Being a busy professional in a hectic workplace can be exciting and exhausting. To manage your time, you need to know what you want to accomplish and approximately how long it will take. Tracking your time for a week or two is a great way to get a sense of that. Whether it’s work or personal goals, or your day-to-day responsibilities, this awareness is vital to your success.
One common misconception about managing your time well is that you can manage it at all. I believe it is more about managing priorities. Having too much to do at work is the new normal. Once you identify your priorities whether goal related, or day-to-day tasks, if you attend to them in the “right” order you can gain control of your work life.
Here is some advice from Your Office Mom in the form of three tips relating to prioritizing your work and help you manage your time more effectively:
1. Make a To-Do List
If you don’t have a daily plan you are sabotaging your work performance. If you arrive at work without a clear picture of what you’re up against, you waste valuable time trying to remember and sort through it all. Take a few moments to make a to-do list at the end of each day and prioritize tasks for the next. By doing so, you can jump-start your day and stay focused on what’s most important. Your daily to-do list will capture critical tasks and follow-up items before you get distracted or forget details. Of course your priorities are subject to change with last minute requests or other delays, but your list makes it much easier to navigate the world of work.
2. Focus on high priority tasks
As best as you can resist the urge to perform low-value activities at the start of the day. Instead, focus on high priority, important tasks. Save the routine or mundane tasks for later. Otherwise, you’re likely to get stressed out trying to do it all. Things come up during the day that requires you to shift your priorities. So, I ask, which is better - missing a deadline or feeling good that you cleared out your Inbox?
3. Check your list periodically
If you get overwhelmed during the day, stop and catch your breath and ask, “what do I need to accomplish right this minute, or before the end of the day?" Sometimes, despite our best intentions, our day gets away from us, and we need to pause and assess the situation. With your to-do list and priorities mapped out, the answer should be loud and clear.
What helps you stay on track during the day? How do you stay focused?