Louis Pryer
Jul 22, 2015
3 mins reading time

In Due Time

Like many people, I find it a struggle to fit everything I need to do into a single day. With the deadline of my report edging ever closer, I have been experimenting with different time management tools, to help make the most out of the time given to me. I have found a few neat tricks and tools that have worked well for me, so I thought I would take the time to share these along with some other tips from other members of the HX team. If you can spare a few minutes, this might help you become more efficient in your work day!

Firstly, the number one tool that has helped me immensely with my own time management is Toggl. This was recommended to me by our Trading Scrum Master, Chrissy Garnett, who I noticed using it during sprint estimation meetings to gauge how long they lasted, along with other meetings. Toggl is a simple way to create a timesheet of your activity, either during work hours or outside of it. Toggl comes with integrations to applications and services like GitHub and JIRA. It’s also got the ability to group time entires by project and automatic detailed graphs of your tracked time. Overall, Toggl has been an immense help with eliminating bottlenecks in my daily routine while allowing me to use my time as efficiently as possible.

Screengrab of my Toggl dashboard

Another popular technique used by some developers in the office is the pomodoro technique. This technique involves working in intervals of a set period, most commonly 25 minutes, followed by a short break of 3-5 minutes with a longer break of up to 30 minutes after every fourth repetition. This technique is great to eliminate burnout like you would get in long, intense coding sessions while allowing you to time box tasks during each interval. One trap you need to avoid is to do work related tasks during your breaks. These breaks are to let your brain rest and reset for the next repetition. Grab a coffee and take a breather; you will thank me later.

Pomodoro kitchen timer

Typically the timer is represented as a pomodoro, due to the creator (Francesco Cirillo) using a similar tomato looking timer while studying at university

These are only two tricks that have worked well for me, but if the above aren’t suited for you, here are a few final thoughts and links that might help:

  • If possible, schedule out time for interruptions and distractions.
  • Remove as many distractions as possible while working on important or urgent tasks. Disable things like email notifications until the task is completed or near completion.
  • Expect the unexpected as your plan for the day may change on a whim. Don’t let this affect important tasks that need doing. Remove unimportant tasks from your todo list to compensate for change.
  • For more To-do list tricks and tips, our own @JackCrawford and @RobHuzzey have shared their own processes of organising tasks. Why not give Making Stuff Happen and To-dos that stick a quick read.

If you have any other neat tricks to help balance your time, let us know in the comments below. I am always looking to experiment with new techniques for managing my own productivity.

Tags toggl, pomodoro, management