Time management is one of those topics brought up frequently in many virtual meetings and virtual networking events. How do you manage your time to be more effective?
Build Good Habits
We have habits that fit our style. Some are good, while others are not so good. How do you change and adapt your habits to manage your time effectively?
First thing every morning, it has become an embedded routine to review the long lists of tasks while creating a new to-do list. It takes discipline to prioritize the most important task first. Procrastinating is easy so do not fall into that trap! Complete task one and then move onto task two and so forth down the list. This is difficult because everything new becomes an instant priority.
Sometimes this will be true and you will have to adjust the priorities. This is a challenge and gets better with practice. One of the keys to managing your time is to schedule your priorities and not to prioritize what is in your schedule.
The Three D’s
Using the three D’s every time information is received has become an excellent way to manage your time. For example, when looking at your Inbox, as you read each e-mail, you decide on one of three things: Delete, Do or Delegate.
Information can be read, heard in person, on the phone, on paper, on podcasts, webinars, video chat and of course e-mail to name a few. The “Delete” can be to absorb this information and not keep it in any form or file it electronically or in a folder as the case may. The “Do” is simply that: complete the task now. Then scratch it off your list! The “Delegate” is to forward the task to another person with clear direction and expectation of when to have it completed.
Forget The Excuses
We hear reasons why things were not completed or why they cannot be done. We tell stories about how we do not have enough time. Look at these stories you tell yourself. What is preventing you from getting things done? What is distracting you? What is holding you back? What excuses are you telling yourself and others?
There is a saying that goes something like this: “Give it to a busy person and they will get it done.” Why is that? I feel if I have a leisure day with not much planned (rare occasion), I find myself not as motivated to get things done. Practically every day, I have the “task list” written down and find I am motivated to start and to keep going to accomplish as many items on the list as possible. Some days the list gets completed while other days there may be only a couple of items checked off and that is okay. It is not from a lack of focus or procrastination.
Just Say No
As you take on many things to do, can you just say no to one or some of these? I struggle with saying no. It is my nature to say yes, to help and take care of those who ask. When you say no, in what other way can you do so gracefully? You can offer a suggestion, an alternative solution or connect them with someone who can say yes.
I have learned over time. It is okay to say no although it does always feel right or natural. This is something to keep working on to know sometimes it is the right decision.
Do Not Do List
Something you can try as an effective tool is creating a Do Not Do List. This may seem strange, however, reviewing this list helps to remain focused on the priority tasks. Things like spending too much time in the kitchen snacking or watching your shows or movies can be on the list. For those working from home, there are many distractions that can end up on your list to help. What would you put on your not-to-do list?
Reducing the “noise” is a big challenge to add to this list. With so many social media platforms pushing out notifications and messages can consume a lot of one’s time.
What are your good habits for effectively managing your time?