Rest assured, the links I am giving you are not affiliate links or sponsored by anyone but myself. I honestly hate that sort of thing, so you can trust that what I’m giving you is based on my actual experiences and not because I’m getting paid to do it.
Using Others To Set Your Goals
Goal-setting and time management equals big business. I’m sure you have tried them all and they all have been effective for many people:
- The tried and true SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) goals. Write them down. Repeat them. Make them happen. Take action. These and many other useful tips can be found in abundance on Mindtools.com.
- The inspiring bloggers who tell you to take a small goal and put it somewhere where you can see it. Then tell others about that goal and have them be accountable partners.
- Time management systems that track projects, goals and reminds you on a daily basis. The latest I’ve tried is Lifetick, which does have an interesting system that is free to use (but very easy to ignore).
The One Method That Consistently Works
Then I came across this interesting concept called the Pomodoro technique. There’s a lot of literature on the topic and tons of information on their website, but the idea is simple (yes, simple!).
1) Break up a task into 25-minute segments and work as well as you can for 25 minutes.
2) Then take a short break
3) Resume that task and maybe add an additional minute, 5 minutes, whatever. Or make your breaks longer. Lately I have just been keeping it always in 25 minute segments.
There’s really simple and free ways to do this. Do you have a kitchen timer? Use that. A cell phone with a stopwatch function? Use that.
But for the tech-savvy and geeky side of you, there’s the Untime app. It’s simple, it’s free and it provides really interesting visuals for timing projects – namely, very simple dots that slowly erase for every second of time.
The Pros of Untime
Here’s what you don’t have to do with Untime:
- Brainstorm goals
- Send e-mail reminders
- Create calendar or to-do list tasks
- Involve anyone other than yourself and your smartphone or tablet
They tout it can be used as a kitchen timer, and as visual way to show presentation attendees how much time is left. You can easily pause it, set it to as high as 360 minutes (took many a swipe on my iPad, of course) and you can create presets and add minutely reminders. Added too much time and need to reset? Just tap one of the top corners.
For me, it really is much simpler than that. Because I get overwhelmed with the amount of tasks I have to do, whether it be folding clothes, working on an assignment or (yes!) baking cookies, it fits my needs.
Cons to the Untime App
The biggest problems with Untime:
- Time constraints can stress people out, and cause productivity to suffer because you are too concerned with squeezing everything in to 25 minutes.
- There’s no way to keep track of what you’re doing and accomplishing.
- No one or no thing to really motivate you to do your goals other than yourself.
Ah, but that’s it? Isn’t?
If you are like me, spending time educating yourself on how to be a better project manager is interesting, but very time consuming. Are you the procrastinator’s procrastinator? This app will help accomplish things even the most mundane of tasks in your life that you may not have otherwise.
If you don’t get it all done in 25 minutes, take a break and do so more. If you feel like continuing past the 25-minute mark, do so, but don’t forget breaks! And cherishing and rewarding those small victories is what you learned about goal setting, right?
Every blog post written, every endless database change, every load of laundry folded is a step towards success.
All of those other great time management tools you have invested in? Keep using them! Add the Pomodoro technique and this app to break down projects or tasks into manageable segments of time and keep track of your goals and your successes.
What are your methods of tracking time and achieving goals? Are you using the Pomodoro technique? Add your thoughts in your comments below. I’m also looking for blog suggestions.
Like what you’ve read here? Are you in need of a boost to your project management? Contact me about a free, 30-minute writing or administrative consultation.