Got Too Many Balls in the Air?
Don’t Let them Drop with these Time Management Tips
You start to go through your mental checklist of all the items that you want to accomplish as you sit down at your computer at the start of the day. Then it happens.
We’ve all been there probably more often than we’d like to admit. But how do we stop from getting so sidetracked and overwhelmed to get all that we want to accomplish in a given work day?
Start with a daily plan.
Peter Bregman, author of the bestselling time management book 18 Minutes, advises to make a plan as the first thing to do when you begin your day. Bregman discusses in his Forbes article the power of setting priorities up front, before checking email or starting daily tasks. Sit down and make a list on a blank piece of paper and decide what will make this day highly successful.
Next, take those items and schedule them into your calendar by placing the hardest and most important items at the beginning of the day.
He cites studies where certain percentages of groups gave precise times and locations for accomplishing goals, while others did not. The results are striking: those who defined a where and a when had a far higher success rate than those who did not. For Bregman, it’s simple: “If you want to get something done, decide when and where you’re going to do it. Otherwise, take it off your list.”
Set your watch, phone or computer to ring every hour. When it rings, take a deep breath, look at your list and ask yourself if you spent your last hour productively. Then look at your calendar and deliberately recommit to how you are going to use the next hour. Be honest with yourself on what it is that you can accomplish, if don’t have time or the task isn’t a top priority, take it off the list. Bregman advises, “Manage your day hour by hour. Don’t let the hours manage you.”
Take a step back away from your workstation and review your day. Bregman says to examine what areas you focused the most and take note where you got distracted. Take what you learned today that will help you towards a more productive tomorrow.
“The power of rituals is their predictability. You do the same thing in the same way over and over again. And so the outcome of a ritual is predictable too. If you choose your focus deliberately and wisely and consistently remind yourself of that focus, you will stay focused. It’s simple.”
And all those balls will stay nicely in the air.