This week I was reminded of my father’s saying “haste makes waste”. While there were a variety of events (locking my keys in the vehicle, forgetting a task, needing to get things ready for a new hire, etc.) that I was trying to juggle, the more I tried to get accomplished, the longer the list became. In other words, I was less than “mindful” this week. As part of a mentoring course I was taking, I participated in a really good session on priorities and time management. Here are some of the highlights that I’m hoping to put into practice and maybe some that you might find helpful as well.
The first question that was asked was, why do you do what you do? The short answer may be because it’s my job, or my family needs it, but they shared five pillars of a life well lived for our consideration. Positive emotion, engagement, meaning, accomplishment, and relationships were the topics and we were asked that if we could identify the things that we did on a daily basis, where would they fall within this structure? That being said, how do we feel accomplished and not just stressed? Keep reading.
Time management is really knowing ourselves and applying new techniques and skills to enhance our effectiveness for the tasks that are required of us. When goals are unclear or there are competing priorities, we tend to procrastinate because we don’t understand what the next step is. When deadlines change or things don’t work (technology) or there are many interruptions, then it’s too much to keep straight and I feel overloaded. When those points are identified, then I can at least begin to ask the questions so that I have an understanding of the expectations. Here are some ideas to consider.
Be clear on your priorities: set goals and post them for all to see. This week in our home ownership classes we are talking about our financial goals and putting them in our vehicle, our wallet, our kitchen, and on the door so they are seen several times a day. While these are a little different than time or project goals, letting others know what we are doing and how they can help is important. Delegation can also assist if there are large tasks to be accomplished, just be clear with the expectations.
Know where you are spending your time: Try using an app or a notebook or even your calendar to capture where time is being spent. Are there interruptions that keep us away from finishing what we start or are there others who have “emergencies” for us to assist with? What are time wasters in life?
Let go of procrastination: why do I not want to get started on the project? Sometimes it’s that I don’t have enough time to accomplish it or I’m not sure where to start. Other times I realize it’s going to be a long project and I want to see quick results so I work on things that I can cross off quickly. The suggestion here was to set deadlines and stick to them.
Planning: as much as possible what will my day look like—is it a more regular day or a day filled with events? Creating a checklist of items and prioritizing them can be very helpful as well as the ability to say “no”. If we have the ability in our scheduling, plan for large events or things that will take quiet time to accomplish them.
And finally, work with my strengths not against them. Know if you are a morning or afternoon energy person and put tasks that need the greatest attention when I am most ready to conquer them. Taking care to get enough sleep, eat right, take walks and avoid multitasking can help be more productive.
If you are interested in more time or stress management, I’m happy to share… just know that I’m trying to learn them as well.
Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.
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