We all have plans. Plans that if given a chance and enough time can make life easier. However, there it is – time. Time just seems to almost, always be against us. There isn’t just never enough time.
Many of us have resolved a million times to work better on time management. We really have. Nevertheless, we have failed as often as we have made those resolutions.
We’ve been criticized for our “carelessness” with time. Believe me, sometimes we’ve been judged unfairly. Either way, let’s explore the basics and get back in control and get more done.
1. Avoid interruptions
We have people talking and cars bustling all around us. TVs disturbing. Children crying. Teenagers engaging in sibling rivalry. Phones ringing every two minutes. We just can’t work in these disturbances.
If possible, leave your phone on voice mail during times you have scheduled to work on projects. If you have a private office, close your door. You might even place a sign saying something like “Hard at Work: Please Come Back Later.” If you are interrupted, help keep the interruption short by remaining task-oriented.
2. Appreciate your own approach
Being in control can make you do more. Nothing is as stressing as trying to impress someone. Nothing will hinder you from doing more like trying to have everyone approving of your methods. Just as we are all different in other ways, we all have diverse organizational styles.
Keep in mind that you have gotten where you are today because of whom you are and what you have accomplished. Employ improved organizational skills to enhance your personal style, not change it. Getting organized should make you feel good, not burdened.
3. Schedule time to make phone calls and return e-mail
Have a specific time allotted to just getting on the phone. Be disciplined with your phone and laptop. Let your friends, colleagues, acquaintances know of the times when you’re available for those quick chats.
When you leave a phone message, list times that you will be available by phone. Ask the other party to do the same – it will save you both a lot of time that would otherwise be spent on everyone’s favorite game, phone tag. Also, avoid checking your voice mail and e-mail frequently. Instead, review them at scheduled intervals during the day.
4. Plan stress breaks throughout the day
No one can work none stop all day and expect to achieve anything worth achieving. Unlike machines, humans need to take a break from work. Make sure you give yourself a break!
Working to the point of total brain fatigue and muscle tension will never do you any good. Stretch, take some deep breaths, and go out to get your lunch, call your kids – do something to give yourself a little break. If you’d like, you can schedule these breaks as a reward for when you’ve finished a particular chore.
5. Stick to your plan
The best-laid plans often fall victim to their makers. It takes a lot of discipline to stick to your plans. However, by all means, take those baby steps if you must, but do what you must to remain committed to your plans.
While spontaneity is important, there is a fine line between it and plain procrastination. Once you’ve come up with a good plan for tackling a task, stay with it. Only you can prevent yourself from wavering.