If you’re like me, you have a lot of things on your to-do list and this may not just be your work. Appointments, schedules, visits to friends and family… all of this is a lot for someone to manage. Sometimes you can think that you’ve got it under control and other times it can feel like you’re drowning. I wanted to spend some time on this blog post to give you some of my favourite time management tips that help me manage my very busy schedule!
Have a full overview of what’s on your plate
Do you know everything that you’ve got to do? I like to make a list of everything that I need to do (both work related and not). I also colour code all of the different activities and segments to differentiate between time duration required on a specific activity. Before the end of every day, I make a list for the next day so that I can make sure that I can start the day effectively and without needing a warm up…. talking of schedule…
Know your calendar:
What are your deadlines? What do you need to do, when? What’s coming up tomorrow? One way to help with any anxiety or stress is to manage the days accordingly. I try to make sure that I’m clear with my team about what I’m expecting from them and what I need to be able to achieve my timelines. You also need to prioritise the work that you have to do. Can something be delayed until next week? Be critical and use your time wisely.
Do you need to do everything that is on your list? Can you give it to anyone else? One of the hardest things for me was learning to ask for help but it can really help reduce your stress if you can give some activities to other people. This could be preparing a workshop, hosting a meeting etc. Do not be afraid to ask for help
Take a break!
Normally, you can only focus for short periods of time (30-45minutes) at a time. Any longer and you lose your focus, creativity and effectiveness. This has really take a hit during COVID where you may be working for longer from home and not taking a break to see colleagues, get a walk. I would strongly recomend that you take a least one short break every hour and get some fresh air or walk around your living space.
This comes down to your own effectiveness! I have a very strict schedule in the morning/ evenings to get ready and be ready for work in the morning. This means that I try to do as much the night before as possible (e.g. making lunch, preparing clothes, sorting out bags) and then in the morning, I give myself (and my children) timers and warnings for what we need to do: “OK, you’ve got 5minutes to get ready and then we’re going to brush your teeth/put shoes on etc.”
Block your calendar:
This is also related to Organising yourself. Make sure that you set blocks in your calendar for specific activities (e.g. Admin, Timesheets, lunch).
When do you work best?
Are you a morning person? Do you prefer the evening? I’ve found that depending on the day/schedule, that I work better at different times of the day. I then change my working day/ activities that need my key focus to best suit these times of day. You will need to critically assess what works best for you and manage this accordingly.
Time Management is a critical key skill that you need to be a success. Do not be afraid to try new things or different ways of managing your time to be successful. It’s all about what works for YOU.