Time is almost never enough. It runs too fast. Regardless of whether it’s about the things you need to do (but not necessarily want to) or the things you want to do (but not necessarily need to), the time is just not there. Or if it’s there, it’s sad. Should you succeed in managing it well, therefore, you will reap the harvest of an efficient flow that stands out. And most probably makes you feel better, too.
Recently, my friend Susanne tweeted out, “Typical Monday. One step forward, two steps back…” Which got me thinking. What makes me think I’ve made headway today? Can I influence how I perceive it? Every time I finish my work, I want to be able to exclaim, “I’ve done (almost) everything I could, and I’m pretty darn glad about it.” What can I do to make it happen, to make my time happy?
Here are four quick tips for your inspiration. You can apply them to your time at work, as well as your personal time.
1. Chunk it.
Chunk your tasks into categories. Focus on tasks in one category at a time. It will be easier for you to see the progress. You don’t saw the wood and brush your teeth at the same time. You don’t sow and cook simultaneously. Why are we trying to juggle different tasks at once?
2. Plan it.
Have a plan for the week. Set aside some time for reading and replying to e-mail, some other time for writing a report, yet some other time for meetings. Set aside some time to not do anything, too. Trust me, you’ll be amazed how much you’ve needed it. Don’t try to remember everything. Write down your ideas. Create to-do lists, to-watch lists, to-read lists.
3. Commit it.
Commit your time to manage your time. The change will gradually come, but it usually comes slowly. Stick to your plan. Get rid of distractions. Planned to start reading an article at 9:00? Make sure there’s no other window (often titled Facebook) open at 9:02. Get your friend to be an accountability partner. It’s easier to hold your schedule, if you know you’re later to report to someone who cares.
4. Enjoy it.
Having a clear goal and incentive to reach it is part of your success in managing time. Compliment yourself. Set up a system of rewards, badges, stickers, whatever. Progressively, you will notice how much you enjoy crossing tasks off your lists, even if it just means you get to drink that juicebox you’ve put in the fridge.
What are your tips on turning sad time into happy?