It’s a new year and while I don’t really subscribe to the “New Year. New Me” stuff, January is a perfect time to evaluate how you manage your time.
If one of your issues is saying “yes” to too many things whether at work or otherwise, Tiffany Toombs’ article 15 Ways To Stop Overcommitting Your Time And Energy is for you!
Here are the top five things you should do to help you take control of your time.
1. Do a Time Audit
Find out where your time goes by conducting a time audit. This is different from the exercise I suggested before in that you aren’t just listing everything you do, but also tracking how long it takes you.
It may seem a little annoying, but the results should be pretty illuminating. Set an alarm for every 15 minutes or so and when the alarm goes off, make a note of what you were doing during that time. Do this for at least three days to gauge your standard workday. But try to avoid doing the audit when you are covering for a co-worker, about to go on vacation, working on a major one-off project or other times with unusual activity.
Be honest though – if you spent that time looking at TikTok or scrolling through Instagram, then note that. At the end of your audit, categorize each note. You can do this is a variety of ways, but the simplest is to break them down between very important, not as important, or not important at all. (But be sure you don’t include needed mental breaks as not important.)
2. Never Commit Right Away
Before adding anything new to your plate, take a moment to consider your other obligations and whether it’s important to you. Taking a minute before committing can also help you fight decision fatigue.
If you need to give some answer right away, these 7 Ways to Say No Without Actually Saying It from Kivi may help you stall before giving a final answer:
- “Let’s talk about our goal with this. What are we trying to accomplish?”
- “Doing this means I couldn’t do __________ this week. Is that a good trade-off?”
- “How about if I ________ instead?”
- “Can you get me more information?”
- “Let me think about that and get back to you.”
- “I’m going to put that on my Good Ideas List.”
- Say nothing at all.
3. Overestimate the Amount of Time Required
A meeting may be scheduled for 30 minutes, but how long do you chit chat with your co-workers before and after? Do you run to get coffee before the meeting starts or after? How often are people late? How many questions get asked? How long does it take you to get organized and back on task after the meeting?
Give yourself a time buffer that will help you deal with any problems or delays. Then if you don’t need it, you can use that time on things you may be neglecting like self-care.
4. Stop Keeping Score
Do you feel like you have to repay every favor someone does for you? Ok, first off let’s talk about “favors” at work. Someone doing their job is not a favor. You don’t owe Jill from Development help because she filled out your creative brief.
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You are not obligated to do anything outside of your job description because someone did something for you that one time. Only return “favors” when you genuinely want to help.
Prioritize Time for Rest and Breaks
Rest is a necessary component for better health and decision-making. A lot of the #NPCommLife posts explain why taking a break and rest are so important to your productivity:
- Schedule Your Vacation, Nonprofit Communicators, (and Actually Take the Time Off)
- Let’s Talk About Mental Health Days
- Toxic Productivity: Is There Such a Thing as Being Too Productive?
- Handling Anxiety When You Are Busy
- Is Time Management the Key to Happiness?
See the full article for more tips, but these 5 will have you well on the way to a better, slightly less stressful 2023.