Tame Your Time
These techniques help you make the most of itBy Meghaan Evans
Life is hectic, and it can often be challenging to complete our daily to-do lists. Practicing good time management skills can benefit us in our professional and personal lives. There are several ways you can take back your time and uncover your inner productivity, so let’s start with a few simple tips.
Break it down
There are lots of tasks we can complete in one minute: watering a plant, 30 sit-ups, chopping a vegetable or tidying your home office or cubicle. Breaking down your time into bite-sized pieces can help you realize how much you can accomplish in one day, while also recognizing the value of your time.
Clock yourself doing your daily activities, then start slotting time in your schedule to accomplish these items. For example, schedule your 30-minute workout. Clock how long it takes you to make and eat your lunch, then schedule that time into your day. Scheduling every minute may seem excessive but doing so can help you move one step closer to better time management.
Identify the most important tasks
Sometimes we find ourselves picking at tasks that may not be as important or bring us as much satisfaction. Instead, identify the most important tasks and make them priorities.
Use your calendar
A to-do list does not give you the plan for how you get your tasks done; it just grows longer and more daunting. When you schedule these tasks, schedule them like meetings. Block out the time, and only reschedule that time if it is critical.
Immediately tackle small tasks
If it will take less than five minutes to complete, do it immediately. This will help you avoid a laundry list of short tasks and will allow you to spend more time focusing on high-priority tasks.
Limit “trips” to your inbox
Don’t let others dictate how you spend your time. Constantly checking your inbox ensures that we spend more time doing what others ask us to do, and less time focusing on what we have prioritized and scheduled. Plus, checking your email is addictive. It’s like a game of chance … sometimes you have a new message, sometimes not. And when you do have a new message in your inbox, your brain releases dopamine making this activity addictive. Try limiting yourself to four or five email checks per day if possible.
Be ready for inspiration
Ideas happen, no matter where we are. Don’t spend time trying to remember that great idea you had while walking through the grocery store! Always carry a notebook with you (or the “notes” app on your smartphone), so you can jot your ideas down.
About the AuthorMeghaan Evans writes for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives.
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