Time Management For Dummies
Today I followed a time management course for dummies. God knows it was time, as my dentist would agree, as I missed my appointment with him 3 times last year. (Lovely Eric never charged me though, cheers to him) While I could give you a description of the things I learned or rattle down a summary, I choose to give you the top 5 most directly implementable principles. Not that one course makes me a genius, but it does make me a believer and I gladly share my enthusiasm with you.
Principle 1: Stop worshiping e-mails.
A lot of the time you hear people boasting about the thousands of e-mails they still have to go through, or the amount of time it takes them to get through them: “It takes me all morning”. Unless you have a job in (customer) service, you probably do not need to look at your Outlook quite as much. Schedule a time or two a day to go through your inbox and reorganize your mails to their priority. Either put them on your action list, lose them or classify them in your ‘will-look-at-a-later-time’ folder.
Principle 2: Is choosing, losing?
Yes, probably. But not choosing is also losing; you just have less to do with the decision. Put your options out and choose the most important ones. Maybe you need your manager to decide with you. But when someone asks you later on why you did not do a certain task, you can tell them you considered, but had bigger fish to fry. Choosing is losing, but never lose sight of the options.
Principle 3: Make your tasks small. Gratification is KEY
I always seem to put things on my to-do-list that take weeks to complete. Always leaving me with spite, because I am never done and always ‘late’. Break down. Make your action list ‘do-able’. Split a project in more narrow, complete actions you can finish within a week. You need to experience success in order to keep doing it. Gratification is key!
Principle 4: Manage your energy levels
You might not want to hear it. You might not want your manager to know it. But your energy levels are limited. You need to manage your ‘up’ and your ‘down’ time. Define what part of the days you are at warp speed and the moments you are drained. Keep a list of tasks you can do when your energy levels are low. Tasks you enjoy more, that need less of your inspiration, less vision and dedicate your drained moments to them. If you are drained more than you are at regular or top speed, you better look into your sleeping, eating and relaxation habits. You might need to invest more in yourself, before you can start harvesting.
Principle 5: Keep a list of every promise. Yours and theirs.
If you want to be professional, you need to be reliable. If you want to be successful, you need to track the promises you make and the promises that are made to you. Try not to see it as being an utter control freak, but see it as being up-to-date.
That’s it for now!
Do not pin you yourself down on these principles, there are many more to be considered, but as I promised you in my New Year’s resolutions: I want to stop being so distracted all the time and I do think this will help me do just that. Focus, focus, focus. Not only improving my productivity at work, but also in my private time. You want to be a writer? You want to travel the world? You want to be a better photographer? Too big to manage. Let’s start with:
- Write a blog this week, every week
- Inscribe yourself in a photography course or a writer’s course
- Start planning that trip
- Booking your flights
- Arrange your visa
Time is the most valuable possession I have to give. To others and to myself. I don’t want to waste it.