Do you think there will ever be a moment when you have enough time? With workweeks getting longer and schedules getting more full every day, learning to manage your time is an envied art form.
Two to Master
- Your schedule.
If you’re managing your time, you’re managing your schedule. And if you don’t manage your schedule, someone will come in and manage it for you. Whether you use a printed calendar, a project list, an Outlook Calendar, an iCal, or a calendar app, you’ve got to have a schedule to reference. The phrase “Let me check my calendar” is an attempt at trying to control your time, however if your “calendar” doesn’t have what you’ve got going on in your life, it can’t work as a filter for your schedule. A good calendar, in whatever form you choose, allows you to see when you have time for extra work, provides others with updates on when they can expect things from you, and creates freedom in your schedule.
- Your email.
Finding a way to organize and respond to your email will empower you to save time and help manage your schedule. A recent study found that employees spend about 2.6 hours a day sending, receiving, or sorting email. Microsoft offers the four D’s in handling email:
a. Delete It – Get rid of junk mail.
b. Do It – Tasks that can be completed in less than two minutes.
c. Delegate – If it takes longer than two minutes and it’s appropriate for you to delegate it, then do that.
d. Defer It – This is something you need to handle but it will take longer than two minutes.
Two to Lose
- Trying to get it all done.
If you’re going to master your time, you’re going to have to learn the appropriate way to say no at work. If you have a comprehensive calendar or project list, you are able to say no, and also say when you will have the time to take care of a request. If you can’t clearly show why you have to defer a task, it can create confusion and frustration by your co-workers and managers. We’re all given the same amount of time in a day, and if you’re using that time wisely and efficiently, you’ll earn the respect that allows you to be able to say no.
- Touching paper once.
You may think it’s crazy to go against the common advice to only “touch paper once,” but sometimes you need to defer things until later to keep moving forward with your goals and schedule. There is a good time to clean your workspace, but sometimes in the effort of productivity it may get a little messy. You want to make sure your workspace is safe, sometimes a mess can create a hazard, but if creating a stack of papers to file later or notes to respond to later works for you – then go with it.
What time management rules do you live by, and which ones do you break?