If you are always rushing to meet deadlines, overbooking your time or not accomplishing as much as you’d like, you may need to work on your time management skills. Living in this type of environment is stressful and unproductive. Follow the tips below to regain control of your time.
Determine how you spend your time. Make a paper pie, divide it into time blocks and list your activities in each pie section to get an accurate picture of how you spend your time. Make a pie for each day of the week and track what you do for seven days. Note the amount of time you spend sleeping, working, watching TV, driving, talking on the phone, texting, using social media, cooking, etc.
List your priorities — personal, family, work-related. On the back of your worksheet, write down the things you want to do or wish you had more time to do. Understand the differences among unnecessary, necessary, important and urgent tasks, and learn to prioritize them.
Eliminate unnecessary tasks. On a clean piece of paper, list your tasks, then draw a line through each unnecessary one. Delegate other tasks to your spouse, children or coworkers, writing the names of the designated person next to the task. Prioritize your remaining tasks and note whether they have deadlines or specific time frames for completion.
Make an action plan. List the steps you need to complete for each larger task. Try to find ways to do more than one task at a time, such as doing laundry and cleaning the kitchen. Figure out a reward or incentive plan for yourself and for those who help you.
Try the following time management tips to help you organize and make more time during your day.
- Wake up 30 minutes early and stay up 30 minutes later to add an hour to your day.
- Complete tasks of less than five minutes immediately, and schedule tasks that will take longer to finish.
- Turn off the television or use television time to exercise, pay bills or dust.
- Plan your day, keep a calendar that makes sense for you and schedule your time.
- Plan your meals a week or two in advance; you may be surprised at the time and money you save.
- Block distractions like email, social media and phone calls, if possible, and schedule time to make calls and answer emails.
- Schedule some uninterrupted time each day to focus on important tasks.
For additional assistance on managing your time, contact a SECO career coach by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or use the Live Chat feature on the MySECO website.