Imminent deadlines, back-to-back meetings, a to-do list that seems to get longer each day, and increasing blurred lines between home and work are common experiences with so many working in a remote or blended capacity. With the new year resolution season in full swing, many people are looking for ways to “be more productive”, “stay focused on what matters” and “manage time more effectively” as they try to fulfil goals for a stronger and better year than 2020.
The reality is that we’re all trying to achieve great results with less time and increased pressure. To help us, there’s an endless supply of advice, books, apps and hacks – tools to help us prioritise, organise and stay on track. However, the challenge is creating a system that works and sticking to it because time management is a skill set, and all the tricks in the book can’t help us if we don’t develop strong organisational and planning skills. You could give someone state-of-the-art film equipment, a crew of actors and the best-crafted script there is – but that person is not going to produce a Academy Award winning film, because they don’t have the skill set to do so.
So, how do we build strong time management skills? Manage Your Time
1. Record your Activities: Make a list of what you need to achieve each day/week. Be honest with your assessment on where you are currently spending your time and what needs to change.
2. Determine your Primary Goals: What takes top priority? Which tasks if completed today would make the day productive and move you closer to your goals.
3. Consider the Pareto principle: Which 20% of activities will yield 80% of the results?
4. Evaluate Important vs Urgent: Utilise the Eisenhower method of prioritising time in quadrants based on urgency and importance and adopt the 4 D’s – Do, Defer, Delegate or Drop.
5. Use a ranking system: Flag tasks as high priority, medium or low with a colour assignment or A, B, C.
6. Create a schedule: Establish deadlines and time block tasks to maximise your time. Treat your time like money and create a time budget that details when and where you will spend your time.
7. Re-evaluate goals and adjust: Keep track of how you are tracking against your goals.
8. Purge: Eliminate tasks on your list that remain at the bottom and are not going to happen.
What these techniques don’t cover is the importance of unwinding and finding balance in order to boost productivity, manage anxiety and stress and live a healthy, happy lifestyle. In our current environment and culture of overstimulation, overscheduling and overachievement, we can fall pray to underestimating the importance and value of downtime – relaxation, time with family and friends, vacation.
These activities provide opportunity to recharge and renewed strength and clarity to be able to tackle all of our important tasks.
Small Steps to Manage Your Energy
1. Take regular short breaks
2. Get moving with physical activity
3. Drink plenty of water
4. Get a good night’s sleep
5. Step outside for some fresh air
6. Fuel your body with healthy, nutritious food
7. Listen to music
8. Switch off devices
"Take care of the minutes and the hours will take care of themselves." - Lord Chesterfield
For more resources on time management, visit dalecarnegie.com