“I never seem to have enough time to do what needs to get done. Help!”
Tackling your to do list and being successful at work is all about using your time effectively. We all have the same amount of time every day, 24 hours. The difference between being organized and living in a state of chaos is simply planning. Learning what is truly important to you and what you need accomplish with allow you to get the most out of every day. (70 words for intro) (20 words for question)
Be realistic. The first thing to assess is what you need to get done each day. Make a list of what you need to accomplish every day, week and month. Your list length will surprise you. Once you have it all down on paper, it will be clear to you that there are some tasks that you don’t enjoy doing, but are obligated to do so. For example, perhaps you are part of a book club that is no longer enjoyable. This is your time to excuse yourself from those obligations, guilt free.
Keep a time journal. For a few weeks keep a journal of how you spent your time. You don’t have to be overly specific; you simply have to be honest. This activity is meant to give you a better understanding of how you are spending your time. For example, you may not realize that you spend half of your workweek on conference calls preventing you from making progress on long-term projects. Also take note of how long you THINK activities take. If you think the grocer shopping taken you 20 minutes and it actually takes you an hour and a half, you are constantly losing time and setting yourself up for failure.
What’s Important to You? Take a moment to write down your long-term goals. For example, do you want more time to work out? Then, think about how getting organized can help you accomplish these goals. If you want to leave the office every day at five pm, you need to use your time during the day more effectively. This could mean blocking out times to answer email and make phone calls and during those times closing your door so you are not interrupted. Start by writing down you long-term goal, then back track and write down some smaller steps that will help you reach this goal. Continue this process until the steps are small enough that you can work on then in ten minutes or less, every day. Keep these long-term goals and the smaller steps in front of you every day so you never lose sight of a more productive you.