3 tips to get the right things done in these busy months

I’m firefighting the whole day and don’t find any time for that strategic project for next year.
I feel like I’m on a hamster wheel and at the end of the day my to-do list isn’t any shorter.
I haven’t been to my pottery class for a couple of weeks now.

Just a few quotes from my clients this week.

Q4 is often a super busy period for many of us.
If you don’t pay attention to managing your time wisely, you may fall in the urgency trap and get nothing done that is important to you.

Here are 3 tips to get the right things done in these busy months.
Time management tips I benefit a lot from personally, and I’ve shared with my clients as well:

Prioritize your activities

The Eisenhower matrix is a great tool to prioritize your activities based on their urgency and importance. It consists of four quadrants, and you categorize your tasks into these four quadrants:

1.     Urgent and Important -> DO
Things with clear deadlines and consequences for not taking immediate action.
2.     Important but Not Urgent -> PLAN
Activities without a set deadline that bring you closer to your goals.
3.     Urgent but Not Important -> DELEGATE
Things that need to be done but don’t require your specific skills.
4.     Not Urgent and Not Important -> ELIMINATE
Disctractions that make you feel bad afterward.

The quadrant where you should ideally be spending most of your time is ‘Plan’. But, what I often hear back from clients is that a lot of the tasks end up in the ‘Do’ quadrant. Mainly because they find it difficult to say ‘no’ to colleagues (for whom these tasks are urgent and important) or delegate activities.

Eat the frog

This is a time management principle that suggests tackling your most important or challenging task (the ‘frog’) as the first thing you do in your day.

If you start your day by completing your most dreaded task, the rest of the day will seem easier, and you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment.

(Source: Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy)

Work in focused intervals

Get more done in less time with the Pomodoro Technique:

  • Pick one task. For example, one that is urgent or that you’ve been postponing.
  • Set a timer for 25 minutes and get to work. Don’t allow yourself to be disturbed by anything.
  • When the buzzer sounds, take a two-to-three-minute break. Enough time to give your brain some rest (get a cup of coffee, go to the toilet etc.).
  • Put a check mark on paper.
  • Start a new Pomodoro of 25 minutes.
  • Go on until you’ve finished 4 Pomodoros (2 hours of work) and take a longer break.

With these simple steps you’ll get more done in less time. And the experience is much better than if you’re for example behind a complicated excel sheet for 50 minutes at a time.

Have fun experimenting yourself and if you have a technique that works well for you please share it with me, so we can learn from each other!