A few weeks ago, I attended training with Employers Association of the Northeast on Time Management and Time Mastery. Many of us struggle to manage our time throughout the work day, but we often don’t know how to solve that problem. Tasks get left uncompleted, unfavorable work gets pushed into the next day, we become more stressed and the idea of managing our time and workload begins to seem impossible and overwhelming. The problem is not a shortage of time, but how we choose to use the time we have available. Here are a few things that I learned and found helpful to kick start your journey to better time management.
- Identify the habit or behavior that you want to change. Until you are able to pin point the reasons you aren’t completing certain tasks throughout the day, you won’t be able to make changes. Are you:
- Easily distracted/lots of distractions at work
- Constantly interrupted/putting out fires in other departments
- Poor with prioritizing and planning
- Need improved organizational skills
- Taking on work that can be delegated to others
- Create attainable goals/behaviors that will allow you to form new habits. These goals must be clear and attainable.
- Be specific about what you’re looking to get out of this, or what you want the result to be
- Create goals that are measureable so you can see your performance improve. For example, “By Quarter 3, I would like to complete all marketing trainings on the new software”, OR “in 2 months I would like to reduce the company audit processes time by 5%”.
- Have a connection to what you’re trying to achieve. Is this project meaningful or important to the customer, businesses, division, etc.?
- Break your tasks up into 4 groups to decide which items fall into what buckets. This will help you determine what to tackle first.
- Important AND Urgent
- Important BUT NOT Urgent
- Urgent BUT NOT Important
- Neither Important NOR Urgent
Items that are IMPORTANT tend to be those that contribute to your goals significantly and have a high value. These items also tend to have more of an impact for the long term. URGENT tasks have more short-term consequences, where they must be done now, and cannot wait.
Try these first few things out and see if you notice any improvements in your time mastery. Time management is really self-management, so if you can change your thinking and begin to create new habits to manage yourself and others, you will find your task completion and rate of success will continue to grow.