5 Tips for Managing Your Time
As tough as it is to admit, at some point we are all victims of poor time management. Managing your time effectively is important in balancing the various demands throughout your day, and though the concept of time management may sound simple, the actual practice is what can be difficult. Identifying the right tools is crucial, so here are a few useful tips that may be right for you.
Procrastination – the word and action we seek all too often. Procrastination comes in many forms, whether it’s the fear of making a decision, the lack of motivation, or fear of the unknown. To help centralize yourself, and eliminate the overwhelming feeling of a daunting task, keep the end goal in mind. Refer to your schedule and knock out the easier tasks to eliminate distractions. Also, every hour spent procrastinating effects your overall productivity and well-being.
Plan & Prioritize
Planning your day or week ahead is helpful, but you should always prepare for the unexpected. Don’t spend too much time planning as we all know plans don’t always pan out. Instead, schedule about 10 minutes either at the end of the week or at the end of each day to quickly draft a realistic schedule of what your next day or week should look like. Include the items that need to get done no matter what. Next, prioritize them. Knowing both your short and long-term goals is crucial in prioritizing. If you work on projects, keep in mind some items may not get done as quickly as others because they require feedback from outside sources, so plan for that. Lastly, include time to check emails, voicemails, social media, etc., because as with everything else, it requires your time and you want to set yourself up for success.
Try New Methods
Many of us get in the habit of doing things the same and fall into our same day-to-day routine. Routines become dull and may even limit your potential, so get creative and change things up. Try new methods to tackle a task and you’ll see this will not only improve your productivity but it will also allow you the opportunity to adapt to new situations and even unexpected distractions.
Multi-task with Caution
As much as multi-tasking may sound like the golden ticket, it’s not always beneficial. People think of it as a timesaver and a solution to get more done in less time. Dependent on the workload, multi-tasking can offer more distractions, as well as cause you to lose momentum especially when working on projects of larger scale. Finding that right flow to successfully multi-task may take longer than completing a project from start to end. The key is to identify the projects that can be multi-tasked. For example, it’s easy to think of it in terms of housework, you can wash a load of laundry while you wash dishes, but it’s not too effective to try to fold the laundry while you wash dishes. Evaluate how much attention and hands-on effort a task requires before you try to do two tasks at once. You can probably respond to an email while you wait on a document to download, but can you respond to an email while you’re on the phone with a client? Probably not, and if you do, it’s likely not an effective conversation and your email is loaded with errors. It’s best to finish something from start to end and know that you put forth your best effort than doing many things half-way.
Make Time for Yourself
At last, always make time for yourself. Don’t spend all your spare hours in front of the computer screen. Make time for rest. Regardless of what you’re working on, if you’re tired, your level of productivity will be lower and may cause you to take longer to complete a task. Also, it’s okay to take a break. Sometimes stepping away, even to take a quick walk down the hall, can help you gain perspective and recharge.
As Project Director of the Garland Chamber, I often feel I’m juggling many plates in motion, and as appealing as a career as a circus performer sounds, I’d prefer to keep my day job. In my role, it’s important to find a balance between simultaneously managing various programs and committees. Getting derailed happens often, so the sooner I get back on track, the faster I can effectively reach my goals. Most importantly, take time to organize yourself and identify the right skills that work for you.
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