(This article appeared in the October, 2010 issue of A Healthy You.)
Have you ever wished for a few more hours in the day?
Why is it that some people seem to get everything done effortlessly and others feel that time constantly eludes them? The secret to managing your time well isn’t working more hours. It is about prioritizing the important things and learning to use the time you have more efficiently and effectively. The secret is working smarter, not harder.
Some of us, by nature, organize and get tasks out of the way before we relax, while others of us play first and work later. It is important to first recognize which type you are and whether your style is allowing you to have the life you really want. Maybe you are super-organized at work, but burned out because you don’t know how to make time for yourself. Maybe you are naturally a less organized person who knows how to relax, but you are dissatisfied because you aren’t fulfilling your goals and dreams.
Rather than labeling yourself or beating yourself up, realize that time management is an area of your life that you can strengthen. Like a new muscle, it takes practice and repetition to make it stronger. To help you get started, here are some steps to streamline your days at work and at home. Try the first one or two that jump out at you.
Allocate time for planning and organizing.
Create to-do lists that are realistic, not intimidating. Use only one to-do list.
Under-schedule your time: Leave time for the unexpected and for interruptions. When you estimate how long something will take, add on a third of that time.
Schedule your time in a way that reduces interruptions that lower your productivity.
Practice the art of intelligent neglect: Eliminate trivial tasks.
Prioritize what is most important and do that first.
If you say yes to everything that comes your way, learn to say no.
Ask for help and delegate.
Letting it go
Acknowledge yourself for all that you have accomplished.
Make your to-do list for the next week. Leave work with a clear head and a clean desk.