Pulling your hair out. Slamming things on your desk. Weeping uncontrollably. The telltale signs of poor time management. The adage “There just aren’t enough hours in the day” was coined by a lousy time manager. Sure, everyone gets overwhelmed. But with a little strategy, your days can achieve a much higher level of productivity and much lower level of stress by following five simple time management practices:
You Control the Situation; Don’t Let the Situation Control You.
Okay, you’ve got a full plate. Scratch that – you’ve got A LOT on your plate. Some people’s first reaction is to panic. Others scream and throw a tantrum. Still others head to the beach. These people are letting the situation control them. While the beach sounds like a nice escape, that work will still be waiting there for you when you return. The best approach is to stay calm, evaluate the work that needs to be done, and determine the best time management practices to get through it. Once it’s done, then head to the beach – and now, you won’t have a looming sense of dread to ruin it.
Agenda and Schedules are Your Friends.
One of the greatest ways to combat “the situation controlling you” as mentioned above is to create agendas and schedules for time management. Agendas are more of a “to do” list for work where you can list out everything you need to, should do, and want to do today. Schedules are a whole day affair – where you list out your day from dusk ‘til dawn. Don’t forget to slip some sleep and a smidge of fun in the schedule, too.
Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize.
Someone offers you a giant slice of your favorite cake. You can dig in anytime you like, but you also have to polish off a large plate of brussel sprouts. Yick. What are you going to do – enjoy the cake, then stare at the brussel sprouts in dread? No. You’re going to choke down the nasty little green buggers while keeping your eyes on the prize – that cake! Do the same with your work day for time management: force down the less-pleasant stuff in the morning, then save the enjoyable stuff for the end of the day. And wipe your mouth, will you?
You’re Not Superman. Delegate.
Sure. You’re the exception to the rule. You’re a powerhouse. You don’t need anyone’s help, right? Remember that when you’re staring at that agenda, and you can’t decide whether to scream or head to the beach. No one will think less of you if you need a hand now and then, so don’t be shy to deal it out when you need to. And likewise, offer to help others on days when your agenda is on the thinner side. Folks remember that.
Time Management Means Plan for Tomorrow Today.
If you follow all the rules detailed above, you’ll likely see that time management does help your productivity (and sanity) throughout the day. So, before you go to bed that night – or at least before heading to work the next morning – start making that agenda and schedule again! Make it a habit, and suddenly you’ll feel like a Superman! (but still, don’t forget to delegate.)