Dr. Seuss said, “How did it get so late so soon?” Do you ever wonder where did all your time go and how did it happen that you didn’t manage to complete all your tasks? If so, you may find time mapping particularly useful.
Effective Time Management With Time Mapping
Even though there are many manuals and pieces of advice on effective time management, it is still a large problem for many people. This concerns freelancers and remote workers, who work from home, to a big extent. There are many challenges and obstacles to such a work but effective time management is one of them.
Time mapping serves as a great tool for effective time management. Yet it is often mistaken for time tracking, while it has nothing to do with it. However, time tracking can be part of time mapping, if used in a proper way.
So what exactly is time mapping? It is a map of your tasks, either related to work or your personal life, with the distinction of time blocks. Time mapping can be extremely helpful in organizing time for emails, phone calls, meetings, amongst many other aspects of work which need to be done.
How to Use Time Mapping?
Everybody has different priorities and everyone can map his or her time in various ways. Either you are a Project Manager or an individual, it all works differently for everyone. Time mapping is a structured system yet you don’t have to strictly follow it, it’s the map of the time. And if you’re in a new area, you never follow a map in with precision to a mile. It’s the same with time mapping.
Moreover, you can treat time mapping as an exercise and not as an agenda which will dictate your every next step. For the beginning, you can take a piece of paper, a pen, and different colors of highlighters. To create a time map you have to begin by listing your tasks, all of them. Those you do at work, as well as those you do at home. Then you should group them into different categories such as work, private life, the most important tasks and the least important ones. While creating a time map it’s important to ask yourself the following questions:
- How am I spending my time?
- Am I spending it the right way?
- What would I like to change in my workday?
- How would you like your day to look like?
- Is there any particular task you should pay more attention to?
Once you made your time map, see how it works with your day, make adjustments. The more you work with it the better it works. You can see its flaws, how much time you spend on particular activities, whether the blocks of time align with your time map. Also, you can create monthly and weekly time mapping template and fill it according to your personal requirements.
An example of a time map by Marie Poulin
The technique of time mapping helps to reshape the work day and create a schedule in which you have time to perform all your tasks but also to spend time with the loved ones, or with yourself. It’s a great tool for companies as all employees can work on their teamwork.
Don’t forget to help yourself with special software used in time management, such as time tracking software (which will help you calculate time spent on all activities), to-do lists, calendars, etc. Create your own time map to always stay on top of your work!