Time Management for Personal and Professional Productivity
Take Back Control
Holding control of where your brain goes while working can be difficult, especially if you fall victim to a few simple vices that most of us have. For the most common ones (i.e. distractions, lack of willingness, and overall sloth) here are some ideas that will work like blinders on a racehorse.
- Eliminate Distractions: It may seem like it’s been said a million times, but it’s just that important! Imagine you’re sitting on a life raft floating on the waters of your busy day; every single distraction is like poking a hole in the skin of the raft. Eventually, you’ll feel suffocated by your day.
- Plan It Out: Map out your day, use a poster board or a journal, decorate it with colour-coded sections so each hour of your day is planned out. Don’t forget to add the break time.
- Reward Yourself: If you find yourself snacking to pass the time, channel that into a rewards program; allow for your favourite snack to be eaten at the completion of each important task. The eagerness will help the time fly by.
- Don’t Start Right Away: When the alarm clock rings, don’t be tempted to run your day through your head immediately. Take the time to make some coffee, meditate, do what you need to do to feel awake and mentally prepared.
Now that your brain is situated, keep these next points in mind to hold that mighty organ in check all day long!
Prioritize: Take a look at everything you need to catch up on, and start with the tasks with the closest deadline. If this is a massive project, take a load off by doing tidbits of some smaller and easier jobs. This will keep your stress levels down, while you are still able to give focus to the main project.
Let Your Team Know: A Harvard Business Review author makes an excellent point on one of the biggest lies we tell ourselves: ‘I have time for that’. A major stress inducer when you have fallen behind is the guilt that you will let your team down. What we forget is that everyone is human and we all have rough patches, if you are candid with your team and explain the situation, you will probably receive a bit more leniency from them. We are only human with 24 hours in a day, there’s a limit.
Don’t Skip the Breaks: If you are behind and your mind goes into overdrive, it is very easy to forget to take a break. Unfortunately, this will most likely result in the forgetting of other things. This is why the value of a task list cannot be stressed enough, map out your points, check them off.
Music: A student at NorthCentral University studied Psychology Professor Dr. Masha Godkin’s teachings on how music helps you focus, the world is full of playlists now of different genres, find one that is soothing with little words, and prepare to be amazed at how much you get done!
“Music activates both the left and right brain at the same time, and the activation of both hemispheres can maximize learning and improve memory,” Dr. Masha Godkin
In a life where distractions and duty battle for our attention, it is necessary to be prepared with tips and tools for making sure the important things are done promptly, and the temptation of social media and other distractions need to know that there is a time for them, it’s just not quite yet.