Are you usually punctual? Do you get your work done on time? Are you good with deadlines? Are you satisfied with the timeframe it takes you to finish things?
Bottom line: Are you a good time manager?
If we’re completely honest, most of us would admit that a little help in the time management department couldn’t hurt. And there are those among us who are not afraid to admit to needing considerably more than a little assistance in getting a grip on the productive use of time.
These 5 tips can put you on the road to consistently better time management.
Take to heart habit # 3 in Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: First Things First. With only twenty-four hours in each day and a plethora of “things” vying for our attention, it’s crucial that we distinguish the most important tasks from those that are less significant, and especially from those that barely qualify as trivial. First things first, lesser stuff later, if there’s time.
- Clear The Clutter
Distractions in the form of piles of stuff, general disorganization, or – dare we say it – downright filth will do a number on efficiency every time. It’s tough to focus when your eye is drawn to a mountain of junk or pulled toward the boxes of files waiting not-so-patiently to be filed. Set aside time to clean-up, then vow to make orderliness a priority.
- Focus, focus and then focus some more
Nothing promotes efficiency more than complete attention to a task. Close your door, window or whatever else will minimize background noise. Immerse yourself in the task at hand. If music increases your focus, go for it, but if it’s just another distraction, be mature enough to skip it.
In our “always on” world, the thought of disconnecting is almost hard to imagine. It’s so easy to become a slave to your inbox and other forms of instant messaging. Log out of all social media. Stash your phone and silence it too. It won’t kill you, your friends or colleagues to be out of contact for a time. If the Internet is too much of a temptation, disconnect from Wi-Fi while you give concentrated effort to a project. Make a habit of allotting one or more specific chunks of time each day for “checking in.” Resisting the urge to stay connected 24/7 will free up your brain power for accomplishing more in less time.
- You deserve a break
Allow for some downtime between tasks. Rushing from one intense period of focus to another is stressful for mind, body, and spirit. Fatigue and productivity are not pals, and it’s emotionally draining to even think about a long stretch of work without a break.
Allow for a moment to pat yourself on the back for finishing on time, then get some fresh air, take a walk through the halls, grab a light snack, and just chill. A few deep cleansing breaths can get the blood and oxygen pumping again before you forge ahead to the next task.
- Use downtime to your advantage
Turn those minutes spent waiting for your turn in the lunch line or even at the copier into thinking time. Rather than stare mindlessly at the back of the person in front of you, let your mind delve into the details of the upcoming task or revisit the last assignment.
Use those chunks of time when your body is active, but your mind is free – like when exercising or while commuting – to engage in “thought productivity” sessions. If it’s been a long, stressful day already, use the downtime to purge your mind and regroup for the next project.
And one more piece of advice. One of the fastest ways to zap productivity is to allow the prospect of a busy schedule to overwhelm you. Yes, there’s a lot to do. Welcome to today’s adult life! But in the same way the adage advises that the best way to eat an elephant is one piece at a time, a hectic schedule can be managed in the same way: one task/activity/project at a time.
Focus. Complete. Break. Breathe. Repeat.
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Phone: 314-567-6500 Website: blstaffing.com