[This article was written by Craig Middleton.]
Does your workload make you feel stressed, depressed, or anxious? Does life feel disorganized, underproductive, and like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get all the tasks on your plate accomplished efficiently and effectively? If yes, improving your time management skills may be of great help.
Disorganization Bleeds Into All Facets Of Life
Audrey Sherman, Ph.D, author of Psych Central’s “Dysfunction Interrupted” blog describes the link between disorganization, anxiety, and depression as the stress chemicals from disorganization eating away at the good mood stabilization chemicals. She also points out that disorganization may start one place, home for example, but then bleed into all facets of life – job, car, schedule, timeliness, and so on. According to Sherman, using time management and streamlining can help you take back control of both your emotional and physical life.
10 Ways To Improve Time Management
Whether at home or work, the key to de-stressing and being productive is to organize all tasks and manage your time well. Here’s how to get it done.
Type A personalities are typically very organized, but they’re also the aggressive, impatient, eager and competitive go-getters in life that tend to try to do everything on their own. This can lead to filling a plate too full, therefore causing stress and burnout.
Delegating tasks isn’t dumping your responsibilities on someone else; it’s actually a crucial part of being an effective leader and manager. Think about the skills and assets that those working under your umbrella bring to the table and leverage it to your advantage. Delegate tasks accordingly so that you have time to give your all to the most high-value tasks. ”The careful art of delegation” can offer more tricks and tips on how to delegate.
Start each day by making a list of all the tasks that need to be completed ASAP. Prioritize each task based on its importance and timing. This enables you to shift the mundane and unimportant tasks away to when you actually have time to complete them instead of allowing them to stall your day.
Don’t bog your brain down with trying to keep up with your daily tasks and scheduling. Put it in black and white and have access to your planner at all times. This allows you to unload your mental RAM, think clearly, and focus on each task as it’s in motion. Be sure to keep your separate home, work, and personal interconnected to avoid double booking.
Ensure that each task, even if it’s as simple as mowing the yard or cleaning out your desk, is accompanied by a deadline. This will help you tremendously when it comes to daily prioritizing. Be realistic with deadlines, and try to keep them a day ahead so that you have wiggle room if an unexpected task emerges or another task gets bumped in priority. A reward system may be the key to staying on track.
5. Don’t Procrastinate
Procrastination is an avoidance strategy that’s all about choosing more pleasurable time fillers over less pleasurable ones, and it’s a productivity, energy, and time leech. Procrastination can appear in the perfectionist’s never ending need to add details and edits to something in order to delay starting another task, the ostrich with his/her head in the sand, the daredevil’s one-hour can solve everything approach, or the chicken’s belief that success comes from not trying things they may fail. Whatever the approach to procrastination, the result is that important tasks get delayed and generally go unfulfilled.
6. Don’t Stress
Stress is another productivity leech. It zaps you of energy, motivation, and productivity. It basically builds like a giant boulder until it derails your work train. To better manage stress, confront it head on, gain perspective on what’s stressing you, allow yourself mental and physical breaks, delegate, and don’t get caught up in yesterday’s or tomorrow’s worries. Try this guide on how to make the most of your workday by The New York Times.
7. Don’t Multitask
Multitasking has its time and place, but it’s more often than not counterproductive to efficiency and effectiveness. It’s often just an excuse to soothe distraction and appease a lack of concentration. The truth is that you’re better to focus all your energy in one place at a time, especially if it’s a complex, tedious, or high-value task.
8. The Early Bird Gets The Worm
Productive people typically get up before they need to start their day. This gives them time to plot, plan, and strategize how they envision their day going. Your productivity, energy, and creativeness levels are at their highest first thing in the morning. On the other hand, if you start the day in a mad rush, you’re likely to continue that mental fog and chaos throughout the day.
9. Take Help
Maybe you can’t delegate what’s on your plate? If not, find ways to make the tasks more manageable. Whether it’s allowing yourself regular 10-15 minute breaks throughout the day to decompress and refocus or using project accounting software to streamline and reduce the need for manual processes, take help where you can get it to simplify and manage what’s on your plate.
10. It’s Okay To Say No
Some people find it hard to say no, even if they know they already have more yeses than they can fulfill. They think saying no has too many implications, but saying yes has implications, too. Before agreeing to extra work, make sure it fits in your schedule. If not, take a look at these tips on saying no.
Getting more done in less time and with less stress is possible, but it does take organization. Use the above 10 tips for better time management for a few weeks to see how much more efficiently and effectively you’re clearing your plate each day.