In order to manage our time more effectively often this means stepping back from the daily bustle of our lives, taking time to look at the ways in which we work and considering the tasks we need to accomplish. It is easy to become a slave to routine, even if we are fully aware that the routine isn’t getting the desired results.
‘Be prepared” is a motto that worked for the Scouts and it is equally applicable today. Arming ourselves with effective coping strategies is the first step to taking back control of our time.
Here are some tips:
- Don’t try to do too many things at once and don’t feel guilty about having weekends and evenings to yourself.
- Take breaks. As time passes, energy levels decrease, boredom sets in and you will start making mistakes.
- Try to be proactive rather than reactive. Don’t just react to incidents but plan what you are going to do, taking into account any potential problems.
- Don’t try to be perfect. There is a difference between wanting to achieve excellence and the neurosis of wanting to be perfect..
- Don’t become a workaholic and let work interfere with all the other things that you would like to do.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel. If the resources that are available aren’t quite what you want, try to adapt them to meet your needs.
Just Say No
People inevitably make demands on our time. It is very often hard to say no, as we don’t want to appear rude or uncooperative. However, unless we learn to be assertive and say no to others when the situation demands it, we really shouldn’t be the ones complaining when our own tasks remain unfinished at the end of the day.
Saying no to people isn’t about being negative, bossy or aggressive. It doesn’t mean that you score points off colleagues or put people down. It is about using your time as you see fit and not allowing colleagues to automatically assume that they can pass work on to you.
You have the right to:
- Express your own feelings and opinions.
- Expect colleagues to respect who you are and what you do.
- Have your views and ideas listened to and taken seriously.
- Manage your time in an appropriate and professional way.
Communication is the Key
When asked to do something and you cannot immediately fit it into your schedule:
- Summarise the problem simply and straightforwardly.
- State exactly how you feel.
- Describe clearly and simply why you feel like this.
- Sympathise or empathise with the other person’s point of view.
- Specify exactly when you will be available.
- Decide what you would ideally like to do.
- Compromise if possible.
Be careful with your time – it is a precious commodity use it wisely and you will get much more achieved than you ever thought possible.