Monday, August 15, 2011
5 time-management killers at work and at home
Ahaaaaaaa ! This is good to student and worker. Well, now. Let's find out what is the management it is. ;)
I have met and made many friends and seen countless coworkers who were pros when it came to multi-tasking. They could navigate a treadmill while talking on the phone and typing up an email on their smart phone while planning their 6-year-old's birthday party. Frankly, it's impressive. Of course, I am no slouch when it comes to multi-tasking, mind you. Unfortunately, many gals I know fail at time management for five elementary reasons, and from there, the grim news only gets worse. These otherwise proficient and intelligent women shoot themselves in the proverbial foot at work and at home, resulting in lack of opportunity and scads of stress.
1. You talk too much, and you lose track of time
Most women I encounter are communicators. There is something programmed in our DNA that makes us enjoy talking for the sake of talking. Thankfully, Mother Nature skipped this DNA insertion for me, programming me to embrace a straightforward, to the point and blunt personality. When we gals talk "too much" we lose track of time, and it throws our entire schedule off kilter. A 30-minute meeting winds up being an hour, making us late to our next meeting, and looking incompetent in the process.
Solution: Practice straight and to the point communication. Consider using emails or text messaging as your primary communication vehicle until you master this art. This message format forces you to stay on task and on point and is excellent practice for improving straightforward, no frills communication.
2. You try to do too much at one time
I have a dear friend of mine that is probably my soul mate when it comes to biting off more than she can chew. In fact, we were both guilty of being idea factories -- great ideas minus extensive follow through. When you try to take on "too much," you lose track of what's important both at work and at home. Your mind is running 17 miles per minute, ultimately affecting your sleep cycles and productivity.
Solution: Create a task list, and triage it. Qualify your "to do" items on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and keep your schedule manageable. Delegate when necessary and assign often.
3. You seem disorganized -- and you probably are
One of the biggest drawbacks of being a professional multi-tasker is that I would accrue clutter faster than the government accumulates numbers to our national debt. Sure, that "clutter" would be organized in piles and folders, but it would continue mounting to the ceiling faster than I could get a handle on it. When you aren't managing your time effectively, using a to-do list and triaging your tasks, you get organized chaos -- and this doesn't work.
Solution: Work in chunks. Block your time to complete one task thoroughly before moving on to the next paper or folder. Then, file that task away. This helps you stay organized and keeps your desk clean. Remember, a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind -- even if the clutter is color coded and organized. I block out an hour at a time to work on a specific task, take a short break and then get back to it until it's done.
4. You are scatterbrained
Multitaskers and insufficient time management mavens -- as I once was -- get scatterbrained. We have so much to do and so much on our minds at any given moment that we forget when the kids have a dentist appointment, or that we have a lunch date with a colleague. Even if we write things down on a Post-it note, the chances of that paper getting lost in the "orderly disorder" we create are extremely high.
Solution: So many of your problems can be solved with a to-do list. You might have an aversion to them, but having that reminder to check your calendar for a lunch date or dentist appointment to your Tuesday task list can make all the difference in the world. I add appointment reminders to my daily to do list to avoid scatterbrained syndrome.
5. You can't get it "all done"
Thanks to my own unique style of scatterbrained organized chaos, I spent more time chasing my proverbial tail than I did getting things "done." I see this problem with many women across the board. We try to be everything to everyone: the mom, daughter, sister, cousin, boss, coworker -- and on the list goes -- that we end up only succeeding in being ineffective. We spread ourselves so thin that we appear disorganized.
Solution: Although emergencies happen and adjustments need to be made to schedules and to do lists, when combining a task list, daily schedule and by using effective communication, I can get back on track in the blink of an eye, and so can you, making you successful at work and at home. Be firm, but flexible.
Certainly, this might all sound simple, hackneyed and trite; however, sometimes the simplest of solutions is the most effective. Honestly, assess whether or not you make any or all of these five mistakes, and test solutions on correcting them. You are likely to be surprised with the results.