Good Time Management Skills
Julie Morgenstern, who is a time-management expert, argues that we need to view our life as a limited space, much like a closet, where not everything will fit in. It is important to get intentional about what works for you. We may feel like we want to do everything at once, but realistically, this will just lead to stress, overload, and potentially burnout.
Morgenstern’s top tips for productivity include:
- Become a better time estimator. Work out how long a piece of work will take and begin to quantify tasks and form a timeline for them. This is also a good project management skill to have.
- Become a time mapper. Create a time map for your week that includes what you need to achieve by when. Essentially, this is an outlook calendar for your wall!
- Create a structure that works for you. Thursday may be date-night and Saturday may be grocery day! Do what works for you.
- Form a routine to create work-life balance. Add your socials and hobbies to your calendar and keep them as regularly as you can.
Morgensten also uses the formula known as the 4Ds: Delete, Delay, Diminish, and Delegate:
- Delete: screen work for duplicates. Be conscious about what work comes in. If it isn’t worth the time, don’t do it.
- Delay: prioritise other urgent tasks first. Filter what is not urgent and important and focus on what is important and urgent. Some things don’t have to be done right now.
- Diminish: can you reduce the workload? Does it really need a full day when just an hour’s conference call would do?
- Delegate: is there someone else that can do the job too?
Procrastination is when we avoid doing a challenging task or chore in favour for something else. It is quite common for university students during their finals to have immaculate rooms, as they have favoured cleaning over studying.
Many people leave their assignments to the last minute, but forming a reward system can help. Plan to reward yourself for achieving your goals, finishing a task or writing an assignment by the end of the week etc.
Sometimes procrastination can emerge due to fear of failure, but it can also be the result of boredom too. Find ways to stimulate positivity when doing a boring task. For instance, you can use the 50:10 principle and work solidly for 50 minutes then scroll Facebook, read a magazine or watch your favourite YouTube clips for 10. It’s a small reward system for your efforts.
If you feel overwhelmed by a task, break it down. Aim to write one page for an assignment or answer one question and build on this every day. This is similar to the NLP technique called chunking down.
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