Time Management: Your Keys to Success
1 day = 24 hours =1,440 minutes =86,400 seconds. It seems like plenty of time, but when we are thrown into the whirlwind of life, it barely feels like enough. There always seems to be just one more email, text or call that we need to make as we sit in front of our laptop screens at the end of an extremely long work day. The truth is that a day’s work no longer fits into a regular, nine-to-five work day. Between picking up the kids from soccer practice, to trying to make it to the gym, to making dinner for your family every night, it feels as if there are not enough hours, minutes, or seconds within the day to ever accomplish it all. So, how should you go about checking all of the items off that never-ending daily to-do-list? This is a question that you may be asking yourself daily and the answer is simple: time management. Above all other things that are vital to the success of your career, time management should fall at the top of the list. Let’s now talk about some effective tips on how you can best utilize time management to keep your career (and life) on track:
- Utilize your closest resource: your cell phone
Don’t lie – you know you ALWAYS have this with you, so why not utilize it for tracking your time? By using on the Calendar App within our cell phones, we are able to evolve ourselves in the skill of time management on-the-go, no matter where we are! Block off time, set up reminder alerts, and schedule things in advance straight from your fingertips.
- Plan on Sunday nights
Most of us dread Sunday nights because it means the weekend is ending, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Use that free time on Sunday evenings to plan ahead for your week – you won’t regret it. Brainstorm and create a to-do-list of tasks that you need to accomplish in the coming week. Next, start to delegate your time and organize your schedule accordingly. This way, you know where you are headed and what needs to get done day-by-day to stay on track, opposed to allowing yourself to drown in never ending to-do lists.
- Make time for interruptions
Even though we may like to neglect this part of the planning process, interruptions are inevitable. Whether it be at work when we are trying to catch up on emails, to going to pick your kids up from daycare, or even catching up on the newest episode of Game Of Thrones. Interruptions take up time and are a frequent occurrence, so prepare yourself for that when you are planning out your days.
- Know when to say “no”
In the whirlwind of life, it is easy to want to be a people-pleaser and want to meet everyone’s needs every second of every day, but the truth is, that’s not realistic. Whether it is at home, work, or even your friends, you need to know when enough is enough and it is time to say “no.” At one point or another, you need to give yourself some time to relax and take a breather – it’s good to know your limits.
- Create a solid morning routine
Everyone tends to have their own routine in the morning, whether that means starting your day off with working out, doing a daily devotional, or going into the office a little later because you want to eat breakfast with your kids. Whatever your routine may be, make sure you are keeping is consistent, as this can be one of the crucial tools to success within your career. If you give yourself and your body time to recharge itself in the beginning of the day, you start your day off on the right foot, and you allow yourself to maximize your efforts throughout the course of your work day.
- Create a priority inventory
What matters most to you? Faith, family, a healthy lifestyle? No matter what means the most, you need to find a way to incorporate those things throughout the course of your work week. Stay on top of what you know what your main priorities are and plan to incorporate them into your daily schedule.
- Protect your time
Every minute of every hour of every day is precious, and time is something that you don’t ever get back. So, once you establish how much time you need to spend on daily tasks, you need to honor and protect that time. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted, because when one thing leads to another, you get nothing done and leave the office feeling exhausted, discouraged and unaccomplished
- Use your free time to complete simple tasks
Whether it’s the free time you have on your morning commute to the office every day, or the time you spend waiting in line for your coffee at Starbucks, all that time is precious, and it can be put to good use. You can use that time to respond to missed phone calls, emails and text messages that may have come into your inbox throughout the previous day. That way, as you move into the afternoon portion of your work day, you can intentionally use your time in the office for more valuable tasks, such as meetings and conference calls.
- Build time to exercise into your schedule
This tip may seem counterintuitive because it does take time in and of itself, but we promise it’s not! Exercise allows for more oxygen flow to the brain, allowing your brain to become higher functioning and more alert. In addition, the production of endorphins (your body’s “feel good transmitter”) also rapidly increases when you exercise. As a result, your mood is boosted, you feel more relaxed, and it allows you to be much more productive after. So next time you’re completely stressed out from work, hit the gym.
- Wrap up projects well
No one likes to come into work on Monday to return to the mess that they left on Friday afternoon. Despite how tired you may be by the end of your work week, it is crucial that you don’t leave any “loose ends” on projects you are working on when you step out of the office for the day. This will allow you to best manage your time that you spend in the office, rather than putting out fires on things that you dealt with weeks ago.
In a famous quote by Alan Lakein, he says, “Planning is bringing the future to the present so that you can do something about it now.” This saying could not ring truer when it comes to the effectiveness of planning and good time management. Both skills are hard to master, but once you get them down, there is no limit on what you can accomplish .