Time management is the process of organizing activities in your life to determine which tasks have priority to you. Learning to manage your time better has a number of benefits. When time is allocated appropriately most people find the quality and efficiency of their work improves. Many people find greater balance in their life when they learn to budget time accordingly, which also helps reduce stress and free them for more self-care.
The average person experiences an interruption every 8 minutes, which is 7 times per hour, or 50-60 times a day. Most interruptions take an average of 5 minutes resulting in 3-4 hours of wasted time each day. Another interesting fact is that people with messy and cluttered desks spend an average of 1.5 hours per day looking for things and being distracted by stuff on their desk. Research also says that one hour of planning can save 10 hours of doing.
Part of the task in better time management is identifying barriers and obstacles. Some of these are internal and part of who you are, and others are external variables in the environment. For example internal variables that can hamper time management include perfectionism, stress and worry about other things in your life, a tendency to procrastinate, or a need to please and take care of others to name just a few. External obstacles can include those interruptions from others or people who just want to visit, phone calls, texts, emails, simply being overloaded with work, or having the wrong tools and resources to get the job done.
Although there are countless tools to help improve your time management skills, we will touch on some of the more effective and realistic ones.
- To Do List: The mind is a busy and noisy place and many things can be easily forgotten as more things flood into your head. Jot them down, and they won’t get missed.
- Urgency first: To avoid stress and panic later on, focus on those items with a hard deadline that may be coming up fast.
- Prioritizing: Be able to look at your list of tasks and evaluate what order they should be done in based in timelines, efficiency, grouping, or expediency.
- Delegating: If you have too much on your plate, or your time will be better spent on specific tasks, go ahead and delegate some things. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help.
- Create short cuts: For repetitious tasks, find ways to streamline them for greater efficiency. For example, using templates rather than typing up similar letters each time from scratch.
- Estimating time: Knowing you have 10 things, but no sense of how long them all take, makes it tough to manage your time. It’s important to be able to gauge how much you can get done in a given amount of time, so you can prioritize which ones to tackle.
- Mountains into mole hills: Some tasks are big and long and can be overwhelming. Find ways to chop this big project into smaller parts that you can tackle one at a time.
- Find the hidden time: Much of our day has wasted time that can be taken advantage of with some planning. Find smaller tasks that could be done while doing laundry, riding the bus, waiting to pick someone up, or while holding on the phone.
- Identify the time stealers: This could an overly friendly coworker, a neighbor, or your own kids. You may need to set some limits and boundaries with them so you can get stuff done.
- Biological Prime Time: Most people know if they are “morning people” or “night people”. Know yourself and get the most done during your prime time.
- Saying No: Sometimes we have too much on our plate, or a request is not in line with our goals. It’s ok to say no. You don’t have to help everyone with everything.
- Manage paper and emails: Try not to let things accumulate and create clutter. Look it over and then file it, pass it on, or recycle it.
- Group tasks: Whenever possible, try to hit a string of things at once to conserve time. If you have three errands all in the same area, do them all at once, even if one of them is a lower priority. It may only add 5 minutes on the current trip, which will save you 30 minutes later on.
If you want to learn more techniques for managing your time more effectively and reducing your stress, please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.
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