Work Smarter – Not Harder
Why is it that some people achieve so much more with their time than others? The answer is good Time Management. Good Time Management requires a shift in focus from activities to results: being busy isn’t the same as being effective. Work Smarter – Not Harder. Avoid dividing your attention over different tasks. This allows you to do more in less time.
What is Time Management?
Time Management is the way that you organize and plan how long you spend on specific activities.
Good Time Management Has Enormous Benefits
- Greater productivity and efficiency.
- A better professional reputation.
- Less stress.
- Increased opportunities for advancement.
- Greater opportunities to achieve important life and career goals.
- Allows you to spend more time doing what truly matters to you.
Failing Can Have Undesirable Results
- Missed deadlines.
- Inefficient workflow.
- Poor work quality.
- A poor professional reputation and a stalled career.
- Higher stress levels.
Why is Time Management Important?
- As a student – It will help you develop good study habits, improve your ability to balance work, rest, play, and maintain the quality of each.
- At work – you will get more done with better quality, in a shorter amount of time.
- With a family – It will help build a foundation for healthy relationships and maintain those foundations.
- For Children – It will develop their sense of time to help them be punctual, self-disciplined, and understand responsibility.
- Retirement – Knowing what to take on as opposed to, what to cut out. Work no longer dictates a large part of your day, your finances do.
- From childhood to adult age, Time Management means you do more of what matters to you. You’re clear about what you want, you have things to look forward to, goals to work towards and you feel good about the way you spend your time.
Time Management Tips
Tip #1: Write Things Down
Using a To-Do List to write things down is a great way to take control of your projects and tasks and keep yourself organized.
- Notebook: Carry a small notebook with you wherever you go so you can capture your thoughts. You can even keep it on your phone if you want!
- Schedule time to set and evaluate your goals: Start a journal and write down your progress for each goal. Go through your goal journal each week to make sure you are on the right track. Keeping a journal on your computer or phone has never been easier!
Tip #2: Plan
Spend some time at the beginning of each week to plan your schedule. Taking the extra time to do this will help increase your productivity and balance your important long-term projects with your more urgent tasks.
- Prioritizing: Prioritizing your To-Do list helps you focus and spend more of your time on the things that really matter to you. When you have a To-Do List filled with important tasks, be careful not to get distracted by “filler” tasks. Things such as organizing your bookcase or filing papers can wait until you tackle the items that have the highest priority.
- Being Productive: Being efficient doesn’t necessarily mean that you are being productive. Just because you are busy and getting things done doesn’t mean you are actually using your time wisely.
Tip #3: Stop Procrastinating
The first step to end Procrastination is to forgive yourself for procrastinating. Beating yourself up for procrastinating will do nothing but cause more stress.
- Procrastination is a stress response: It is a way for our bodies to deal with things it doesn’t like.
- Set deadlines. Using deadlines, we can organize our tasks to know which ones to complete first to meet those deadlines.
- 5 Second Rule: Use the 5 Second Rule from Mel Robbins. When you have a task that you don’t want to do, count backward from five and at zero; just do it. Don’t think. Just do it.
Tip #4: Prioritizing
Set time frames of how long a task will take. 30 Minutes, 2 Hours, or longer? Look at each task and give it a level of importance. Organize your tasks based on their priority and time frame. Utilizing this will help you know which tasks to tackle first.
- High Priority: Will have a huge impact on your work or others. Deadlines are usually short.
- Middle Priority: Important work to be done. Not quite as urgent as a high priority. Will still have an impact. Deadlines are semi-flexible, but due soon.
- Low Priority: Minimal impact on your work or others. Deadlines are further out.
Tip #5: At Work
Before taking on a new task, stop to think about it before you commit. This will prevent you from taking on too much work. Learn to say no to low priority requests and you will free up time to spend on things that are more important. Focus on your own projects and goals, learn to delegate, and teach others how to effectively do the work. Active listening helps you know what the tasks are and what is needed for them.
Tip #6: Growth
- Continuously Improve Yourself – Make time in your schedule to learn new things and develop your natural talents and abilities. Continuously improving your knowledge and skills can help boost your career and is the most reliable path to financial independence.
- Identify Bad Habits – Make a list of bad habits that are stealing your time, sabotaging your goals and blocking your success. After you do, work on them one at a time and systematically eliminate them from your life. The easiest way to eliminate a bad habit is to replace it with a better habit.
- Don’t be a Perfectionist – Learn to distinguish between tasks that deserve to be done excellently and tasks that just need to be done. Don’t let perfection get in the way of being great.
Managing Distractions Tips
Depending on your job or work location you may encounter multiple distractions. Here are a few tips to help manage those distractions.
- Your Space: Make sure to have your space free of clutter. No matter where you are working you want your space to encourage productive time, not take away from it.
- Distractions: If you have a TV or radio nearby it may be tempting to turn them on. Be mindful that this can cause distractions as well. If you do have them on, keep them turned down low to create more of a white noise than actual sound.
- Cell phones: It can be very tempting to sit and scroll through social media or answer that call from a relative. Set up specific times, like breaks, where you can enjoy these things and not have them interrupt your productive time.
- Interruptions: If you find that you have a lot of interruptions from people, co-workers, or even kids if you work remotely, it’s difficult to know how to ask them to give you space. Going back to our first tip, making sure our workspace is free of clutter, this means having a dedicated space where we work. When you need time to focus without interruption you can post a sign asking people to come back at a certain time. With family members, you can set up specific times where you can encourage them to come and ask you questions or talk with you, and outside of those times, they should let you focus on your work. With kids, you could make it a game. Cut out triangles in three colors, red, yellow, and green.
- Green: They can come and ask you questions and talk with you.
- Yellow: Ask for a moment, before springing that question on you.
- Red: You are unable to talk at the moment and need to focus on your work.
Achieve Your Goals and Reduce Stress
Time management is a skill set that you can easily excel in if you adjust some of your current habits so that you can be more productive and effective! Start practicing some of the tips you learned today to better prioritize your tasks, achieve your goals, and reduce stress.
Director of QA and Learning & Development
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