Time flies so fast these days and unfortunately, we can’t do anything about it. The concept of understanding time as a finite resource has its name in psychology – temporal awareness.
To be exact, it’s a belief that time is a real, limited resource that needs to be budgeted the same way we budget our money. It’s not the same as time perception, which is simply ones’ subjective perception of the passing of time. Most people would agree with the statements “time is finite” and even “time should be budgeted like money”, but much fewer of us actually transfer this concept to our daily lives, as shown by series of experiments conducted in 2001 by D. Soman.
People with high temporal awareness usually manage their time better, in turn being more optimistic, healthier and less depressed.
However, studies show that effective time management improves our well-being in many other ways: lowering psychological distress, anxiety, hopelessness, perceived stress, and even job-related somatic tensions, at the same time increasing overall life satisfaction. Luckily, today’s technology gives us powerful tools for time management (or: powerful time management tools) t, that are easy to use and very often free, but the biggest advantage of them is the possibility to integrate them.
Preparing a to-do list forces you to write down any tasks you have to get done, which is the first step of making a good plan for your workday, and it allows you to organize your tasks, as well as prioritize them. Prioritizing prevents you from feeling overwhelmed by your tasks and in turn, helps you focus on what’s important. With a calendar integration, you can also place your to-do’s into your schedule. Especially nowadays, when shared calendars are so common, it’s easier to “steal” our time. Sharing the calendar is a useful feature, but it also makes it more difficult to refuse someone who saw your calendar and didn’t see any scheduled events. That’s why we have to use our calendar as a place where we store everything we do, including our to-do list, to budget our time effectively. We only have as much time as in our calendar and our tasks and chores also take time and we can’t neglect them.
In addition to this, we also tend to “steal” time from ourselves. When planning events and tasks in two different, non-integrated apps, it’s much easier to overbook yourself, because we don’t immediately see the tasks we’ve planned in the calendar, as well as the events in our to-do list. Research shows that only about 50% of to-dos are completed the first day, and 41% of them are never completed at all. Opening your to-do app and seeing all of the tasks you should have done, but didn’t find the time to do is simply demotivating and depressing. Integrating your to-do list and your calendar helps you build higher temporal awareness and prevents you from being overwhelmed by your tasks, meetings and other duties.
It’s important to notice, however, that to plan your tasks ahead and reserve time in your schedule for them, you should be aware of how much time your activities are taking. You can use a stopwatch or a google spreadsheet to monitor how much time your tasks are taking, but it’s easier to use good time-tracking software instead. TimeCamp tracks time seamlessly with a desktop or mobile app, or even in your browser. You can integrate it with a to-do app of your choice, and with your calendar of course, so it will be easier for you to estimate how much time you need for specific tasks.
Another reason why it’s crucial
to integrate these two apps is that it’s easier to look back on what you’ve done. A simple study conducted by Francesca Gino in an Indian company consisted of asking a group of the employees to spend the last 15 minutes of their work time to write down all of the things they have done well in the day. This group performed 23% better at their job than other employees, who spent these 15 minutes simply working. This is the evidence, which proves that looking back at what you’ve already accomplished increases your productivity. Possible explanations for this phenomenon are that this kind of “have-done-well” lists confirms and increases self-efficacy, sense of competence and motivates us to achieve even more.
Also, scheduling tasks with a to-do list integrated with your calendar help you to put yourself into productivity, progress and work mindset, as a result making it easier for you to block distractions.
Moreover, integrating these two apps will help you create your daily routine. Maybe you’re one of the spontaneous ones, but routine goes hand in hand with productivity and effective time management. Why is it so important? First of all, it provides a sense of familiarity, structure, and order, which saves you time on planning your days ahead. When your life is organized, you know your routine and it’s easier for you to build a habit, which is the best friend of productivity. It increases efficiency by taking away the need for motivation and willpower. Having a habit is like running on autopilot, so it is important to create good ones. Having a routine also saves you a lot of time in the long run. Imagine opening your inbox once a month – you’d probably need a whole day to answer all of the emails you’ve got. But spending fifteen minutes answering your email every day makes it much easier to digest, right? You can read more about the importance of daily routines here.
Last, but not least
Integrating your to-do app with your calendar will eliminate the possible excuses you may have for not completing something from your to-do list because you didn’t have time because it will allow you to reserve time for every task, so it will be easy to sit down and get the work done. Excuses are not an option now!
- What do you think about integrating productivity apps?
- Do you use to-do lists and calendar on your devices or maybe you prefer the old-school pen and paper calendar and a task list?
Time is a finite resource, but despite knowing it, we often forget about it, ending up wasting it.
But managing this valuable resource effectively can bring happiness and peace of mind to our lives. Fortunately, nowadays technology makes it easier for us to make the most out of our time and integrating your time management and productivity apps are the best way to do so.