In Part I, we discussed the first three steps to better manage your time. Remember, time management is the act of exercising conscious control over how you spend your time in an attempt to increase efficiency or productivity.
The key words here are conscious control. Time management is impossible without the person making an honest effort. Time alone will not manage itself in your favor. Check out the final three steps below to begin your journey to a more peaceful, well-managed life.
“Putting off an easy thing makes it hard. Putting off a hard thing makes it impossible.” – George Claude Lorimer
4. Avoid Procrastination
Everyone is motivated in different ways. Find what inspires and energizes you to tackle work issues, instead of putting them off. Commit to a regular schedule of work output and project completion. Don’t make it easy to procrastinate. Make an effort to be conscious of your actions, and this will make removing, or at least recognizing, distractions a lot easier. Remember: time goes by slowly for those who wait.
Tips: Don’t overthink tasks. This often leads people to make tasks more difficult than they truly are. The task that once slightly frightened you from completion will soon grow into a terror-causing project that you will never finish. Stop over-complicating things and take action.
“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.”- Dale Carnegie
5. Gather Your Priorities and Put Them In Line
No one likes to leave work at the end of the day or week feeling like they didn’t accomplish the most critical tasks. When you set and adhere to priorities, you avoid stress and keep on pace with the demands of your workload.
Tips: Set aside 30 minutes to write down what you need to do and number them in their order of importance. Seeing your tasks in order of importance and all in one place will make it clear as to what tasks you might be able to cut out entirely. If you still need extra help, try signing up for time management training programs. Many of these programs are offered online and give practical techniques to help you undo destructive habits and learn how to lock out mental distractions so that you can eliminate time wasters and concentrate on your priorities.
6. Protect Your Private Time
Some anxiety-provoking work habits, such as bringing work home or staying at work late, are more exhausting than we may realize. Sometimes it can’t be avoided, but if it becomes a habit, you can start to feel like you don’t have a life outside of work. According to a study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, the weekend provides critical opportunities for bonding with others, exploring interests and relaxing-all basic psychological needs that people should be careful not to crowd out with overwork. Try to manage your time at work more efficiently so you can enjoy your time outside of the office. Being happy in general will have an overall positive effect on your work performance.
Tips: Start a weekly tradition of doing something you love once a week. Do some variation of an activity you enjoy on the same day every week. Traditions are easier to keep up with and maintaining your psychological health is more important than you may realize.
Hopefully you utilize these tips in your everyday life. The positive effects these steps can have on your life definitely outweigh the cons and negative effects stress can have on your health and work life.