How many times a week do you forget about something you committed to, or double book yourself? What about a task you wanted to do at work, but slipped your mind until you’re ready to leave?
Time is a difficult thing to manage, both in and out of the workplace. Sometimes we can’t control what happens, like a client coming to you in crisis or having to clean up some type of unexpected mess. But there are also distractions throughout the day you have control over, like how many hours you spend watching TV or checking your social media. Regardless of the reasons, when you feel like there’s not enough time in the day it can be frustrating. Finding the balance between fun and work, urgent and non-urgent tasks is key to leading well-balanced life. We have a few tips for you to try as we kick off September!
Take inventory of your time
In order to begin making changes, you need to be able to see clearly where your time actually goes! For anywhere between 1 and 4 weeks, budget your time out based on categories such as work, travel, classes, sleep, etc. and get a better understanding of your current routine.
Use the Time Inventory sheet to start keeping track of your weekly schedule and begin to make changes.
Every week, we have 168 hours to use. Do you see any bad habits that are taking up too much of your time? Do you have hours unaccounted for? Let us know if you use the Time Inventory, and what you discover!
Plan and stay focused
Now that you have a better idea of how you use your time, you can re-work your schedule to use it wisely. There are a number of options to keep you organized- you can use the tradition pen and paper through weekly and monthly planners, get creative like using a Bullet Journal, or try something more advanced like Google Calendars and other phone based apps.
Here are a few highly rated online/phone apps to check out:
- Remember the Milk: https://www.rememberthemilk.com/
- More here: https://www.themuse.com/advice/8-free-apps-that-double-as-personal-assistants
For some of us, the problem is just figuring out what we need to accomplish, and when. If this sounds like you, then starting every day or week with a to-do list can have great benefits!
Write down all of the projects, reports, activities you need to do for the week/day, and then highlight or number the top 3 that must be finished. Give your self a deadline for each of those, and fit them into your schedule accordingly. Try to get those three things done in the morning or beginning of your shift- research shows that we are at our most productive in the first few hours of work, so crank out those priorities early and leave the smaller tasks for the latter half of your day, where you have more flexibility.
To-Do lists can also be an effective motivation technique- it’s been shown that being able to cross or check off things from a list increases your confidence! If you’d like to give it a shot, we created a sample you can test out here –> MAP To Do List
If you prefer an electronic version, give these Phone Apps a shot!
Don’t be afraid to say NO.
Sometimes, the root of the problem is that we are simply stretched too thin. Cutting down on commitments, or delegating some of those less urgent tasks can take away the feeling of simply being overwhelmed. Suddenly, you’ll be able to give each important task the time and energy it deserves.
Don’t be afraid to say no or ask for help- your mind and body will thank you for giving it the break!
We all get overwhelmed with work. It’s how we handle it that makes a difference. Build your new routine slowly, and make sure that you place significant time for caring for yourself in your schedule!