There are so many time management systems and techniques around – and I’ve tried nearly all of them. Have any of them changed my life? No, because I am struggling to find the discipline to stick to any of them.
One of the time management system’s that I use from time to time is Brian Tracy’s ‘Eat that Frog’. In homage to Brian Tracy, here is the frog’s guide to time management.
‘Eat that Frog’
This system devised by Brian Tracy is based around the central assumption that what’s the worst thing you could do? Eat a frog. Therefore, if you eat the ‘frog’ first, then everything else you need to do will be easy by comparison. The ‘frog’ in this instance, is the task, which you have been procrastinating over and willingly ignoring doing.
‘Getting things done’ or GTD
This is a system devised by David Allen, which assumes that if you survey, categorise and prioritise all the frogs you can find, you will then have the mental capacity to get on with the stuff that needs to get done. Everytime you think of a frog, i.e. something that you need to get done, you write it down and schedule/prioritise when you next need to think about it. This way, you always have a clear head to get on with today’s priorities. To help you with your scheduling you may find this tip helpful: Tip: Under estimate the small stuff and over estimate the big stuff’
The pomodoro technique
This technique is based on the assumption that you have 25 minutes to eat a frog – or in reality do tasks. After your 25 minutes is up, you then take a 3-5 minute break. This gives you time to digest what you have done, and also limit the opportunity for you to get distracted from your frog eating. After you have eaten 4 frogs, i.e. 2 hours of work, then you take a longer break of 15-30 minutes. Presumably, this then gives you the time to think about what you are going to eat for dessert?
The Eisenhower Method
This is a method that Eisenhower invented but Stephen Covey popularized in his book, ‘the 7 effective habits’. Once again, this is all about categorizing your frogs using 2 criteria, urgent/not urgent, important/not important.
The frogs which are not important and not urgent are tossed back into the pond. The frogs which are not important but urgent are delegated to someone else to eat. The important and urgent frogs, are eaten by you there and then. Finally, the frogs which are important but not urgent are eaten by you at a time scheduled in your diary.
This is a great technique to help you move away from fire-fighting. (see BB or an FF – which are you?)