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Time management methods

Time management is the process of planning and exercising conscious control of time spent on specific activities, with the aim to increase efficiency, and productivity. It’s about achieving your goals in the limited time that you do have, and doing so in the most effective way possible, while also focusing on your quality of life.

In this guide, we’ll cover what the 3 main time management methods are, and how monday.com can help you achieve them to more effectively manage your time and day-to-day! 

The use case we will focus on today is event management, where we’ll be planning the monday.com End of the Year Event. We’ll see how this event can be best planned using the different methods. 

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Method 1 - Eisenhower’s Matrix

What is Eisenhower’s Matrix

This is a method of prioritizing your tasks on the basis of their urgency. It helps to determine the activities which are important and the ones which are not deserving of your complete attention. Prioritizing tasks by urgency and importance results in 4 quadrants, each one with different work strategies.

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This method prioritizes tasks in the following way:

  • Group 1: Urgent and important tasks should be done first
  • Group 2: Not urgent and important tasks can be scheduled in your calendar
  • Group 3: Urgent but not important tasks can be delegated to other team members to make sure they stick to the deadline.
  • Group 4: Not urgent and not important tasks simply shouldn’t be done. This group allows you to find the tasks standing in the way of fulfilling other necessary tasks.

 

Tip: First define what urgent and important mean to you. For us, urgent is any task with a deadline within the next week, while not urgent are tasks that are further into the future.

 

 

How can I implement this method in monday.com?

  • List what needs to get done

Start out by listing all the tasks that need to get done for your specific event - this can be from the smallest to the largest task that you need to get done.

 

  • Group your Tasks by Related Projects, Departments, or Phases 

Once you’ve jotted down all your tasks, start organizing them by grouping together all tasks relating to a specific project, planning phase or departments. In our case, we’ve grouped our tasks on a weekly basis to show which tasks need to get done every week leading up to the event. 

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  • Define Impact 

Impact can be determined by multiple different factors depending on the task at hand. With so many tasks needing to be handled, defining their impact on the company, the team or the client will help determine whether it needs to be done as soon as possible or can wait until a later stage.

To define the impact, simply add the status column to your board and customize it to reflect the Impact. You can easily edit the labels of the column to show the relevant impact levels.

  

  • Define Quadrants

As with the impact column, we can use the status column to set the Quadrant that each task belongs to.

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  • Assign Ownership of Tasks

When moving a project forward, it’s vital to delegate tasks out team members and give them ownership of these tasks. 

Monday.com embraces ownership and accountability through the People’s column where you can simply add a team member who will be responsible for this task’s completion. Because this End of the Year Event is a huge project, it’s going to require collaboration from many team members from different departments so assigning tasks to different members is really helpful in making sure each person is aware and on top of what needs to get done.

 

  • Use the Advanced Board Filter to stay focused on what’s important!

With so much info on the boards, and so many to do’s, just defining the quadrant isn’t going to be enough to cut out all the noise and get down to business. To do so, the Advanced boards filters can be very helpful. 

With this feature, you can create a Saved View for each one of the Quadrants making it easier to stay focused on what’s important and get all the tasks done. 

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  • Add the Chart View to gain deeper insights

For big projects, it’s always useful to see all the information on a high level, to gain a better understanding and for planning later on. Charts View is one of our many amazing views that can be added to each board to break down any information, as well as visualize the data in another form. With the Chart View, we can get a glance of the percentage of tasks in each quadrant from the full task list, as seen below.

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  • Automate your workflow

Automations allow you to remove some of the manual work you and your teams are doing, and automate these processes saving you time and effort. There are many types of automations that can be used to improve your workflow. Check some of them out below:

1. Get reminder notifications whenever a status is not Done yet, and the deadline is approaching. 

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2. Have an automation to move a task to a Done group once it’s been completed. This way, when a task is done it will automatically move to a Done group allowing you a sense of relief seeing your tasks list getting smaller and smaller! 

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Note: You can also set up your board so that each group is a Quadrant and move the relevant tasks into each respective group. Our automations can help you with that too ;)

 

 

Method 2: Time Blocking 

What is this method? 

Time blocking is the practice of planning out every moment of your day in advance and dedicating specific time “blocks” for certain tasks and responsibilities. The simple reason why time blocking works is that it’s designed for focus.

The human brain needs boundaries at work in order to maximize the time available and work as efficiently as possible. By scheduling every part of day you’re not only guarded against distraction but you also multiply your focus. 

In order to effectively implement this method in a practical way, it can be broken down into three stages:

  • Planning in advance -including the big and small tasks, professional and private tasks
  • Create a Template of your Work day/week
  • Leave a buffer zone for unpredicted tasks and necessary breaks!

 

How can I implement this method in monday.com? 

  • Set up your board with all tasks

Make sure to include a list of ALL tasks needed to get done, including your professional and private tasks. Then, you can group the board in the same way as done in the Eisenhower Matrix Method, by weeks, depending on which tasks need to get done that week.


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  • Create Templates with Recurring Tasks

At the bottom of your board, you can keep a generic template group which you can simply duplicate weekly, and start assigning the tasks to your team members. Such examples can include lunch and workouts which recur weekly. 

With the help of our automations, you can make sure this group recurs weekly, without doing a thing. To do so, add the following automation to your board and that’s it!recu.png

Tip: You can template an entire board with important To-Do’s for every event. To learn more, check this out.

  

 

  • Add the Calendar View

The Calendar View will enable you to visualize your tasks in a calendar format for that day, week, month or year. The Calendar View will be based on the date and timeline columns on your board, so make sure to include columns with all important dates on the board. Then, you can simply work directly from the Calendar View to see exactly what's coming up next on your to-do list.

cal.pngTo learn more about all available views you can add to your board, check this out

 

  • Track the actual time

 While time blocking calls for you to set aside a certain number of hours to focus on specific tasks, getting the tasks done may take more or less time. In order to better estimate and plan the amount of time it will take to put together the events, and how many team members would be optimal to have, you can add a Time Tracking Column.

Team members can start and stop these timers either by manually starting it whenever they are working on their tasks or by automating this process with monday.com automations.

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To set up these automations, go to the Automations center on the board and search for “time tracking”. You can add the following automation to make sure that the time tracking automatically records your team’s time spent on the tasks.


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By automating this, team members no longer need to add another task to their already jam-packed day, and the time tracking will happen for them. To learn about our other automations, check this out.

 

 

Method 3: Eat The Frog 

What is this method?

Eat the frog is a metaphor that refers to identifying one crucial task for that day, and doing it first. This method’s motto: Tackle your Most Important Tasks (MITs) first thing! If you eat the frog in the morning, nothing worse can happen for the rest of the day 🐸

As with the first two methods, planning is essential in effective time management. Let’s take a look at how we can implement this using monday.com.

 

How can I implement this method in monday.com?

  • Create a high level overview of your tasks

First things first, create a high level overview board of all main tasks that need to get done for any specific time period. In our case, we’ll create an overview board consisting of all the main tasks that need to get done leading up to the event grouped by months.

High level boards are really helpful to gain a quick overview of everything that’s going on, without honing in on the small details.This is great for project managers and team leads who don’t necessarily need to be involved on a micro level but rather macro level.

 

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  •  Pick your battles (choose your MITs)

Yes, every task is important, but realistically, you can’t get everything done in one day. To make this time management method work, you’re going to need to be assertive and choose only one crucial task that needs to get done on every given day of the work-week. 

After skimming through your High Level board, you can create a low level board to help you manage the granular steps needed to get the tasks done. On this second board, each group will be an MIT of each day, and each item will be a certain subtask of that MIT.

 

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  •  Add in the details (Status, Priority, Owners)

With the help of the Status column, you can set the priorities of each subtask, as well as the current status for that task. You can also add a People column to the board and assign each small task to different members of the organizing team. There’s nothing like providing some ownership to get tasks done!

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  •  Set Deadlines that actually work!

Using the Date column, you can set a due date for each individual task. Setting a due date ensures alignment among all team members working on the task and is important to make sure the task gets done in time. 

As we saw earlier, you can add in Due Date reminder automations which will automatically remind you when a due date is approaching, and the priority is high. This way, you’ll always stay on top of what’s coming up the following day, and help you stay focused. 


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  •  Link up your High Level to your Low Level Board

While the High level board is used for a quick overview of the main tasks needed to get done, and the low level is used for the more day-to-day handling of the tasks, it’s important to ensure that these boards are linked, and that you aren’t spending time updating two similar boards. 

This can be done using the link to item column and mirror column

The link to item column is great simply for linking together related items from different boards, and the mirror column will allow you to reflect information from the low level board to the high level. 

In our case, the most important column that we’re going need to link to the high level board, is the status column from our low level board.

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This will help us when looking at our high level board to see where all tasks stand, and plan “which frog we’ll eat next” 🐸

 

More tips

Just before we set you on your way to manage your time more efficiently, check out these last few tips!

  • Maximise Your Personal Power - Identify your periods of highest mental and physical energy each day, and structure your most important and demanding tasks around these times.
  • Slice And Dice The Task - Break large, complex tasks into smaller, manageable pieces, and then do one small part of the task to get started.
  • Don’t overlook any task  -For each task, set priorities and try to complete it before moving on to the next MIT.
  • Schedule in your breaks - Make sure you set aside time throughout the day for a quick stretch or walk to give your brain (and your eyes) a rest.
  • Give yourself a buffer zone when blocking out times (at least in the start) - Some tasks may take longer than expected. Planning for this in advance can make reaching your goals more realistic.
  • Revise as needed - be prepared to make changes. Having a structure is great but when unexpected tasks arrive, being able to accommodate these is key!

 

Tip: Combining some of these methods together can be extra powerful! Give it a shot!

 

Go ahead and get started managing your time better using monday.com!

 

If you have any questions at all, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]