Time management seems to be one of these big things that people also wish they were better at yet don’t know how to improve. We’re back with more time management tips to help you tackle your calendar and stay on top!
If you haven’t checked out our previous post on time management, we highly recommend having a read.
Our last time management blog post was all about identifying what you should be spending your time on to ensure that you’re making the most of your 24 hours every day. However, there are so many other factors which influence time management. These include your boss, your use of language and your environment.
These are our latest top tips, read more about them in detail below:
Tip 1: Understanding ‘Transactional Analysis’ inspired by ‘Successful Time Management by Robert Ashton
Remember when you were a kid and your mum asked you to clean your room or help with the chores. Even when you really didn’t want to do it, you ended up doing it anyway because you knew your mum was the boss and that there would be consequences if you didn’t. There are certain roles and people in our lives which have correlating qualities. Transactional analysis is understanding how these roles interact and what the result looks like. For example, a parent’s role is typically dominating and they learn how to parent initially through learnt behaviour from their own parents. They were told as a child to go clean their room or pick up their belongings, so they believe it’s right of them to ask you to do the same. An adult however, is a little more rational and objective. There is less of an emotional imputes into an adult’s behaviour and they have the tendency to understand both sides of the story. The child role however, is typically submissive, emotional and reactive.
Transactional analysis comes into play in our day-to-day lives when external factors like our boss, or anyone we let impact our time get involved. In the workplace, if you respond to your boss with emotion (child) then they will assume the role of a dominating parent. No longer is this interaction from adult to adult, the tables have turned completely. You have now given up complete control over your time and have empowered someone else to interfere with your workload.
However, if you’re in a situation where your boss is being unreasonably demanding (parent) and you respond rationally and unemotionally (adult), your demanding boss is likely to become more rational in their approach and therefore easier to negotiate with (adult). The playing field is even.
Empower yourself and approach people who impact your time with a rational and unemotional perspective. This doesn’t make you a stubborn person. This makes you an adult.
Tip 2: The Power of Language
How you communicate your workload with others has a big impact on how you let them get involved. Rather than saying, ‘you’re kidding! I don’t have time for that’ to your boss say ‘you’ll appreciate that I already have a full week. How do you suggest I juggle things to fit this extra work in?’ Asking for advice rather than instruction empowers you to stay in control. You’ve also approached this situation with honesty and openness, which people always appreciate. This also means that you’ll never be caught out overpromising and underdelivering!
Tip 3: Maintain an Encouraging Environment
Our brains have a special power in paying attention to things in our peripheral. Subconsciously, we’re constantly scanning our environment for dangers. This sends messages back to our brain which either re-assure us or distract us. Our brains also have a tendency to pay special attention to our environment if we are procrastinating or bored with our current task. This is why you’re significantly more likely to do a mundane task like change your sheets or do the laundry if you’re supposed to be studying. If you find yourself getting distracted or uninspired. Take control of your environment and put nice and encouraging things within your peripheral like quotes, candles, flowers, cards etc.
Tip 4: Manage your workload, don’t let it manage you
Cyril Northcote Parkinson once said, “work expands so as to fill the time available or its completion”. This aligns with the saying that if you want something done ask a busy person. The message is that efficiency is more important than the time you give yourself to complete each task. It’s also why you’re the most productive in the final 5 minutes of an exam! Time block your schedule according to the tasks you wish to accomplish. Rather than being super generous with your time, set yourself smaller chunks and complete as much as you can during this time. If you need to come back and spend a little more time on it later then so be it. Also, utilise the 2-minute rule! If you stumble upon a task which will only take you 2 minutes or less, do it right then and there. This may include putting something away if you’re heading in the same direction.
Tip 5: Use SMART Objectives
When you’ve given a task or something arrives on your to-do list, set SMART objectives and ask yourself the relevant questions. Be Specific - what do you need to do? Make it Measurable - how long will this take me? Is it Achievable - do you have the ability to accomplish it? It is Relevant - is this really necessary? Is it Trackable - how will you know you’ve accomplished it? Then write task list, breaking the activity down into smaller chunks if required and set aside time to complete each one.
Tip 6: The Power of Rest
Remember to set breathing time in-between tasks. This is why it’s super important to leave a piece of work for a few hours before re-reading it or editing it. That time of rest enables you to approach the situation with a fresh perspective. This lets you see the task from a larger perspective. Times of rest are typically when we get most inspired also. If you find yourself in a rut or super unproductive, take 20 minutes to rest, eat and rejuvenate.
For more on rest, check out our blog post 'The Power of Rest and Recovery'
Do you know the different between Inspiration and Motivation? Check out our blog post explaining it here.
Tip 7: The 80/20 Rule
If you haven’t heard of the 80/20 rule it will completely rock your socks. Simply put, the 80/20 rule states that 20% of our time produces 80% of the results. Conversely, 80% of our time delivers 20% of work output. That probably just makes you feel super unproductive, but it’s an important perspective to have. This relates back to Tip 4 also. Don’t feel disheartened because you can only dedicate a small amount of time each day, just ensure that you use this small amount of time to produce the most amount of output!
Tip 8: Using a Priority Quadrant
I love priority quads especially because I’m a visual learner and like to write things out. A priority quad encourages you to lay out your priorities according to their importance and how urgent they are. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, this is a great way to get yourself back on track and add some order into your day.
Image Source: https://appfluence.com/productivity/what-is-the-eisenhower-method/
What are your favourite time management tips? Share them with us below. Also, be sure to check out our previous time management post here and let us know what you’d like to see more of in the future.
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