Managing your time is a challenge at the best of times, but I have found that developing your own strategies to encourage good time and task utilisation does pay.
- As an example, I find that I am less effective if I jump from one task to another, without completing the first one, and that spending time on like tasks is more productive.
I find that taking control of I spend my time makes me more productive and contributes to a lower stress level associated with non or underachievement.
You can start by evaluating where you are now and identifying simple changes that will keep you one step ahead.
Welcome to the Time Management Checklist.
Check each statement that currently applies to you.
Planning and Organizing:
❏ I clarify my priorities.
❏ I set challenging and realistic goals.
❏ I keep a to-do list of tasks and projects.
❏ I evaluate my progress regularly.
❏ I take refreshing breaks during work.
❏ I track my time. I can accurately estimate how long it takes me to do most things.
❏ I batch similar tasks together, so I can complete them more efficiently.
❏ I design my workspace for maximum productivity. I keep files and objects I use frequently within reach. I minimize clutter.
Dealing with Distractions:
❏ I turn off my phone during meals, serious conversations, and similar situations.
❏ I let my family and coworkers know when I need do-not-disturb time.
❏ I work on one task at a time.
❏ I close unnecessary browser tabs.
❏ I check phone and email messages at designated times.
❏ I strengthen my powers of concentration through meditation and other exercises.
❏ I break up projects into small and manageable steps.
❏ I tell others about my goals to increase my sense of accountability.
❏ I create interim deadlines and rewards for long-term projects.
❏ I quit trying to be perfect. I value learning from experience. I can laugh at myself when I do something foolish.
❏ I motivate myself to get started by imagining how I’ll feel when I complete the tasks that I have been putting off.
It is likely that you have left some of these unticked – and this is the starting point and power of this time management checklist.
- If you left the ‘I clarify my priorities’ unticked, you could start at looking how you can start to prioritise certain activities that you do. It could be that you are uncertain of what is important, or what your imperative is.
- If you left ‘I set challenging and realistic goals’ unticked, there is a need to consider how you are motivated. Although we understand that goal setting can deliver some incredible outcomes due to the increase in focus that it can bring, this setting of rigid objective could limit others.
Each statement, therefore, leads you to a different outcome – so your work only starts when you have identified the gaps. You may find yourself drawn intuitively towards some of the statements, perhaps ones with the biggest gap to close, or perhaps ones that ask you the most searching questions.
Give yourself some time to methodically work through these, to increase focus, to improve work hygiene and self-discipline. The investment in time to give this time management checklist a go will be worthwhile.