Time Management. This is a topic that everyone seems to be trying to solve, constantly researching, reading books, or attending workshops and seminars. I actually recently attended a seminar by Helene Segura, a time management guru, who focused on the hot topic of time management. I walked away with 5 tips that I am now implementing in my everyday work and home life that I can’t wait to share with you!
We are all guilty of saying the phrases… “I never have enough time”, “If I could just get more hours in the day”, “Where does all my time go?” Time is more valuable than money; it’s the only thing we will never get more of if we work harder.
Helene Segura, author of “The Inefficiency Assassin”, presented the group with some statistics about time, mostly about the wasted time. She called them “time leaks”, the time that literally slips away and is lost. Here are some examples that we can all relate to…
- A co-worker who interrupts your workflow with a story about his/her weekend plans. On average it will take you 25 minutes to recover and get back on task after an interruption.
- Distractions from our phones – so the notifications, phone calls, texts message, social media, etc. These interruptions can cost you on average 110 minutes a day.
- “Multitasking” – the buzz word we all are familiar with. Research has proved that multitasking actually reduces your productivity, instead of improving your productivity because your mind is focused on too many tasks at once. Our brains just aren’t built to function that way.
So you may be asking yourself, “what do I do about my co-workers?” or “Wait a second my kids might call me – I have to have my phone” or “If I don’t multitask I will never get anything done.” Helene presented 5 time management solutions that will help your productivity and ultimately help you to gain more time.
- Set 3 Tasks. Start and end each day with 3 tasks that you must complete the next day. I like to call this “setting your intentions” for the next day. This will help you to have clarity when leaving the office to focus on your next and most important task, your home-life-balance. It will also prepare a road map for the next day at work.
2. Communication is Key. Interruptions throughout the day come from people you already know. It’s important for you to communicate your availability and your goals for the day. For example, the co-worker who wants to share his/her weekend plans. Be upfront with your co-worker and simply say, “Hey (insert name of a co-worker) I have a deadline I need to meet today on this project, can we chat over lunch or over our next break?” Or if you know you need to be completely focused on a particular project at work let your significant others know ahead of time “Hey honey, I am on a tight deadline today at work so if I don’t respond to your text or phone call right away, I’m not ignoring you.”
3. Digital Devices on Hold. Put social media apps on the second or even third page of your home screen so it’s not constantly a click away. Checking email twice a day, once when you arrive at work and once at the end of the day. Tim Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Work Week”, checks his email once a day. By doing this, over time he found that his employees found solutions to problems because they knew they would not receive answers right away. This increased everyone’s productivity levels across the board because they relied less on email communication.
4. Become a “Solo-Tasker”. Focus on your three tasks and work your list. If what you are focused on doesn’t fit within the three tasks you outlined, regroup, and start over. Give your full attention to each task completely until finished. You will increase productivity and gain more time to move on to the next tasks.
5. And the final time management tip is a fun exercise that I want you to try… Step 1: Take a blank sheet of paper and create a grid. The grid needs to have 24 squares or a 4 x 6 table. Each square represents 1 hour of time. The exercise is to fill in each square with your ideal day. So, if there are 24 hours in a day, what do you want to do each hour of the day. Step 2: fill in the squares using the following questions as a guide:
- How many hours of sleep do you want?
- How long is your morning routine – to have breakfast, workout, or get ready – how long do you want?
- How long does it take you to drive to work?
- How many hours a day do you work?
- How long does your commute take home every day?
- How many hours do you want in the evening time to make dinner, workout, hang out with the family, watch tv, etc?
Fill in each square with these activities. Do you have time leftover? Do you not have enough squares? Where can you adjust your time so you can create a day that values your time? I loved doing this exercise because I am a visual person, I love seeing things in writing and it really helped me to protect my time and make some adjustments that will help me be more productive and focus on my daily tasks.
Looking through the above time management tips by Helene Segura, you can see how easy it is to manage your time effectively. As a good time manager, you will be able to accomplish more in less time and have more free time. Therefore, you may consider expanding your education and with a little more downtime take advantage of new learning opportunities.
If you think you might want to return to school, start by researching masters program admission requirements online. In some cases going back to school can significantly help your career, and all it takes is to take the first step by researching programs that interest you.
Leave me a comment about your favorite time management tools and let me know what you think about the 5 time-saving tips I shared from Helene Segura’s seminar. If you would like to read more about Helena’s background or purchase one of her books please use the link below. www.HeleneSegura.com