Your desk is piled high with paperwork. You don’t even know where to begin…you think, “How am I going to get all of this done?!”. Then the phone rings, you see your inbox has 20 unread messages and yet another person stops at your desk to ask a question. Seriously?
We have all had days like this. Some of us even live in chaos. You need to put it all into perspective. Bring order to your chaos. Time Management is a buzz phrase that’s thrown around all the time, but who has time for that? Have you ever really taken time to look at your day and evaluate all you need to accomplish?
I am a very organized person, even called persnickety (paying careful attention to the details, a perfectionist). Synapse is a fast-paced company requiring perfection. My team and our clients need me to be an organized, efficient perfectionist. So I organize and schedule my day, focus my attention on the task at hand, and get through a lot of work. However, not even Ms. Persnickety can prevent interruptions. So you have to plan for them.
When your day starts, take a deep breath and think to yourself, “I have a lot to do today, but I am ready for it!” Sounds pretty cheesy, but starting your day with a positive thought can change how the whole day progresses and even how you deal with stress.
Next, look at your workload, see what has to get done and prioritize. By dividing your day into a few categories, you will alleviate pressure. I like to complete the quick tasks first, as they take the least amount of time and get your day going in a positive direction. I plan for the difficult items in the middle of the day. They take the most time and require a great deal of focus. This leaves the end of the day for anything leftover, things that have popped up, and maybe even things you couldn’t get done yesterday.
Most of us use email as the primary tool for communicating, but don’t let your inbox rule you! You know that as soon as you open your emails you have to reply. So, only check every 10 or 20 minutes instead of every 2 or 3. If you consider email a task, you can schedule time for it like any other task. I leave open time throughout the day for the unpredictable: computer crashes, last-minute projects, helping my team and so on. You cannot fill up every minute of your day or you will never accomplish anything.
Time Management really is an art form, one that everyone can master. Take a step back and schedule some time to create order. Once you figure out the best pattern, you will become your own organizational king or queen, maybe even my sibling, Ms. or Mr. Methodical.