Time is a fickle concept. While there may be only 24 hours in a given day, our concept of those available hours revolves more around how we spend that time as opposed to how much time there actually is. Are you looking for a practical work life balance, looking to get things done, or just passing the time? If it’s the latter, good luck. If it is the former then understanding time management is a great first step.
In the end, what we spend our time doing reveals what matters most to each of us. The excuse of “I just never have time to do that” is silly. We simply didn’t carve out time to get things done because those things weren’t that important to us.
Why Time Management Matters
So long as it doesn’t impact others, how one spends their time is entirely up to them. However, most of us have obligations outside of our own needs and desires. This could take the shape of our work, our children, husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, our extended family, etc. When others depend on us how we spend our time takes on a different tenor. It’s OK to wing it every once in a while if it’s only you being affected but, if you’re serious about truly wanting to get things done, you need have a plan . . .
Time Management Techniques
There have been numerous articles, books and lecture series about time management and they all have a few common sense constants. You must focus on productivity, getting the most out of your time. Specifically, this means having a plan, setting achievable goals, prioritizing, removing distractions, staying on task and taking care of yourself.
What many don’t focus on is the most important . . . identifying why time management is truly important to you as an individual and what your personal motivation is toward achieving your goals. If you’re doing it because someone else, at work for instance, is telling you that it matters you probably aren’t going to take it too seriously. But if you can identify, for yourself, how much your life could improve incrementally then you are far more likely to succeed. Just as important, if you can pinpoint your actual motivation, then every time you waver you can remind yourself . . . this is how I’m going to get things done!
Work Life Balance
Achieving some semblance of a work life balance has become one of the more challenging aspects of modern living. Good companies, and good bosses, are starting to recognize that a healthy work life balance is beneficial for their employees and organizations. Our responsibilities for both overlap daily. If you need your present situation to change, you must be proactive in your approach.
A key element to achieving a solid work life balance is to self-advocate. Put together a proposal for how you think you can best serve the company and still meet the needs of your family. This could be working out of your home a few days in the week or being in the office from just 8a-2p every day and making up the extra hours at home. A good approach is to suggest a trial period to see how it could work. Build trust between you and your employer so neither of you feel taken advantage of. If the situation becomes untenable then get your resume out there and look for a better job.
How to Avoid Being Frustrated at Work
We spend a tremendous portion of our lives at work. The more responsibility you have the less time is available to accomplish it all. The truth is, it is all manageable if you are willing to discipline yourself and encourage those around you to do the same. It starts with building credibility and proving yourself an asset to the organization.
It continues with triaging your most common duties. Note how long common tasks take to complete. Are you consistent? If not, why not? Are you procrastinating? If so, what are your most common distractions? Are you overwhelmed? Can you delegate some of your tasks? A great method when you have multiple things to do is to complete the easiest thing first. This will build some momentum towards accomplishing the rest. Don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself, just make sure you have a credible plan you can recommend and it benefits the organization as well as your boss.
How to Stop Procrastinating Now!
As noted in the previous paragraph, procrastination can be a major impediment to success. Recognize what your most popular methods of distraction are . . . social media, online games, gossiping with a co-worker, etc. In a given day how much of your time is spent being distracted from your work? Can you not seem to help yourself? Why are you distracted so easily?
It’s possible that you don’t like your job very much so you actually welcome the break . . . if so, strongly consider looking for a different, more fulfilling job. One that, at the very least, you enjoy (especially the redundant parts). It may require going back to school or taking an online course. It’s all about providing yourself with options.
An important part of success is enjoying what you are doing. Consider giving yourself a challenge of staying on task for a solid 60 minutes with no interference. Give yourself an award at the end. Maybe 5 minutes playing Words with Friends or just surfing the internet. The next day extend it to 90 minutes. Come up with your own reward system but stay resolute in your quest to get things done!
There is a never-ending supply of great time management advice tips and advice available for you to look at. Follow this link to see some recommended publications that each approach the subject matter a bit differently. Read as many as you can to get a broad brush of different ideas and techniques to try out for yourself. For work life balance try Matthew Kelly’s brilliant “Off Balance”.
Are You Ready Now to Get Things Done . . .
Effective Time management can really help relieve stress and control frustration before it bubbles into something more dangerous. It will also be much appreciated by all others in your life. You will be more comfortable to be around, more relaxed and experience increased confidence. It will also make you a leader at work and a better partner and parent at home. Sounds like a win-win all around.