Time, it’s one of those things that we are never truly happy with, unless we are making the best of it. We need to do our best to manage time to make the most of it; to efficiently and effectively complete our work. Sometimes the stress we feel from being overburdened is not a result of having too much work or not enough time to complete it all, but rather from our inefficient use of the time we do have.
We all get busy, overwhelmed and distracted at times, but with a little effort, we can overcome these issues to better manage our time. Here are a few starting points to help you take back control and manage your time like a pro:
Prioritization – Having multiple tasks that need to be accomplished on the same day or that will have competing future deadlines is inevitable, understanding priority of the tasks and what it will take to accomplish them is extremely important. The following article discusses the use of the “Priority Matrix” in order to help manage time.
- This model allows for you to prioritize tasks by judging their Importance vs. Urgency in order to decide what to Do First >> Do Next >> Do Later >> Don’t Do
- It is noted that neither importance nor urgency are fixed and you should re-evaluate your task list periodically to adjust for any changes.
Scheduling – To do lists are a great way to help you manage your work load and can help you to rationalize the importance of the tasks you have to complete. However, without putting a deadline on those tasks it can be easy to push them to the side due to no urgency. Doing your best to “stick” to determined deadlines (even if they are not cemented in the ground) is a critical component to efficient time management.
- Scheduling your tasks for the day according to urgency will help keep you on track through set goals. Schedule future tasks (these are singular tasks or projects) for the week or month if you can.
- If you have recurring tasks that will need to be completed daily but do not have a specific dead line incorporate into your schedule but try do so consistently, same time, same day. Blocking off time specifically for those tasks will allow you to manage the time you have for other tasks while ensuring they will be completed that day.
Focus – Is your attention being taken away from the tasks you are working on too easily? Focus can be broken in many ways; from wasting time on social media or watching emails coming in to an array of distractions in the office. However, one of the biggest contributors to loss of focus is multitasking, your time and efforts are better utilized when you focus on completing one activity at a time.
- Eliminating distractions around you may not always be something you can control completely but, there are certain things you will be able to do to decrease them.
- Close programs that you do not need open in order to complete a task or turning off instant notifications for email or social media for instance.
- You know the things that distract you, take initiative and get them out of your way before starting the task at hand.
“You may delay, but time will not.”
Conceptually, time management is easy to understand and provide corrective measures for, but putting these actions into practice can be a lot more difficult. It will take some extra effort on your behalf. An ineffective approach to time management can be difficult to change, and like most bad habits a little effort can go a long way when trying to improve your time management!