One of the most important thing in time management is

1. Assigning reasonable and realistic amount of time for each task.

Why is this important?

You might assign too much time for a task.

"Work expands so as to fill the time available (allocated) for its completion." Parkinson's law

Lets say: If I need 1hr to do a detail drawing and if I assign 2 hours to complete, then the drawing expand itself and it took me 2hours to complete it. But It was possible to complete it within 1hr. So, technically, I wasted 1hour.

On other side, you might assign amount of time which is not enough to complete the task.

So, this forced you to not deliver your promises to complete a task for your client or your boss.

So how do you estimate amount of time needed to complete a task?

a. Tracking my completion time for tasks.

I prepare super simple Notion table that have two columns Tasks and needed time. So, record in the task with needed time to completion. And this is very helpful, especially when tasks you have to do most of the time.

In my case, since am an architect, I need to do a working drawing for every residential building design projects. so, what I do is, I record amount of time took me to complete a floor plan drawing for every residential building project I had.

So, for my next residential building design project I can say I need this much time to complete the floor plans.

b. estimate a time needed to complete a task under three circumstances.

I found a technic that worked for me from Melissa Gratias.

Optimistic time to complete the task (O)

Likely time to complete (L)

Pessimistic time to complete the task.(P)

Then use this this formula, (O+(4L)+P)/6

Let’s use previous example, To complete floor plan for residential building, I estimate:

Optimistic time needed – lets say 2 hours

Likely time needed – 3 hours

Pessimistic time needed – 4 hours

(2+(4*3)+4)/6 = 3hrs

So, I can say that I need about 3hrs to complete the floor plans.

The other important thing about time management is:

2. Reduce interruption.

By working continuously you become very efficient and took Significantly Less time to complete the task than interrupted working sessions.

“All interrupted work will be less effective and will take more time that if it was completed in a continuous manner” Carlson’s law

Basically talking about interruptions, I mean Self interruption and external interruption.

a. How to avoid Self interruption.

According to associate professor Gloria maria , we interrupt our self about 44% of the time. Mostly we interrupted by our self especially by social media and our phones. It is a great idea to use social media blocking apps on our computers. And turn on flight mode on our phone if you can avoid from your working station.

Other thing I recommend to avoid self interruption is have clean working Desk. avoid unnecessary staff from your desk that can shift your attention.

b. How to avoid External Interruption

You can lock your door if you have , and you can notify your friends, families or colleagues when you start working

3. Take a brake or a pause between tasks.

If you can complete one task in one hour, it doesn’t mean you can finish 10 tasks if you do for 10 hours continuously, initially it took an hour to complete a single task, but when the times goes, you need 1 and half our to complete it, if you steel continue working without a brake, the time you need to complete a single task grow into 2 hours . So, may be you might complete 7 tasks at after 10 hours of working instead of 10 tasks

So, working for more time is not directly proportional to higher production.

But earlier in this video, I said that working continuously makes us more efficient and save less time. So here is the key, there is a certain threshold we can continuously work and then the productivity curve start turning down.

"Beyond a certain threshold, human efficiency decreases, even becoming negative” Illich’s law stated that:

So we need to work continuously without interruption for certain amount of time then we should take a break , and then we start working continuously without interruption. And continue the cycle.

So the question will be how can I know the interval to take a break?

Illich proposed three intervals to take a pause. But what worked for me are,

a. Take 5 minute pause after every 25 minutes of work

I use this interval, if the task contains many small tasks. For eg. If I am working calculations, I take 5 min pause every 25 minutes of work, because I can finish one, two or three calculations within 25 minutes without interruption then I can take 5 min refreshment pause.

b. Take 5 to 10 minutes pause for every 1 hr continuous work especially if the task is one solid task.

For eg. If I am working of preparing floor plans I choose to work for an hour without any interruption then I take 5-10 min of pause. Then continue working.

Thank you.

Written by Biruk Hailu.


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