“Determine never to be idle. No person will have occasion to complain of the want of time who never loses any. It is wonderful how much can be done if we are always doing.” – Thomas Jefferson
Time management is a real skill. It may seem like a bit of a humdrum skill, but mastering it can lift your positivity, productivity and overall satisfaction many fold! This skill is especially important for resilience when working from home; something that many more of us are doing currently.
Good time management offers many benefits. Not only does it mean that the time you use in which to work has a higher output, it also means that you can work more productively for less time. With a little planning and realistic expectation of your work rate, you can transform your day into a well-oiled work machine. Here are a few tips on how to enhance your workday through time!
1. Plan for Tomorrow
Never wake up without a plan! By not planning for tomorrow, you have already wasted tomorrow morning. Before you know it, it will be tomorrow lunchtime and you’ll barely have started work! Believe me… I have been here before; it is so easy to have an aimless and unfocussed morning. The best advice here is to schedule fifteen minutes at the end of every workday making a plan for tomorrow.
2. A Time Sensitive Schedule
Try dividing your schedule into time slots. I like to divide my days into half hour blocks. I then assign specific tasks to those blocks. Sometimes I can fit three tasks into one lock, other times a task might take up four or five blocks on its own. This also depends on you being realistic and sensitive to the rate at which you work. Not only does this way of scheduling help you to be more productive, but it also demands that you are mindful of your own works style and output ability.
3. Start As You Mean to Go On
I have been caught out, especially when working from home, by distractions in the morning. ‘Oh, I’ll just have another coffee, and then I’ll begin’, or, ‘Oh, I’ll just watch then end of the morning news, and then I’ll begin.’ This is all too easily done… time disappears and you find yourself behind schedule. A simple solution. Pick a time to start work and start at that time. If it means you have to get dressed, leave the house, go for a walk and then come back into your space ready to begin… so be it!
4. One Thing At A Time
Try not to overcrowd your schedule. It is tempting to try and multi-task, however, more often than not you will find that two tasks take less time done one after the other than when done alongside each other. Not only that, but concentrating on one task at a time ensures that each job is given you full attention and completed to a high standard.
5. Keep Things Fresh
It is easy to slip away from a schedule if you are bored. Being bored is very normal, but not great for your workplace resilience. My advice, if you have a similar schedule day in, day out, is simply to change your schedule around. This can not only be done by changing the order of your day, but perhaps by changing the location in which you do them or who you do them with.
6. Buffers and Mini-Breaks
If you line up your tasks back-to-back you lose time to transition periods. Make sure you put buffers, mini breaks and transition windows into your schedule to keep on top of things. In addition, just because you have a schedule to keep, it doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to a cup of tea every now and then!
7. Don’t Overload Yourself
Be realistic about what you can manage and learn to say ‘no’ to things if it will overload you. As much as keeping to time is helpful, it does not do to be over ambitious and to run out of time because you took on one task too many, or for you or to rush things so that you can beat the clock!
By Chris Thomson
Part of keeping on top of your schedule and time management is through keeping yourself motivated… Motivation: Tips on Finding It and Keeping It
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