12 more minutes x 5 work days = 1 extra hour per week or 52 hours a year – What would you do with that time?
Take a few minutes and answer the following questions.
- Are the tasks you work on throughout the day the ones with the highest priority?
- Do you find yourself finishing tasks at the last minute?
- Do you deal with frequent interruptions?
- Do you have a contingency plan for dealing with the “unexpected” when it crops up?
- Are you stressed about deadlines and commitments?
If you found your answers less than desirable, here are some thoughts and ideas that may help you stack the deck in your favor.
First, admit multitasking is bad. You can’t concentrate on more than one thing at a time and do it well.
Learn your procrastination signals. Does the world wide web call your name? Can you ignore email notifications? Do you check Facebook or Instagram every 15 minutes? Are there times of the day you are more productive than others? Learn to avoid the triggers that derail your progress.
Safeguard blocks of time. Schedule yourself. It’s ok to close your door or ask for uninterrupted time. In the past, I’ve been known to close my door and tape a sign to it that says “on a conference call – do not enter” so that I could write uninterrupted. Maybe you need to come in early before the distractions of the day begin. Maybe you work better in the evening and can stay late and knock out a chunk of a project. How ever you need to carve out time, do it.
Make a list. Prioritize – then do the most important item first. You’ll feel l like you’ve accomplished something, and the smaller things will fall into place.
Learn to ask yourself a simple question all throughout the day – “Is this what I need to be doing right now or is it what I want to be doing?”
Managing time isn’t about finding more hours in the day, it’s about using the ones you have to the best of your ability.
One final tip, spend the last five minutes of every day making your “must do” list for tomorrow. Prioritize it before you go home. The next morning, begin with item #1. Don’t get hung up on only crossing off one or two items. You’ll be working on the most important items and finishing tasks in the needed manner.