Can You Really Manage Time? by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC
Time management is a much discussed topic among people with multiple priorities. We often thing we could get so much more done if we could manage our time a little better. However, this way of thinking may actually be hurting your efforts to get more done.
You see, managing time is impossible. Each of us has 24 hours in every day. Most of us devote 8-10 hours of that time to working, though many people who feel they don’t manage time well will work longer hours to try and get more done. Here are some questions you may be asking yourself if you feel that your time is not managed well.
How Do I Get It All Done?
Instead of trying to manage time, try managing your priorities within your allotted time. Start with the end of your day in mind, and work backward to build your schedule. If you need to go home at 5:30, plan your day with that assumption in mind.
Look at the number of hours you will devote to working and then review the tasks you need to accomplish. Rank them in order of importance. Basically, each day, you should have a list of “must do’s”, “should do’s” and “need to get to one day” tasks.
Plan your day around your “must do’s”. If you have time left over, work on the “should do” tasks. At the end of the day, take stock of what you’ve accomplished and prioritize your tasks for tomorrow. Some of those “should do’s” from today may have higher priority tomorrow.
What if I Can’t Get Through My “Must Do” List?
If you find yourself consistently unable to get through your “must do” list, it’s time to take stock of the number of tasks on your plate. Are there tasks you can delegate? If you plan to manage your life in a way that doesn’t allow work to completely take over, you have to pare your lists of tasks down to something that is manageable.
Do I Have Bad Habits?
Another item to consider, if you find yourself unable to get through your list of important tasks, is if you have bad habits that get in the way of your workday. Do you take long lunches or chat on the phone with friends? Do you find yourself jumping from task to task, without completing anything? If so, make sure to stay focused on the work at hand, so that you can get more accomplished in the time you have.
Managing time becomes much easier when you take the time to prioritize your work. Even if you don’t finish everything you wanted to do, you’ll go home much more relaxed knowing that the most important items were handled and that you know what needs to be accomplished tomorrow.