What are your best time management hacks or tools?

More often, I feel like I have much work to do and 24hours isn't enough in a day. But I've learned we just need to prioritize and schedule our life and work better.

What's your take on "time management" and what are your best time management hack or tools?

24hours is enough for me

24hours isn't enough for me

I don't care

Comments (8)

Grigorii K. Shartsev's photo

My main misfortune is taking too much on myself. Sometimes problem become more complex, then it seemed. Sometimes I just need to refuse to do work, but I don't... Work, studying, teaching, pet-projects and so eat my life. As the result, 24h is not enough,I'm not resting enough.

But there are some things help me to manage my time.

Google Calendar - the calendar for long time planing, scheduling and events with defined time. It helps me see my free time.
Notion.so Calendar - aka "Trello calendar". I have classic lists ( "todo", "doing") for tasks out of scheduling. And Notion helps manage those card-tasks in calendar.

When I need to do something I don't want to do, I use Tomato Planning method with Pomotroid application. It helps to concentrate and avoid procrastination.

And of course things everybody knows but nobody follows :)

  • Daily regimen and waking up early with good sleep (not surfing net all the night);
  • Regular walking and sports;
  • Health food;
  • Resting! Shift activity;
  • Avoidance coffee, energy drinks and other caffeine drinks.
Gergely Polonkai's photo

About 9 hours is enough for me. I spend the remaining 15 with my family and friends.

I personally use Emacs and Org-mode. With the right configuration Org can remind me of everything on time. I even sync my notes to my phone to use them with Orgzly, so i even get the notifications there. The key, however, is not the tool you use, but the time management method.

I have a lot of ToDo items. I mean, a lot. Most of them are articles to read, things to learn/try, and such. These are marked as “SOMEDAY”, so i know i haven’t devoured them yet, but i don’t get nagged about them. Whenever i have time, i pick one and put some time into it. If the topic is interesting, i add follow-up notes, sometimes even extra tasks to carry out.

The actual important stuff are marked as “TODO”. These are often (well, almost always) scheduled to the next 1-4 weeks. Every day i choose the 3 most important items then focus on the worst of them.

When i start working on something, i first mark it as “DOING”. I almost never have more than 4 of these, and this is super important. When i start the actual work i “clock in” on the task, and when i stop working on the task, i “clock out”. This way i have a good overview on what type of tasks take the most time. When i clock out, i also take a few words (sometimes even a few sentences) of notes so i know why i stopped working on it, and where i left off; this way i can easily pick up work next time.

I also have a bunch of tasks marked as “CANCELED”. These are considered done (as long as the notification system is concerned), but i revisit such tasks every 2-3 weeks. If something is deemed worthy to be revisited, i put it back to “SOMEDAY” or “TODO” status, otherwise i put in some closing notes and set them to “DONE”.

I also have a “BLOCKED” status, which i set for tasks which are, well… blocked. When a task gets to this status, i always add a note about what the task is waiting on, like “X company has the floor planks i need out of stock. Need to check with them in a week”. Blocked tasks are always scheduled, so i get a reminder when i need to do some extra checks or follow up tasks.

Org also has priority tags. I barely use them, but when i do, A and B always get priority over everything else, while C gets to the bottom of the list; in fact, priority C items often get cancelled.

And last, but not least, the key (for me) is that i have all my tasks in the same system, personal and work alike. This way i can easily transition between private and work tasks without changing tools. Obviously, we use a completely different task management system at work, so for work tasks i always have a link to the task management tool. On the other hand, my wife uses a paper calendar, so i also have to synchronise with her, too. In this, communication is key (both at work and at home).

That’s it. Just focus on as few tasks at a time as possible. Discipline Equals Freedom.

Bolaji Ayodeji's photo

Developer Relations @Hashnode

This is great, thank you for sharing your experience and method.

Eric O. Jonathan's photo

Sometimes the simplest technology is the most useful one. For me, it's a simple pomodoro application that I've created to show how much work I have been doing and to remind me to take a break from time to time. While it seems to be counter productive to take a 5 minutes of break once in a while, and a longer one after a certain hour, I have found it that I could work until the very last minute more refreshed than if I take long dives into work for hours on end.

An important detail that I noticed when I take long dives into work without breaks is that although I tend to get a lot done at those dives, when I come back to work on the very next day, I tend to be less motivated and have more resistant towards doing or continuing on the work. Compare to the days when I follow the pomodoro time where I can ease into work much more easier on the very next day.

Hipkiss's photo

There's always more work than can be done in a single day lol - that's why we have jobs. The best thing to do is to recognise that everything cannot be done in a single day or overnight. This allows you to properly manage your health and thus should be able to operate at higher efficiency and more consistently over the long term.

As for time management at work we follow a structured but flexible agile approach. I wouldn't really say there are any hacks - it's just accurately assessing what can be achieved within a given time. Obviously as skills in an area are improved then length of time to complete a task will reduce slightly and experience will help in more accurately assessing appropriate time frames. I'd suggest starting that as part of a team - that way you begin to understand different levels of skill better as well as different perspectives.

Tapas Adhikary's photo

I kill lots of time in travel on the days I go office. It is close to 4 hours on road at times (Thanks to Bangalore traffic!). I wish, if I could make it productive for the things I want to accomplish for the day. I listen to relevant podcasts but still...not so productive hours.

Taking the above out, I can finish my things in 8-9 hours comfortably.

Gabor's photo

I always have more work/private tasks to do than I can deal with in 24 hours. I tried many existing todo list/time management tools but after a while I realized those just generates more tasks because I also need time to handle them. Moreover, all of them were built with lot of features and usually it was inconvenient to use them. As a developer I always saw the structure behind the UI and I found most of them was organized by that structure instead of the real life needs.

So I decided to build my own todo list system which would focus on the person instead of the things and the times. Basically, it would be a pure "lifetimeline" manager without complex things. It should contain some AI things to manage my time later. Unfortunatelly, I have no time to really work on this. Maybe because I have no good app to manage my time ;)

Razvan Crestin's photo

I am using Elapseit it helps me a lot to save my time because it can do a lot of things like resource planning, time tracking and project management, even making an invoice only in one tool.