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When you think about it, do you like to work on a project or task until it’s finished or until it’s time for another task? Maybe it’s hard for you to stop working on a task even though the workday is over. You want to finish the task and you don’t keep an eye on the time ticking away.
You put appointments and time blocks in your calendar to do things and you just ignore them and carry on with whatever you were doing. You set alarms to remind you to get up from your desk or get ready for bed, and you turn them off and keep on working.
If you have tried time blocking and it’s not working for you, it could be you are not a time-oriented kind of person. You need to look at time on another level. Because there is a difference between time-oriented vs task-oriented people.
Time-oriented vs Task-oriented people
If you are a time-oriented person, you like to have certain times set aside for your tasks. You like to have a start time and an end time for your tasks. It keeps you concentrated on the task at hand. Therefore, procrastination is kept to a minimum, because you know you need to finish the task in a certain amount of time.
Also, time-oriented people can (more) easily end their workday. They know that the unfinished task is waiting for them in the next set aside amount of time the next day. That’s why time blocking is a perfect tool to get focused and to stay focused, for time-oriented people.
But what if you would like to work on a task and don’t want to stop until you get things done? Time will only get in your way. Time will restrict you. You are likely to be a task-oriented person.
The Pomodoro Technique and Time Blocking are not the tools that help you do your job. You need other tools, other strategies.
Let’s look at other ways to plan your day as a task-oriented person.
Make your own schedule
When you are a task-oriented person, you would want to make a to-do list with tasks you need to do on a weekly basis, according to the goals you’ve set and those you want to reach. You don’t make your daily schedule using a time-frame, like “from 10 am until 11 am I’ll work on this and from 2 pm until 4 pm I’ll work on that”.
Rather you make a list with the tasks you need to get done for the week and every morning you pick out something you want to work on that day. Assign weekly tasks that you can switch around during the week. Every morning you take a look at your weekly to-do list and you can pick what you feel like working on. That will keep you motivated to work on your goals plus it will keep the creativity flowing. Task-oriented people are usually creative people. They focus on one task at a time, without letting anything else get in the way.
Another approach is having themed days. Having certain kinds of tasks assigned to certain days keeps working on tasks to a minimum. Especially when you have quite a few tasks on your plate for the week. Themed days could be a happy medium between tasks that need to be done on time and having the freedom to work on those tasks whenever you want to.
A great tool for themed days is task-batching. You work and concentrate on one particular day on the same kind of tasks. It keeps you in the zone and you get things done quicker and easier. People who are task-oriented are usually great at batching tasks.
How difficult it may seem for task-oriented people, who want to keep on working until the task is done, it is necessary to take a break now and then. You could try to “schedule” breaks instead of using the Pomodoro Technique and “needing” to break for 5 minutes after a 25 minutes work session. Whenever you finish a task (not a time block), take a little break of maybe 10 minutes or an hour. Do absolutely nothing or go for a walk, run some errands or whatever you like to do to relax and prepare yourself for the next task.
As a task-oriented person, you would like to feel accomplished at the end of the day, just like time-oriented people do. To get that done, you can break up your big task into smaller ones. It’s even an idea to put those smaller tasks on a daily to-do list. You can check off the tasks that are done and at the end of the day, you feel you have accomplished all you wanted to do for the day, without all of it needed to be done in a certain amount of time, like in time blocks.
It is important to assign end dates to your bigger tasks or projects. Think about getting to have a task done within the week. You still have the flexibility to work on your task whenever you want to or feel creative enough to work on it. But you do have a set time when the task needs to be finished.
Personally I am a time-oriented person. I can’t work on a task for hours on end. I need to work on different tasks during my day. Task batching is not something I’m good at. I like to work on a project, like a blog post, from beginning to end, from research to publishing. I have tried to batch my writing, making images, research for 2 or 3 posts at a time, but in the end, it took me more time then when I was concentrating on 1 blog post at a time.
It sure helps when you know what kind of person you are to plan your day accordingly. When you know whether you are a time-oriented or task-oriented person, you can better stay focused on the task at hand and eliminate distractions.
Other posts about productivity that would interest you:
- Why You Don’t Want to Multitask
- Why You Need To Schedule Sleep to Be More Productive
- Tasks versus Time by Breean Kyte Kirby
Hi, I’m your time managing and organizing best friend. I am a mom of 3 teenagers and married to my best friend.
As a working mom myself, I love to show you how to juggle your time using routines & schedules and give you time managing tips.