A time management chart is a graph showing when your peak energy levels occur throughout the day. As I've been writing articles on time management, I have often given this as a time management tip - a way you can be productive by working with our energy levels. This article shows you how to chart these productive times and to then use this knowledge as a strategy for managing your time.
Because a time management chart shows you when your productivity levels ebb and flow throughout the day you need to know when these times occur.
I'm pretty sure that without me even telling you this, you have already worked out that your productivity rises and falls throughout the day. I have previously already charted my own energy levels. So I know, for example, that my energy is at it's highest in the morning. After the peak, my levels fall throughout the day to a low around 4pm. By 8pm they're back up and I feel on fire again.
Knowing when my most productive times of day are allows me to work with this to produce the best results. Conversely, knowing your least productive times is one of the best time management tips I have for you. Why? Well, if you know your time of day when it's hard - you know that time - you can't think, you're struggling to find the energy to do anything. Well, if you know when that occurs in your day then you can schedule both your working times and your home life around it.
I work from home and I have other priorities in the morning (feeding children, school run, exercise, toddler to entertain) so by the time I start work (at 12pm), my energy levels are starting to lag.
But I work with this. I make sure that I tackle anything big as soon as my feet hit the floor under my desk. I work hard until I feel that I'm fading. Then for the rest of the afternoon I undertake work that isn't too demanding (proof reading, work reading etc).
I also do alot of planning during this time and I ensure that I know what my priority tasks for my evening shift. So, when I hit the desk again at 8.30pm I can once again work productively.
Luckily for me, I start getting more energy just as my children go to bed so that allows me to work productively for the next couple of hours.
It's pretty easy to use this time management strategy but you need to first work out your own every cycles.
A reasonably low tech way is just to make a note of it in your daytime planner or diary - preferably every half hour for a week. You could also keep a spreadsheet in half hour blocks for the week or you could also use your iPhone to make a note too. I think there's even a free app which can help you with it.
You just make a note of how you are feeling - it's best to use a scale of 0-10 with 10 being very energetic, feeling great and zero being the complete opposite. This way makes it easier to chart at the end of your week.
After a week, you should be able to see a clear pattern emerging. It's easy enough to put the results into a spreadsheet and produce the chart to show your cycle.
Voila, you have a powerful time management tool that you can now use to work more productively.
There will be another article coming soon-ish which will give you some tips on how to work more productively using your time management chart.
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