Time Management

Everyone struggles with time management. Even a seasoned professional with decades of scheduling under their belt will have their own battle with the matter. How do you overcome this issue or at least make it a bit more manageable? One of our ducks, Hope Drew, approached their own experiences with time by reflecting and creating step by step actions to achieve her goals every day.

OVERVIEW

Over the past 4 weeks, I have been leaving work at an average time of 6:15pm. This has been due to needing to stay in order to accomplish what I had set out to achieve. But ultimately this is working hard, not working smart. I am wearing myself out which isn’t healthy for me, and doesn’t allow me to be the most productive I can be. This results in me not producing my best work, which is unacceptable to me.

I also find myself not having time to do everything I want to do. I struggle to get what I put in my diary done, so I couldn’t even imagine trying to put all of the other things I want to do into a schedule.

Ultimately I do not feel in control of things at the moment and its time to take that control back.

TIME MANAGEMENT

One of the causes of this is down to my own time management. I allow myself to get lost and overwhelmed by tasks. This leads to them taking longer and me getting more stressed. I have been aware of this habit for a while and aware of my mistake. However the bigger mistake is that I keep letting it reoccur.

I will outline below what I need to do to help improve my time management. I have previously attempted to address this issue but I stop doing the actions. Therefore to stop that happening again I will refer to these points everyday when I plan my day. This will ensure they are incorporated. I will stop this once it becomes a learned behaviour.

ACTION

Better planning at the beginning of the day

  • Break down achievements into smaller tasks and think realistically about time attributed to them. Write these timings out and try to follow them.

Don’t just jump into tasks

  • Plan out first. Think of the overall achievement of the work. Write down what it is meant to achieve and communicate. This will act as a reminder and keep you in the right direction. This will also cut down on time spent having to alter and correct things because you realise later on it doesn’t quite match what it set out to achieve.

Be Stricter

  • Don’t spend an age trying to perfect one little thing, to inevitably have to come back to change it in response to an addition or alteration you make 5 minutes later. Instead, write the sentence, make the cut, and then you move on to the next one. Then come back and review it, iterate it, improve it. You’ll see it with a fresh perspective.

Schedule stop breaks

Schedule short 5–10 minute breaks into your day in order to step away from work and clear your head. But make sure to step away from your desk — you know that helps greatly.

Suggestions:

  • Make sure lunch is taken. Take it away from your desk and go for a walk outside
  • Make cups of tea. Bonus: other people would appreciate it and it helps with the other goal of staying hydrated at work.
  • Sit at one of the breakout areas to clear your head or even plan out achievements. Changes in scenery can be helpful.

Reflections

  • When scheduling, aim to get everything achieved by 5.15. This will allow the last 15 minutes for reflection on the day. This will also provide a ‘day’ structure to work to as an ‘average’ day routine, hopefully helping in reducing the number of late finishes.

Communicate

  • As much as you want it to, not everything goes to plan. This goes for everything, but using the example of time, if something over runs don’t just power through to meet a deadline, you’ll cause yourself stress and reduce quality. Communicate the problem and find a solution, whether this is with the team or partners.

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