Do you ever wonder after a long day: Where did all my time go? What have I actually been doing for the last few hours? Here you will find a time management product to suit your needs.
To find out exactly that, I’ll present you 5 mistakes you may make, give you 3 steps to improve and review the time management product Timeular for better time management.
The 5 most common time management mistakes
Before I introduce you to the product I would like show you the most commum time management mistakes.
#1 You are not planning your time in advance
One crucial mistake why many people are stressed today is that they don’t plan their time. They let themselves be guided by what their boss just wants the next day and go from mail to mail. Be sure to have a daily or weekly planning reminder. Set blocks for your work and your private life.
#2 You schedule every single minute without buffers or rest time
But beware, even if you plan every single second of your day, you still realize it’s not working. A plan is never right, plans change! You should be prepared that your priorities can change at any time.
#3 There are too many distractions in your way
A common reason why even perfect time management doesn’t work is the vast amount of distractions nowadays. Sometimes a new mail comes in, sometimes the colleague calls in for an short chatter, your cell phone vibrates, … A “fast” check on the cell phone becomes 5 minutes. A short “chatter” becomes a discussion about the latest news of half an hour.
#4 You are trying to accomplish all tasks
You already have a busy schedule at work, overtime is a certainty, tires need to be changed, you also have to do your weekly shopping , then you need to get something in your stomach and then at some point there is no time left for sports.
#5 You are not analyzing, what you actually spent your time on
And already it’s end of day, weekend, end of month or end of year and you have no idea where actually your time went. How many hours did you work? How many hours of that were spent on the really, really important things you wanted to do?
My three tips for better time management
To make your time management more effective in the future I would like to share with you my top three tips for successful time management
#1 Stop saying “I don’t have time!“
Use instead, “this is currently not my priority”. The time you have every day is 24 hours. It is your decision how you use it! You set the priorities, therefore you can also determine whether you “have time” or not. This little mind game challenges you to think about your priorities at any time. Is sports more important to me today? My car? My performance at work? Once you set the priorities which are right for you, it’s your time. Ideally, you should focus on a single priority. At best, you make this one at the beginning of your day, after which you’ve accomplished the most important thing. More input on this in the books: Eat that Frog (B. Tracy) and The One Thing (G. Keller).
#2 Plan your day: focus, fight, buffer, and rest
Plan your day week, month or year – as would it be your plan, and your plan only. Think about what are the tasks and activities which are really important?
Put time in your calendar for the important things – called the Focus phase. These are the things and activities you might want to work on in a focused way. During this time you should block out all distractions (cell phone in another room, mails closed, door lockes, …). Ideally this time should last for a longer period, such as two hours minimum. In this time you will try to achieve the “Flow” state. For more insights about the benefits of the Focus phase read Konzentrierter Arbeiten (C. Newport)
In addition to Focus times, there are also times when things get busy – called the Fight phase. It is really important to schedule these time. But when is the best time to answer e-mails, or meetings, ….? Research show, that important meeting, where decisions need to be met should be never near the break or the end of a workday. Try to schedule important meetings after your focus phase and after lunch and use the more shallow activities such as checking mails right before lunch or in the afternoon.
Whether Focus or Fight phase – a plan is never perfect. That’s why you should plan for a Buffer phase . A good rule of thumb for planning Focus and Fight phases is to multiply the time you think you’ll need for the task by x1.5. Meaning, if you assume your Focus phase tasks will take around 2 hours – plan for 3 hours. If you assume you will answer your mails within 1 hour in the Fight phase, plan for 1.5 hours.
The buffer is also there to better accommodate unforeseen events in your priorities. Planned buffer can be always overwritten if you do not need it – but make sure to plan the unplannable.
Nearly as important as your buffer are your Breaks. Without breaks, you will not perform at your best. Keeping full concentration for more than 8 hours is almost impossible for anyone. Therefore, try to incorporate small breaks into your day every now and then. Do 1 minute breathing exercise, move around, look out the window and fill up your water. Also a popular tool is to use the Pomodoro Technique: 25 minutes work, 5 minutes break. After 3 Pomodoro phases, do a longer break. You can also use the app Forest or this and plant real trees while you are working (a dedicated post for the use of Forest you will find here).
#3 Become aware of how your time is spend
One of the most famous quote in time management is the one from managament guru Peter Drucker:
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”Peter Drucker
If you don not know where your time goes, you can not improve your time management! Therefore, especially at the beginning, become aware of what you spend your time on. Are these really your priorities and plans or are you always neglecting these priorities and plans all the time. Do you also work on strategic issues or only on operational ones? How much of your time are you doing unproductive work?
So how do you do it?
1.) Get a clear picture what your tasks are
2.) Plan your day in advance with the phases Focus, Fight, Buffer and Break.
3.) Find a way to measure your time consumption on different tasks.
After trying this with several Pomodoro trackers or calendar adjustments I finally found the perfect product to help me with the 3rd step. Analyze and track your time with Timeular. Since I bought this device, this stylish cube has been an integral part of my daily worklife.
The time management product Timeular: An eight-sided cube for better time management
To improve your time management it is necessary to know how much time you spend on what. For this purpose, I discovered the time management product Timeular. Timeular is an octagonal cube that tracks time by simply turning it over to a certain side. If you change the task, you simply turn the cube to the corresponding side. You can label each side individually according to your specifications. The cube is charged via USB-C and is capable of tracking while charging. To program the tracker, simply go into the app, create a category, press add, and the page above will be directly linked to the category. It couldn’t be easier!
On the path to more focused work with the time management product Timeular
Timeular is designed very simply, you can place it in front of your screen at any time and thus always have it in view. Of course, the cube’s usefulness lives only through regular use of this time management product. As soon as you change a task, you turn the cube around. The good thing about this is that by constantly changing tasks Timeluar will show you your timeline. Within the first hours of use you will be astonished how often you change tasks. Focus on longer streaks – to get directly to a level of Deep Work: Working on tasks in one piece for a longer time. You’ll directly feel the difference in concentration, productivity and effectiveness.
As soon as you take the cube from the station it starts filling your calendar (see image on the left below). To take breaks you just put it back on the station. As a message your app will then lovingly display “Sleep well tracker”. You can download the desktop app for this or simply download the mobile app from the Play or Apple Store. In the calendar you can also always see how many hours you are tracking or have tracked during the day.
In the monthly reporting (see image on the right above) you will then get an overview of your recorded hours. Whether you want to view this weekly, monthly or yearly is up to you. But make sure to compare your used time vs. the time you planned for the tasks.
Costs of the time management product Timeular
You can also order the tracker directly from the Timeular website itself. The pro plan offers you to track your times together with your team, allows better reporting options and offers some interfaces to systems like Outlook or Jira. The prices are:
- – 5 € per month basic plan / 9 € per month pro plan
- – 48 € per year basic plan / 84 € per year pro plan
If you are working alone i would suggest to start with the basic plan for one year. The pricing is under consideration of the user-friendliness and the numerous possibilities of the tracker, more than okay. For me – Timeular as a time management product is worth every penny if i look at the gains I got from analyzing my time consumption.
Time Tracker Timeluar
Timeular is possibly one of my best investments under 100 euros. With the cube I can see where my time is going every day, plan improvements and projects easily and quickly. A must- have for everyone who cares about self-management.
- Intuitive and elegant design
- Long battery life
- Individually customizable
- Quick and easy evaluation
- Can also be used offline
- Manual addition possible
- One time cost of 89€ – Pro version as monthly subscription
- Supplied stylus does not stick on the surface for very long
- Limited to 8 sides