Many would argue that time is our most precious resource. It’s the only resource that we all have the same amount of each day, but we don’t all spend it in the same way. Although most of us divide our time between projects, family, and “me time,” we often feel that there just isn’t enough of this valuable commodity to get everything done that we’d like to. Fortunately, there are innovative tools and some great time management tips out there so we can assess and adjust our habits, allowing us to maximize and manage the 24 hours we get each day.
Time Management: Some General Guidelines
For those of us looking to save time, here’s a brief summary of time management, tucked neatly into the beginning of this article, for ease of access. Let’s face it, what would an article on time be without a shortcut?
- Plan ahead, plan ahead, plan ahead. Even a simple sketch on a post-it note.
- Make a list of 3-4 urgent tasks.
- Find yourself a good time management system.
- Focus on one task at a time and deeply focus. Don’t forget the “Do not disturb” icon or sign on your office door.
- Make a list during your last 15 minutes of what needs attention tomorrow.
- Build in rest times and make sure you’re doing something energizing like going outside or taking a coffee/tea break.
- Maybe change up your schedule. Consider waking up earlier on the weekends or cutting out some TV.
We all set out on the trail of goals with the intention of 100% commitment, but so many of us actually end up in failure on that hike towards achieving long-term goals. So what’s the problem? One of the biggest culprits is distraction. If you’re serious about achieving goals, you’ll have to be serious about avoiding distractions and behavior that pulls you off course. Not those things that you do that you enjoy, but those time-wasting habits that shall go unnamed. The actual work needs to take precedence.
The solution? A time management system that works for you, personally. Perhaps the biggest benefit of using a time management system is that it assists you in balancing work mode and play mode, and a good life is, of course, all about balance. Achieving a high overall quality of life is closely connected to the balance of responsibilities, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed with life, then you’re feeling stressed.
Prolonged exposure to stress will leave you burned out, and could even shorten your life. Yikes! However, rest assured that there are many great time management systems out there, such as the Pomodoro Technique and these great apps, which are highly rated by users and serve to help you divide time for work, family, personal care, and even rest. These time management systems will help you better plan your goals and do the work needed to achieve those goals by scheduling your tasks in specific slots of time.
Planning what goals you want to work on is key. One strategy is writing down 3-4 tasks that you want to get done and focusing on those tasks throughout the day. Then with the last 15 minutes of your day, write down what needs to get done tomorrow. It’s easier to work with what’s more or less tangible, so taking your tasks or goals out of the abstract and committing them to paper and a time management system means that you stand a good chance of making progress and developing a habit that sticks.
Don’t forget those breaks! No matter how many responsibilities we have swirling around simultaneously, it’s important to manage our energy, and energy management is a crucial skill practiced through self-awareness. Being self-aware aids us in intentionally choosing those activities which activate our energy and avoiding those which leave us feeling depleted.
The trick is to notice the difference internally, which does take some practice, but can be done any time you feel like checking in with yourself. Once you do this, you can start plugging your tasks into a structure that optimizes your energy levels. Follow a draining task up with something that energizes you, such as walking outside, drinking some coffee or tea, or playing a quick game of Pokemon Go, if that’s your thing. Whatever you really enjoy, do that. Then you can return to your next task energized and more productive.
Hopefully, you’ve found a tip or two from this article on time management helpful. One added bonus of finding balance with your time is that if anyone tries to tell you that your Netflix binge-watching habit is out of control, you can tell them that it’s actually scheduled into your time management system and continue watching. Sorry, we are not responsible for any ensuing arguments, but best of luck!
“It has taken so much wasted time and consolidated into one easy-to-use system for all possible school needs.” —Jamie B., principal.
Click here to see how you can help your school thrive by conserving its most precious resource: time.