One more episode and then I will get back to being productive….. It’s been half an hour! I was just going to check my email really quick. Now I’m way behind on what I had actually planned to get done today…...Oh my, I can’t even see my desk. How on earth am I ever going to get all of this done? I can’t seem to find motivation to get started, but I know the boss will be in with another pile of folders this afternoon…..
Can you relate? Me too! And from what I hear, most of the general population struggles with some aspect of time management on a daily, if not hourly, basis so it sounds like we are in great company. And yet, it seems to really settle on me somedays, like an elephant sitting on my chest that I just can’t seem to push off. So I’ve decided to fight back. I’ve researched some strategies and tools that can be used to combat this looming situation. Hopefully a couple of them will resonate with you too.
Okay, so this one may seem really obvious, but taking the time to write down what actually needs to be done is the first step in actually doing it. They say the first stage of recovery is acknowledging a problem, well to begin dealing with the mess we need to take inventory of what we are up against.
That being said, it is crucial to approach this first step with the knowledge that Rome wasn’t built in a day. While we are making a list of all, or at least most, of the tasks we need done to deal with the issue at hand, then we are going to make a list of what we can realistically tackle today.
By prioritizing the most pressing needs, while steadily working our way through the pile we will soon be making real progress which will, in turn, fuel more progress. Commit to just starting by taking inventory and making a list for today!
Another essential component of managing time is keeping a calendar. Work, school, church, family, friends, and so many other things are constantly clamoring for our attention and our time. The only hope of making the most of that precious resource requires recording all of our commitments and events in one place. There are so many options here. Digital, paper, basic, complicated, you name it. Take some time to research what will work for you, but start today and give yourself the gift of organizing your own personal calendar.
Another obstacle in time management can be working with other people. Sometimes it becomes hard to remember who is in charge of what, or where in the process a specific project has gotten stalled. Try making a scrum board. This process involves bringing the team together briefly to hash out the projects and responsibilities while providing a place where the team can continuously update each other on the progress and status of the project.
The final tip for conquering the ever looming problem of time management is measuring progress and celebrating the milestones of success. Keep a journal, or notebook of steps you have taken in pursuit of this goal. It doesn’t have to be long or thorough. Think of it as a log that an explorer or scientist would keep on an expedition.
Make time daily or weekly to write brief snippets, even bullet points, delineating your approach and what you accomplished. By making a record you will be able to more readily see your progress, and measure your growth, which may even help motivate you on the days when it seems overwhelming. You can even celebrate when you hit mile stones. Get some cheap wine glasses and sparkling cider if you want to keep it cheap.
And don’t forget to celebrate your progress. This can be anything from rewarding yourself with a treat on the way home from the office, indulging in a trip to the bookstore, allowing yourself a night out with friends, or even researching a future vacation you want to take. Just find some small way of acknowledging your progress and celebrating so that you can have not only the satisfaction of getting your tasks in line, but in seeing personal growth.