Organize Your Time and Reduce Your Stress

Our theme this week is “Organize Your Time and Reduce Your Stress”.   Who better than Angela Aldrich to write a guest spot on the topic?! Angela is the president of A3 Organizational Consulting and her piece is brilliant. Here’s Angela’s blog entitled, “Don’t Try and Manage Time, Just Utilize It.”

Do you feel no matter how much you work you never really get anything accomplished?  Is your “to do” list too overwhelming to look at?  The problem may be how you think about time.  Can we really manage time?  By definition, to manage something is to “direct with a degree of skill”* or “work upon or try to alter for a purpose”*.  These concepts can’t be applied to time.  The fact is there are sixty seconds in a minute, sixty minutes in an hour, and so on.  The boundaries of time are an accepted fact that we can not change.  It is not how we manage the time, but how we utilize it.  There are three main obstacles that people face in the workplace when it comes to their time; lack of prioritization, failed attempts at multitasking, and overall respect for one’s own time.

Most would say that whatever has been put off the longest would go to the top of the priority list.  Looking at your task list think to yourself, “Which one of these things is going to accomplish a tangible goal?”  Use common sense and always make the priority the task that will affect your bottom line.  Think about how you operate each day.  Identify the opportunities in your daily tasks to create opportunities or revenue.

Most people in today’s workplace must multitask to some degree.  However, it is better to do each job at 100% than ten jobs at once, each at 60%.   Some people are of the thought that if you do one thing at a time you are slow, lazy, or unproductive.  Not so.  People who complete one task at a time are less likely to make costly mistakes and are often more productive overall.  If you are an effective multitasker it is usually because you are aware of your limitations and always have a focus on the ’main’ task at hand, while the others are peripheral.  Good multitasking occurs when no more than two things are being attended to at one time.  If three or five tasks are being attended to at once, all suffer in the end.  For every task over two that are being simultaneously attempted, the percentage of accuracy decreases.  There is no crime in handling each task, by importance, one by one.  You can actually get more accomplished and create a higher quality product.

Everyone needs to put a value on their time.  What is each hour worth, each minute? “If you earn $50,000.00/year, it is about fifty cents.  Waiting ten minutes for someone costs five dollars.  If ten people at a meeting are waiting ten minutes for someone, that’s fifty dollars.” – (Harold Taylor) If you view your time as dollars and cents, you will be more likely to respect it and use it wisely.  It also allows you to set respectable boundaries on your time for others.  Give people expectations of time.  If you are scheduling a meeting or appointment with someone, let them know approximately how long it will last, and stick to that time frame.  This will not only keep your day on track, but also set the standard for how others respect and view the time you spend with them.  In turn, show others the same respect.  This behavior will set precedent on what can be expected when meeting with you, and others will accept your time is valuable and will treat it as such.

In applying these principles, view time as a consumable.   Is it being consumed by waste or fleeting with accomplishment? Each day hands you new opportunity to utilize it better than the last.  Do this, and you’ll have all the time in the world.

*Definition obtained by Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

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2 comments
arshinipreetish
arshinipreetish

In the middle of some task and my boss always used to some give other work else he will asked me to give a report on the status of the tasks being done by our subordinates. I will feel panic and very stressed at such situations.  
 
Been there before? Replicon's ( http://www.replicon.com/olp/online-time-recording-software.aspx ) software can come in handy at such times and give all kinds of reports. This time management software came with the promise that I would be able to handle all the tasks using it.

Cathy Jennings
Cathy Jennings

Great tips! One of my favorites is that just because something has been on "the list" for a long time, doesn't mean it should go to the top. Prioritization is a conscious effort -- it doesn't just happen. It's always good to be reminded that time cannot be re-captured, so we need to use it wisely. Thanks, Angela! Cathy