“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” ― H. Jackson Brown Jr.
What have you accomplished today? Does the answer reflect how busy you feel you have been? We live in the age of busyness. Everybody, everywhere, appears to be busier than ever. We multitask, we get stressed, we sacrifice our personal lives. But are we really getting important things done? Follow these time management tips to take back control!
“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?” ― Henry David Thoreau
Define your most important task and work on this first
It’s tempting to start working on small, easy to complete tasks and procrastinate on the bigger tasks or the ones that require more thinking. That is probably the number one reason people fail to accomplish their goals. Important tasks get pushed away time and time again and never get done. Put a stop to this. When you start work in the morning, tackle that priority task first.
Deactivate email and social media alerts
For most of us, it’s hard to resist the urge to check our emails and Facebook every few minutes. Getting notifications makes it even harder. New emails pop in the corner of your monitor, Facebook notifications light up your phone screen, and before you know it you’ve lost your trail of thoughts. Shut it all down.
Break down big tasks into smaller tasks
Sometime we procrastinate on a task simply because it looks daunting. So divide it into smaller, more achiavable steps, and take it one bit at a time.
If you try working for a long stretch of time, your focus will eventually shift and you’ll find yourself getting easily distracted. When you need a break, take one. A real one – as in: get away from your desk. Checking your emails doesn’t count.
Create a schedule instead of a list
To-do lists are scary. Tasks pile up and looking at your total workload can feel discouraging. Instead, create a weekly scheduler. Assign tasks to time slots and stick to it as much as possible. You can use slots of half an hour up to a half day depending on the nature of your job. Mark each task as done when finished, and move on to the next!
If you are a people pleaser, this might be a tough one. We’re not saying don’t help others. By all means, do. But once and only once you have finished your own work.
If a task can be done by somebody else, think of delegating. Fight the belief that you’re never better served than by yourself. Learn to trust others. That being said, whoever you are delegating to also has things to do! Be mindful of this and accept the possibility that they might in turn say no!
Work on one thing for uninterrupted periods of time
Once you start working on something, do not let anything else distract you. Be completely focused on the task at hand, and ask not to be disturbed. Close all other windows and browser tabs. Shut your door (if you have one!).
Group similar activities
If your job involves a wide variety of tasks, group them by category. It will help you be more focused as these tasks follow the same logic, the same thinking patterns. It will take you less time to settle into a task as you are already in the corresponding frame of mind.
Make a habit of recurring tasks
If you are performing a task daily, making it into a habit is a good way to free up some head space. That’s one less thing you’ll have to think about.
There is a quicker way. Figure it out.
Some tasks take forever and they are generally the ones that you don’t get much value out of. But it has to be done. Think data entry and other Excel sheet copy/pasting work. Finding and implementing a new way of doing things takes time initially, but once in place you’ll save invaluable amounts of time that you can spend on work that delivers value. Make the investment and be done with it.
Eliminate unnecessary tasks
Do you really need to colour code that marketing calendar? Didn’t think so.
How long do you spend every day looking for a specific email? Do you get exhausted just by looking at the pile of files on your desk? How many icons are cluttering your desktop? Time for a good spring cleaning session.
Use waiting time
We all hate waiting, because we all hate wasting our time. So use waiting time to catch up!
“Never waste any time you can spend sleeping.” – Frank Knight. Well that says it all, doesn’t it?
“A plan is what, a schedule is when. It takes both a plan and a schedule to get things done.” – Peter Turla
“I am definitely going to take a course on time management… just as soon as I can work it into my schedule.” – Louis E. Boone
Why not start planning your time for 2017? We offer a range of wall planners, desk calendars and keyboard calendars – we can use your artwork or design it for you!