Do you ever plan to finish a task in the morning, but then 5:00 p.m. rolls by and you have yet to even work on it? Have you ever asked yourself, “Where in the world did the day go?” I’m sure all of us can answer “yes” to at least one of these questions. Whether personal or work-related, we are all tasked with managing our time and meeting deadlines.
As we all know, things don’t always go as planned, especially in the association and chamber industries. While there is, unfortunately, no way to add extra hours to the day, below are some tips that I’ve found to be helpful in managing my time.
- Prioritize. The first step in prioritizing is understanding that not everything on your to-do list is of equal importance. Figure out what you must accomplish that month, week, or day, and go from there. If you’re unclear as to what that might entail, don’t be afraid to ask your manager or a team member for assistance.
- Clear your schedule…and your head. I’ve found that blocking time on my calendar is key in completing projects. This helps to ensure that no meetings are scheduled and it forces me to focus on the task at hand. If a project requires strategic thought and doesn’t require me to be at my desk, I like to go for a walk, as a change of scenery often aids in my ability to brainstorm.
- Limit distractions. If you have an office, close the door. If you don’t have a door, let your colleagues know that you’ll be ‘offline’ and kindly ask that they not call you or stop by your desk. If you feel compelled to check your email every time you see a new message pop up in the corner of your screen, consider closing out of your email for a short time. I say ‘limit’ distractions rather than ‘eliminate’ distractions because I often find that taking a 5-minute break to check CNN or Facebook helps to recharge my batteries.
In full disclosure, this is an ironic post for me because I actually missed my deadline to submit this blog. This proves that there is no magic formula to time management, but I know that I will be practicing what I preach! What are some ways that help you manage your time?