When you wake up in the morning with dread in the pit of your stomach because you have “too many things to do and not enough time to do them” …you might have a time management problem. When you find your heart racing the closer you get to the deadline and you are worried you won’t make it…you might have a time management problem. When your brain freezes up and you can’t concentrate while trying to multitask…you might have a time management problem.
So how do you take control?
The key to managing your time is to figure out where it all goes. You may be surprised at how much time is wasted on tasks like checking emails throughout the day and trying to multi-task. Constantly checking your email can lead you down a rabbit hole of other work when you need to focus on your most important and urgent matters. It can also be a form of procrastination disguised as work but distracting you from your priorities.
Take control of your day with these tips to increase your productivity.
1. Start your day on the right foot by planning out a list of goals and tasks that you want to accomplish. Use the time blocking method to assign set times in your day to work on the tasks at hand.
2. Schedule priority work to be completed first, and schedule it at a time that you are more alert and focused.
3. Try setting aside only a few short time blocks in your day to read and respond to email. Be careful not to spend too much time on any one email that may require you to do more work and take you off of your schedule. Instead, save the corresponding work for later and add it to your calendar as a project to complete at the designated time.
4. If you still feel like more time is being wasted than you would like, try keeping track of what you are doing outside of your goals and tasks that you had scheduled. You may need to adjust your schedule to allow for more of those “surprises” that happen regularly.
Manage your time like you manage your budget.
Similar to creating a budget for how you spend and save money, you can create a budget for how you spend and save time. This requires commitment and discipline much like the requirements of sticking to a financial budget. You can go into “time debt” by overcommitting yourself, wasting time, and using inefficient processes. Much like using credit cards and loans to buy now and pay back later, we tend to think we can catch up on time later. This is not easy to do and often causes us to lose our focus and rush through work, missing out on quality. Creating a “time budget” will allow you to manage your time, and stop time from managing YOU! Your time is valuable, and how you choose to spend it is up to you.