Everyone has said, “Where did the time go?” We have all wasted time and wish we hadn’t. Here are some ideas on how to organize and create time management skills.
To answer the question, “Where did my time go?” you will first need to document for a week to see what you are actually doing with your time. You can then take a look at how productive you actually are and see where you can be more efficient at the end of the week.
First you will need to organize, 3 months at a time is usually sufficient. Now the organization method is up to you. In this day and age we tend to organize digitally, but paper has its value as well. Examples of organizing are a planner, reminders on your phone, computer or tablet, or file folders for each day of the month.
Once you have organized try some of the following techniques to enhance your time management skills.
Review your schedule and take time to refocus every day for 18 minutes.
- For 5 minutes each morning review your schedule and find out what has to be done today.
- Take 1 minute of every hour to refocus and remind yourself what has to be completed today so you can remain on task.
- Take 5 minutes at the end of each day to reflect on what has been accomplished or learned during that day.
While reviewing your schedule make sure to prioritize what needs to get done. I would recommend using the ABC and Pareto Analyses to complete this task
- A: The first things that need to be completed should be important or urgent.
- B: The second things to be completed should be important but not urgent.
- C: The last things to be completed are neither important nor urgent.
While making your schedule keep these tips in mind.
- Block Your Time In Advance – By scheduling tasks/events as far in advance as possible will let you know in advance if you will have a busy day and will be able to prepare for it. You can also make sure you will not have events overlapping or be double booked.
- Avoid Long Meetings – When the quote “Talk is cheap” came out it should really have said, “Talk is not productive.” Meetings should be scheduled to start and stop at certain times. If during a meeting you get off topic, then this becomes time wasted.
- Plan Extra Time During Activities For Interruptions: Things come up that need our immediate attention. It may take a couple of minutes or you may need to rearrange your schedule. Leave yourself a little wiggle room for these events.
- Schedule Calls And Email Time: By scheduling times to receive or make calls you can reduce time that is wasted by the distraction. After the call or email has been responded to it takes time to refocus on what you were doing before the call or email.
- Schedule Tasks: If there are various tasks that need to be completed throughout the day that are not related, try to schedule them. If the task is not something that is done often or is not important/urgent, it may be forgotten.
- Start Early: By starting early you can avoid procrastination, stress and multi-tasking. When we multitask we are not giving one thing our full attention so we may need to repeat the same work for mistakes that happened.
Making Your Schedule Easier:
- Make lists of things that need to be done during that day in order of importance.
- Set up deadlines for projects or tasks that take more than one day.
- Learn to say “NO.” Know when you already have a full schedule.
- Delegate tasks that do not necessarily have to be done by you.
- Group similar tasks together to complete them quicker. If your mind does not have to constantly change from one topic to another you will work quicker and more efficiently.
- Profit from any odd time during your day. If you have down time during transportation, lunch, in the elevator, or while waiting on someone try to start your next task to save time later.
With all of this said and done you should become more productive and aware of how you spend your time. It may take some getting used to for the first couple of weeks but there are two important things to remember. Take breaks and remember it is impossible to get everything done in one day.