Time Management Tips for the Busy Bee
Do you ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day or days in the week? I find myself always thinking that the day / week / year has gone by way too fast and I have not completed all those things I wanted to both at work and in my personal life. By reading many articles on time management I have created my own list of the 10 things that are vital in managing time to get the most out of my every day.
- Just Do It! Your attitude will be the make or break point on how much you get done daily and how good you feel at the end of the day. If you have things you need to do just do them!
Procrastination can be a daily killer. The hardest part of a task is always beginning it. To overcome procrastination, schedule just 10 minutes to begin the task. You don’t always have to do a task start to finish in one hit, so just get it started and that will make coming back to it much easier.
- Set Goals
We hear a lot of talk about setting goals in life, that is because it is actually important. Goals allow us to move forward. By having a goal or target you have a purpose and a drive. This means each day you should be doing things to get to your goal; create a daily goal or task list. If you do not set goals you aren’t moving forward and if you’re not moving forward where are you going? Henry David Thoreau, “Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” Setting goals will also motivate you. As you see yourself checking off or achieving your small goals you get a sense of pride and accomplishment and it becomes easier to start and finish each task.
Being a busy person your daily schedule most likely changes as different things come up. You may not achieve your whole to-do-list that day but there are almost always important tasks that you need to get done. This means prioritising your day. Take 30mins at the beginning of your day to plan, schedule and prioritise. By setting yourself up in this way first thing in the morning you will be ready for any distraction or interruption that comes your way. You will know what must take priority that day and what can be carried over to the next day.
- Be Conscious of your Actions
Often when you are so busy, it is hard to operate task-to-task and we get mixed up rushing projects or meetings and making critical mistakes and wasting time. Make sure that you are consciously aware of what is going on. Continually ask the question, ‘is what I am doing going to move me forward?’ Avoid doing tasks ‘just for the sake of it’.
- Overestimate Time
When you give a task a time-frame make sure to overestimate the time it will take to complete. This leaves room for anything that comes up while you are doing the task and unforeseen challenges. If you do finish it early, celebrate and give yourself a little break or get started on the next task early. It is never a bad thing to finish early!
- Remove Distractions
Distractions are the biggest time waster and for any busy bee, myself included, they chew through your plans, social time and work hours. Remove them! This might mean putting your phone away or on aeroplane mode. If you need your phone for your job then delete distraction apps such as Facebook or any games.
Phone calls and e-mails can also be distractions! Give yourself some solid chunks of time where you do not pay attention to or answer any calls or e-mails. You will find that you are most productive without these things.
No matter where you work, communication is important! Make sure you are talking to your colleagues, employee’s or family. Allowing people to see into your busy schedule or knowing when you are definitely not available will enable you to work with less stress and interruptions. Creating a ‘friendly’ work environment for yourself is also important. Making an effort to be friendly, no matter how small can change both your attitude towards people and your attitude towards going to work. Put a smile on and say hello, share your frustrations of busyness or your excitement of achievement and you may be surprised how enjoyable your workplace can become.
- Take Regular Breaks
Many people see taking breaks as a waste of time but they are vital to a healthy work life. If you struggle to take breaks then schedule them in to your day. A great idea could be to have a bottle of water on your desk and every time you finish it you take a break, walk around, fill it up again etc.
- Practise Saying No
When you are busy it is often easy to just keep accepting new tasks. I know that when I am super busy I don’t even have the time to think about saying no to a new project.
Saying no might save your life! Work smarter not harder!
If you are finding that you aren’t completing all your tasks on time or feel like that goal is getting further away instead of closer, start saying no to new tasks, it will not offend people and it will benefit everyone.
If you are working over capacity you will often do everything to a poor standard. It is better to do a few things well then to do many things average. Richard Koch puts this into perspective,
“Few people take objectives really seriously. They put average effort into too many things, rather than superior thought and effort into a few important things. People who achieve the most are selective as well as determined.”
No matter what you think you will not work well with little sleep! Make sure you are resting properly. I am notorious for not sleeping enough and I pay the price by the end of the week. I also notice that when I do have enough sleep my work quality and my moods are a lot better along with my energy and general health.
Sleep is a vital part of having a healthy lifestyle. I recommend also making sure that you are eating healthy and exercising appropriately. You will find that the healthier your lifestyle, the less tired and more productive you become.
Bonus Tip: ENJOY YOURSELF!!
As Mother Teresa says, “Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is what we need not more.”
Take the time to enjoy each task as you do it. When it gets frustrating, take a break and come back to it with a renewed vigour and excitement to see it through to full completion.