the list items below now. 🙂 just write the top three things down that you would like to get done for the day.

  • Pick the time that best suits you.
  • Set a reminder for your chosen time for the next day.
  • Write down the top three impact full things.
  • Try to get those things done first.