Working life

With an increasing amount of distractions, many find it hard to manage the work load.Time management techniques can help us increase our productivity and prioritise tasks.

WE OFTEN find ourselves struggling with deadlines or unable to carry out our daily tasks. We experience a continuous time pressure and a feeling of not being able to meet the expectations demanded from us.

Adding to these external pressures, our distractions have grown exponentially over the years with Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and other social media. Luckily there are a number of time management techniques to increase the efficiency of our work hours and help us have everything done by the end of day.

Dr. Alec Mackenzie, author of The Time Trap, a bestselling book on time management, states, “A daily plan, in writing, is the single most effective time management strategy.” According to Mackenzie, the absence of a plan is likely to result in unproductive time use and mentally wandering around all our tasks. Mackenzie recommends writing a daily plan to guide you, prioritising your tasks and having a backup in case of interruptions. Even though time management might seem like common sense at work, it still requires self-discipline and practice.

Sayings about
time management
• 20% of the average workday
is spent on important
things, while 80% of the
average workday is spent
on things that have little
• One hour of planning will
save 10 hours of doing.
• The average person gets
one interruption every
eight minutes, or approximately
seven an hour.
• It almost always takes
twice as long to complete
a task as what we originally
thought it would take.
• 9 out of 10 people daydream
in meetings.
Source: Productivity Institute

25 min. of pure work

A technique to efficiently manage time while studying or working is Francesco Cirillo’s Pomodoro Technique. During his first year in university Cirillo found himself struggling with exam deadlines and distractions while studying. He got a kitchen timer in a shape of a pomodoro (Italian for tomato) and bet himself to study non-stop for 10 minutes, and that is how he came up with his technique. It later evolved into setting the kitchen timer for 25 minutes of pure work (a Pomodoro), with no interruptions or splitting of time allowed. After the first Pomodoro we take a 3-5 minute break and after four Pomodoros Carillo recommends taking a 15-30 minute break to reorganise our minds. This technique enhances concentration by cutting down interruptions and improves the work and study process.