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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

5 Time Management Magic Tricks

Okay, so people who are good at time management are not magic...although sometimes it seems they might be. These are five extremely helpful, almost magic, tricks that helped me to become the manager of my own time, instead of the other way around.

5.  Start the day with knowing what needs to get done. Take five minutes to jot down the things that you need to get done. If you start off with knowing what needs to be done, its easier to prioritize your time throughout the day. You could go further by grouping them in things that need to get done today, tomorrow, and near future. Focus on the things that need to get done today, if you have time then move on to things that need to be done tomorrow. If you stick to making and finishing a list everyday,  you will soon be in the habit of having things done early and always working on your "near future" list.

4. Start small and work your way up. Not only does this help you to start checking things off your list fast (which feels amazing) but it also extends the amount of time you have for those bigger tasks. When you can focus the remainder of your time on the bigger projects, you can get a lot done. People tend to work with the time they are given. It doesn't take a person a standard amount of time to write a five page paper. If you are given three hours, it will likely take three hours. If you a given an hour, you would be surprised what you could put together in that time.

3. If its in your hand, deal with it. Or on your screen for that matter. When you get home and have the mail in your hand, deal with it. Sort out the bills and put them where they belong, throw away the junk mail right there and then. If you handle those tasks right away, you can avoid the all to familiar and always growing pile of mail that stacks up on the counter. Following suit, if you are checking through your email, deal with the one you are reading right there and then. If it requires a response, then respond. If it has an important document that you will need later, than save it in the appropriate spot. I know that for myself if I don't deal with it while its on my screen, I will waste precious moments later on searching for that email I should have replied to or that document I needed to look at. Who has time for that?

2. Know when to take a break. Just because you have two hours to work on the project at hand, does not mean you should spend those two solid hours doing it. Everyone has their own productivity window, mine is about 45 minutes. I actually make progress and am doing great things in the first 45 minutes I work on something. After that....I'm usually not as productive. Although I can work longer than 45 min on one thing, the work that comes after that window in not nearly as creative, amazing, or thought provoking. So if you can, take a break and do something else. Switching gears is all your brain needs sometimes to keep you on your game.

1. 15 min is a long time. Before teaching I wasted a lot of time thinking I didn't have enough time. I would easily let myself think that I didn't have anything important that could be done in fifteen minutes. I am here to say I am a changed woman. I can drive to the gas station and back. I can set up my whole classroom with the supplies needed for my next art group, take it down, and put it up again. I can check, read, and reply to all my emails with time to spare. I can do a lot in fifteen minutes. With practice, you could be able to say that five minutes is a long time too!

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