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On average, one in eight people use a dedicated time management technique to improve productivity and performance both inside and outside the workplace. Time pooling is one way you can manage your time and focus levels to improve your productivity and rate of performance.
So, what is compilation time?
Time pooling is a way of working that allows you to focus on a specific set of tasks at a specific time to ensure an easy workflow. It involves dividing similar types of tasks into groups and allocating a time frame for completion allowing you to complete such tasks once before focusing on other groups of tasks.
The main goal is to prevent context switching, which mentally moves between different tasks. For example, working on a project report and responding to team communications are different tasks that require different mental energy to complete. With time pooling, you can group them into different task boxes and complete them separately, rather than doing both at once, which can affect your focus.
Related: 5 Simple Keys to Increased Productivity
Benefits of pooling time
One of the main benefits of group time is to make the best use of your time to increase productivity by focusing on specific tasks at a specific time. Ninety percent of survey respondents say increased productivity is a benefit of better time management.
By pooling time, you can eliminate multitasking, which hinders productivity by reducing your attention and dedication to your performance. In this way, the cost of refocusing on different tasks each time is eliminated, helping you to make better use of your time and energy to perform tasks according to your schedule.
define the priorities:
Accumulating time requires setting goals that clarify your priority tasks. For example, when listing your tasks for the day, you might select the ones that are more urgent and important than others. This enables you to prioritize your tasks accordingly.
You can also maximize your productivity by scheduling priority tasks at the peak hours of your day when you have the most energy and focus to be productive at work.
Setting a time frame for specific tasks to be done helps keep your mind focused on the task during the allotted time so that you can achieve your goal of completion. Also, other activities that may be seen as distractions from achieving your goal within your schedule will be eliminated or reduced, promoting a deep focus on work.
For example, activities such as answering messages and emails in the middle of work, which can disrupt your focus, can be scheduled for a specific time in your workflow through time pooling, which helps you keep your focus on specific tasks and reduce multitasking.
Pooling time is a great way to manage work stress. This is because it removes the stress of multitasking and helps you better manage your energy level with prioritization and deep focus.
44 percent of workers say they feel stressed on a daily basis. This can be attributed to the huge workload of those who do not have exact plans on how to deliver on tight deadlines. Time pooling as a time management strategy helps reduce this pressure by streamlining the workload through grouping and time allocation, which also improves focus.
For example, instead of naming your goals in general terms like “Complete Project Report”, you can break down the goal by accumulating time by listing tasks such as; Perform Project Evaluation, Compile Results and Review Report. This makes it easier to focus, track your progress, and less worry about an undefined workload.
Related: 4 Focus Improved Strategies That Will Save Your Busy Day
How to use compilation time effectively
Categorize your tasks:
Categorizing your tasks is a key practice in pooling time that helps you get the most out of the process. To do this, you have to make a list of all the tasks you intend to work on and then find the point of similarity between each task to help you compile.
For example, you might classify simple tasks that don’t require a lot of mental work, like organizing files or scheduling a meeting, as shallow work. While tasks that require higher mental strength, such as creating a project plan or finishing a report, can be classified as depth work.
To categorize your tasks more efficiently, you may want to group them according to the objectives of each task or the tools required to complete the tasks.
For example, a project manager who uses a specific project management software for certain tasks might group all the tasks that require the use of the same software for completion. Also, the project manager can group the tasks related to a specific project together because the objectives of the tasks are the same.
While categorization helps you create your groups of tasks, scheduling helps you decide when to complete and what priority should be given to each group of tasks. Schedule the most pressing, energy-intensive tasks at the top of your list for the day to enable you to maximize your peak hours.
Make an estimate of the time required to complete each task, and allocate time to the task accordingly. A simple notepad and pen can be used to jot down your schedule, especially if they are placed where you can view them easily.
However, you may want to use a numerical planner to help you with scheduling. Digital planners come with timers or alarm alerts that alert you when a job has started and stopped. You can also sync the planner across multiple devices to help you keep track of the time collection process efficiently.
You can check out digital planners like Google Tasks, TickTick, and Sectograph.
Staying focused means that you must reduce all distractions that get in the way of your work. According to a study, it takes 23 minutes and 15 seconds to refocus on work after being distracted. Workers report being distracted by their phones, office noises, and co-workers.
Turn off your phone while you work, or use the Do Not Disturb function on your phone to reduce digital distractions. You may also want to close your office door while you work or find a space with less human traffic to reduce interruptions and distractions.
Your team can easily be a distraction and interruption to your workflow. When people don’t know you’re trying to stay focused, they might interrupt when they can’t reach you for quick responses.
Telling your team and other people around you that you’re pooling time will help reduce interruptions for them. You can inform them to send any communications via email or expect responses within a certain time according to the time collection schedule.
Evaluate your process:
After getting into temporal aggregation, the next thing to do is evaluate your process. This helps you determine how successful the operation will be for you. This includes seeing if you are able to focus better or if you complete tasks faster and ultimately improve your productivity.
The importance of this part of the time-pooling process is making an informed review that enables you to change the things you think you need to change.
For example, you may discover that you are able to maintain deep focus if you add a timer to each task in your schedule, or you are able to complete tasks faster when you start with non-routine tasks before entering into routine tasks such as answering emails.
Related: 12 ways to master your calendar and manage your time to maximize results
The simplest part of this productivity process is starting your time-accumulating journey. There are different tools and techniques that can help you through the compilation time process. Some scheduling apps come with specific time management techniques like the Pomodoro and Eisenhower methods.
The key is finding what works for you and how you can leverage your favorite time-pooling technique to maximize your productivity.