Eating Frogs and Other Time Management Tips
With an ever-growing list of priorities and deadlines, managing time effectively is a constant challenge. In our most recent #SPSPChat on Twitter, we asked three experts to share their top tools and insights for using time effectively.
Here are just a few of the tools shared by Drs. Sa-kiera Hudson, Ashley Whillans, and Elizabeth Page-Gould:
7 Resources for Time Management
Eating the Frog First
This study tests a popular adage which states that “if it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing,” which advises completing challenging tasks first. The research examines how people misunderstand how the difficulty-ordering of tasks influences efficacy, acknowledging that people tend to take on tasks of lower difficulty first. Their research supports the “eat-the-frog-first” approach, finding that people can build efficacy by starting with their hardest task.
What Is Block Scheduling? (And How it Boosts Productivity)
This Lifehack article explores the benefits of the practice of allocating large chunks of time to related tasks, known as block scheduling. This approach aims to combat procrastination, help people create realistic time estimates, and develop more focus and attention by cutting down on open space in their calendar.
The Action Priority Matrix
The Action Priority Matrix is a simple diagram designed to help people choose activities they should prioritize and which ones to avoid. The matrix achieves this by encouraging people to place tasks into one of four categories: Quick Wins (High Impact, Low Effort), Major Projects (High Impact, High Effort), Fill Ins (Low Impact, Low Effort), and Thankless Tasks (Low Impact, High Effort). We also encouraging learning about the Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle, which features a similar process.
The LOT Planner: Life On Track!
Dr. Sa-kiera Hudson developed the Life-on-Track (LOT) Planner during her time in graduate school, when she struggled to find a planner that kept track of her responsibilities while allowing her to practice self-care. The planner combines goal-tracking with personal reflection time, as well as a sticky note system to accommodate changing goals and timelines.
Former Google employee Ashlyee Freeman describes Gmail as her “personal assistant and first line of defense from endless distractions.” She has developed a series of YouTube videos designed to leverage the email client’s settings and services to use time more effectively.
How to Do it All
This model, developed by Dr. Elizabeth Page-Gould to share with incoming graduate students at the University of Tennesee, encourages the user to list their main work goals for the semester, as well as how much time per week they should be spending on them. Once the table is complete, the user can arrange their weekly calendar accordingly using block scheduling. View Dr. Page-Gould's time estimate chart and a sample weekly schedule.
Getting Your Team to Do More than Meet Deadlines
This article, published in Harvard Business Review and co-authored by Ashley Whillans, cites research which shows that managers can help combat procrastination and burnout by encouraging employees to set aside proactive time for work that is important but not urgent.
This recap only scratches the surface of what was discussed during the #SPSPChat. Read the full recap of the conversation, including the valuable personal advice and anecdotes shared by our panelists.