Most of us don’t have the luxury of a job role that requires just one thing of us. We need help with time management tips because we wear multiple hats, have constant interruptions, are overran by the tyranny of the urgent, and get way too many e-mails.
While most of us can’t change many of these dynamics, we can definitely get a hold of how we respond to it.
Here’s three time management tips that literally saved my young professional life
and continue to bring order to my multiple worlds today:
1) USE A PLANNING SYSTEM
I am SO serious about this (I wish you could see my face right now ;-). Not just a planner,but a planning system! Like Franklin-Covey, the masters of personal effectiveness and efficiency (click on “planners” when you visit their site–they are a little bit of an investment, but worth EVERY penny!). In a planning system, you not only list your tasks, but also categorize them:
A= I can’t go home til this is done
B= I would like to complete this today
C= If everything goes better than planned & I’m not interrupted, I’ll get to this
Tasks that aren’t completed are forwarded to the next day or scheduled for a later time. A planning system helps manage your priorities and your energy, not just your time. (Definitely more on this to come!)
2) GIVE IT A HOME
As with keeping a tidy house, keeping your desk & office organized means that everything must have a home. Every time you view a pile of paper, post-it note or stack of file folders, your brain has to re-interpret & categorize the item and this causes stress!
Nothing should be stored on your work surface and things that can’t be forgotten should be scheduled in your planning system (see #1 :-). By giving every piece of paper a home in a file folder (and every file folder a home in a cabinet), every stapler a home in a draw, and every post-it reminder a home in your planning system, you will feel considerably more organized and in control (and you’ll stop chastising the people who keep an immaculate workspace ;-)
3) GO HOME
While this doesn’t directly relate to time management tips, it has everything to do with managing your energy & how much you can realistically accomplish in a day. I’ve found that somewhere along the way I’ve developed a warped perception of how much I can reasonably do in an 8 hour work day and 24 hour period. The temptation is often to push a little harder, stay a little later, and get that one more thing done, when in reality:
– Even if it is completed, I won’t feel less pressure (there’s always more to do)
– It will only create more stress as I’m now rushing to get home and late for my evening plans.
When I learn to stop where I’m at, punch out right at 5, and give myself permission to transition to my home and family responsibilities, my time is less crunched and I’m fully present where I’m at.
These lessons were hard-earned! And I know you have some of your own, so I’d love to hear what you’ve learned along the way; please leave a comment below!
Oh! And don’t miss my Secret to Staying on Top of Your E-mail Inbox (And Not Dreading New Mail Notifications)…this has been a HUGE help for managing my email inbox!