Manipulating your time
Tomorrow is that big meeting and you have not finished preparing that vital presentation for your boss. You realize you have had almost two weeks to do it, but you, as many of us do, have found yourself procrastinating to the point where you know you will have to work all night to finish. Could you have avoided this? Is there a way to be more efficient with your time? Here are basic tips in order to improve this much necessary skill.
1) Create a schedule
Nowadays, it is easy to find apps to help us manage our time and schedules. From our “basic” calendar app (it has more features than you know) to more advanced software for project management. Find the one that best suits your way of working and start using it ASAP. It is important to know where our time goes and which activities are taking up most of our time.
2) Set a time limit
It is important to set time frames for our work. I know that writing this article would take me about two hours, so I set that time aside in order to avoid procrastination. If you do not complete the task, set yourself a more realistic time limit. Trial and error will come into play but you will learn how long something takes from every time you perform a specific task.
3) Plan ahead
A few months ago, we began scheduling a “planning day” here at the Language Center. On that day, the whole team works together on the events to come for the following month. This has drastically improved how we work as a team. However, if this is not possible, it can even be done individually on a daily basis in order to set things aside on which you will need to work the following day. Avoid starting your day without objectives.
4) “Half-work” kills us all
How many times have you started writing that report and stopped to check your email or phone for no reason? This prevents us from getting deep into concentration and serves as a perfect way to delay something that could have been finished a lot sooner. You are never fully engaged and, usually, fragments of work do not yield optimal results.
Even if you have everything on your schedule, issues and problems will pop up unexpectedly. It is here when we need to learn to recognize your CITs (Critical and Important Things). Those issues or events you label as critical should go high on your list, followed by the “important” ones that you can do later but need to be done regardless. Experts suggest we do tackle these issues in the morning since we are more alert and might have a bit more energy to handle them.
Any other ideas to maximize your time and avoid being held back by our old friend “procrastination”? Write your ideas on the comments below and we might include them in our next article.