Time Management and Time Management Apps for 2019

Since the last time I wrote about how I manage my time, quite a lot has changed. I now work different hours (thanks to a new job), have a much shorter commute (yay!) and have also been diagnosed with some more chronic illnesses (boo!).  

That said, I have changed the way I manage my time and day quite significantly, not to mention the hours when I work, as I have to keep a steady routine when it comes to going to bed and waking up.

Now, I know that my hours, etc. won’t necessarily work for everyone, for example, if you have kids, yours will look a lot different than mine, but maybe it will give you some ideas of how you can change the time or manner in which you work.

How I roughly divide my time

I get up at 4 am or 4:30 am most mornings (don’t ask me why; I just wake up this time), so I have ample time before work starts at 8 am to get to work and do some reading and writing.

I use my lunchtimes mostly to either catch up on articles I want to read or I crochet or knit – which is a good way of getting away from the screen a bit! I sometimes do work during lunch, though, especially when we’re on print deadline.

I get home at about 4:30 again and then I first chill a bit and listen to a podcast or music while I prepare dinner and eat. Depending on what I’m busy with, I’ll either write more, do research or work on crochet orders (or just work on crafts for myself) and then it’s off to bed at about 9 pm. If I’m having a bad flare day, I usually skip writing, etc. at night and just go to bed, though. A power nap on some days is also a great way to get your brain to reset!

Apps and timers I use

While I used to rely solely on an excel spreadsheet and a paper diary to keep track of everything, I recently found Asana, Trello, and the like when searching for time trackers and project management apps. Okay, I know I’m late to the party!

While many of these programs have paid options, they usually have a free option if it’s just you working on it. Which is awesome, seeing as how I just need it to keep track of stuff for myself.

I’ve tried out quite a few of the programs, and have decided that I like Asana the best (though I don’t use it exclusively) with Trello being a very close second. First off, what are Asana and Trello?

Asana:

In their own words, “Asana is the work management platform teams use to stay focused on the goals, projects, and daily tasks that grow business.” In my words – it cuts through my brain clutter so I can see everything and don’t miss deadlines.”

“Asana takes a … task-oriented approach to project management. It is intended more for projects which have a bit of a more rigorous process to them. It’s mostly used by small teams working on projects together.” Source – Beewits

Trello:

“Trello is mostly a card-based task/project management tool which can be used for almost anything where limited team collaboration is required. Whether you’re doing project managing for websites or managing your home decoration project Trello mimics real-life boards to manage the project.” Source – Beewits

The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique is a simple one – work on one thing for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break before working for another 25 minutes. While I don’t use a timer every day, I do have those days when my brain just doesn’t want to focus. And it’s on those days that I call in the help of the website mytomatoes.com. It’s probably about a decade old by now and was actually introduced to me by a psychologist as a way to focus better.

It measures out 25-minute intervals and 5-minute rest periods, along with being able to record what you were busy with during the 25 minutes. If you ended up not working, of finding yourself slacking off, you can “squash” the “tomato” and start over. Which also comes in handy.

Basically, I tell myself that I just need to focus for 25 minutes and that’s it. Because on some days, your brain is lazy and needs to hear that!

Wunderlist:

“Wunderlist is the easiest way to get stuff done. Whether you’re planning a holiday, sharing a shopping list with a partner or managing multiple work projects, Wunderlist is here to help you tick off all your personal and professional to-dos.”- Wunderlist

Although you can do a lot more with Wunderlist, I mostly use it for quick reminders and to-do lists, including books to read, articles to read, movies to watch as well as for all my shopping lists.

Offline:

Bullet Journal

I don’t use my bullet journal like a daily journal, but more for main lists (blog posts posted with their dates, etc.) that I need to keep track of. However, there are many people who use only bullet journaling and you can check out the how-to of bullet journaling here.

Notebooks (the paper kind)

Story ideas, layouts, brainstorming, notes not applicable to the bullet journal, and first drafts even! These all go into my main scribbling notebook.

How do you keep track of your time and projects? I’d love to know!  

About Carin Marais

Bibliophile, writer of speculative fiction, non-fiction, and maybe-fiction, language practitioner, doer of stuff.

2 Responses

  1. Ronel Janse van Vuuren

    “work on one thing for 25 minutes, then take a 5-minute break before working for another 25 minutes.” Sometimes that’s the only way to get things done 🙂 Great list!

    Liked by 1 person

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