There is a reason that we collectively burst into the new year with a list of goals and resolutions that we promise to attend to over the next 365 days. After the chaotic holiday season wraps and the list of errands, deadlines and events dwindles down into manageable territory, it's natural to look at the fallout and take stock – and then resolve to make the next year different. If you've resolved to be more productive in 2020 you'll need a plan if you want to avoid joining the 80 percent of people who slide their new year's goals to the backburner, and that plan has to start with finding a better approach to time management. Here at Personiv, we have a few favorites.
Different Personality Types Require Different Types of Time Management Techniques
There's no universal app, technique, self-help strategy or principle that will work for every single person, every single time. The way you and your team learn, work and even become distracted is determined by any number of variables from genetics to background to simple preference.
Different roles require different approaches, as well, and demands on time are impacted by an equally wide range of factors. Managerial demands, team size and administrative periphery all make it virtually impossible to point to one thing that works for every person. That's why we decided to ask around the office, country and world to see what works for the people of Personiv.
Use Calendars and Planners to Visualize Where Your Time Goes
If you're a visual learner, or have visual learners on your team, the visual cues a calendar or planner provides can keep individual days and deadlines from existing in a vacuum.
Fredericks John, M.B.A. — EVP & Site Head of Personiv's Coimbatore site, uses iCal to manage his day-to-day routine, especially when it involves business travel, because accessing it is as easy as pulling his phone from his pocket. "Whether it is a meeting, birthday or a soccer match involving my favorite club, I have iCal to neatly lay out my day, so it's easier to manage my time effectively," said Johns.
A pen and paper solution can be just as effective, if a little old-school. For some, having to physically mark down the tasks ahead by day, week or month can serve as a more effective reminder than a digital alert. Theresa Rex, Content Coordinator, uses Panda Planner. "I like that the planner has a layout for daily entries that allows for a list of priorities. That keeps me from getting overwhelmed and helps break up large projects."
Choose Digital Tools and Apps That Manage Time Effectively
Few jobs exist where technology doesn't play at least some role in the workday. For companies that have multiple business units or locations across the globe, like Personiv, technology with multiple access points that can keep everyone on the same page when the workday occurs in different time zones is critical from a time management standpoint.
Collaborative project management and software and apps like Trello, Asana and Basecamp can help you and your team alternate between a wider view of the work yet to be done and zooming in on individual tasks.
Trello is a particular favorite of Lydia Adams, Personiv's VP of Marketing and Communications. "To keep up with all the tasks for my team, Trello does the trick. You can organize projects by anything you’d like with their boards and lists structure. The calendar gives you a great months-long view of what’s coming, and their automated 'Power Ups' and 'Butler' features do much of the tedious organizational work for you."
Maybe there's some aspect of managing your time that requires special attention, like organizing work travel, keeping track of expenses or meeting management. Apps that zero in on those particular areas can be much more helpful than all-in-one tools.
For Personiv's VP of Client Services John Graham, that app is TripIt, an app that automatically generates a master itinerary for travel, allowing him to skip the multiple inbox checks and erroneous airline apps.
Adopting a More Holistic Approach to Getting Things Done
Sometimes, the best time management strategies can't be downloaded. Becoming productive in 2020 might require a change in the way you think, the habits you form and an overall shift in how you move through your day.
Taking a more holistic approach to how you'll spend one of your most valuable resource can help give your new productivity habits more staying power, and you don't need a time management coach to take advantage. You just need to choose your favorite.
The Pareto Analysis, or 80/20 approach is such a favorite of Personiv's founder, Evan Green, that he calls it "The Magic Ratio." It posits that 80 percent of all peripheral work can be completed in just 20 percent of the time you have available to you, while the remaining 20 percent will yield 80 percent of your most important results.
Learn More: The Magic Ratio: How To Focus Your Efforts For Top Productivity
Paulo Chung — EVP & Site Head, Manila favors the Power of Three Principle: "The first three hours of your day are the most important," he explains, "because your mind is at its sharpest and your body is refreshed. That's why I spend the first three hours of my workday tracking the three most important deliverables on my plate."
For David Graham, the holistic approach to time management that works best is a revolving pen-and-paper checklist that he keeps track of by crossing off completed tasks and adding new "to-do" items as they arise. Science backs Graham's method up: the Zeigarnik Effect is the name for our ability to remember tasks that we have yet to complete better than the ones we've already wrapped up. Experiments have shown that when we have to juggle multiple priorities, the simple act of writing any outstanding tasks down allows our brains to shift focus and alleviates the anxiety of having left something "undone."
Checklist: Everything You Need to Do Before You Start Outsourcing
Lydia Adams approaches overall time management by scheduling "meetings" with herself as a way of prioritizing her time daily. "Meetings with my team members, vendors and colleagues can easily take over my day -- leaving me little time to tackle my own ever-growing to-do list," she explains. "What works for me is to schedule “meetings” on my calendar that block out time for my own projects and ensure I am able to make personal deadlines."
No matter how you approach your time this year, if you've resolved to reap the benefits of better tracking and planning by tackling your time, this list represents just a few of the ways you can get 2020 off to a productive start.
If you've resolved to make this year the most productive yet for your business, too, Personiv can help. We've been helping companies clear away peripheral tasks from their to-do lists so they can focus their efforts on what matters for over thirty years with our custom solutions.
See one of our partnerships in action, then get in touch for a solution of your own: