By: Katie Austin
I bet you are thinking the title of this blog post is a typo, wondering if my fingers slipped and the last letter should have been an “I” since the keys are next to each other. While that acronym could certainly apply elsewhere, I’m discussing TMO here, since it seems that each day my list of things to do gets longer. Yes, it is confession time, as I am a victim of time management overload, or what I refer to as “TMO.” Some of you may already have symptoms of this time-robbing disease and I hope this article helps you to overcome the negative side effects.
What is time management overload? I was surprised to see so many results when I performed a recent Google search. I thought I was coining a new catchphrase – starting a new trend 🙂 When you search the Internet, you will find many great articles explaining how to limit work overload. However, I am talking about overloading on the tools we use to manage the our many tasks – the daily to do list that includes work, home and everything in between. I have found myself using task applications on my phone/iPad, printed out versions of my Google calendar, and anything else I can get my hands on to help me stay on top of my commitments. In general, I spend more of my time updating my organizers than actually working on the tasks themselves.
So, what have I done to conquer my TMO? I compiled a list of eight tips from CNN Money and Time Management Ninja to incorporate into my life. Change won’t be easy but it’s worth a shot because what I am doing now isn’t working. I hope you find these to be useful as well:
- Stop multitasking. Instead of trying to do several things at once, plan your day so that you have blocks of time (even if they are only 10 or 15 minutes long) where you are working exclusively on one thing. You will find that you are able to give 100% to whatever you are focused on and, in the long run, accomplish more.
- Assign a time limit to everything you do. Once you reach the time limit for a task, stop. If you didn’t complete the task, you probably needed a larger block of time and should consider this when scheduling similar tasks in the future.
- Be organized enough to know your load. Multiple lists and scattered papers present a jumbled perspective. If you don’t know how much is on your plate, how can you hope to efficiently get it done?
- Keep one calendar. I am guilty of keeping separate calendars for work, home, coaching, and school. And then I incorporate all calendar items into one Google calendar so that everything is quickly available across my technology. When I read this particular tip, I quickly realized that I needed to shed those extra calendars and move to maintaining one calendar. In just one weekend, I noticed a big difference!
- Just say no. This can be a leading source of the extra weight that holds you back. ”Can you do this for me?” ”Can you help me with that?” Sometimes, the right answer is “No.”
- Finish to done. Another reason your load may grow too long is that you never fully complete tasks. Starting tasks is easy, but finishing them is hard. A few items completed is always more effective than many things begun.
- Don’t do everything yourself. Busy people are often guilty of trying to do everything themselves. Delegate where you can; ensure you are not holding on to tasks that would be better served by someone else.
- Defend your time. We wouldn’t let others steal our money, yet time seems to be free game. You need to be ruthless in protecting your most valuable resource: your time.
I hope you find this collection of time management tips as helpful as I did. Honestly, when I started the hunt for information to include in this article, I hadn’t blocked off any time and was trying to fit my research in between other tasks. Post-research, I blocked off time to not only finish the article, but to incorporate the above tips. The weight on my shoulders is lighter. I am breathing easier and feel a sense of accomplishment as I complete each task in its entirety. And to think that just a few days ago, I felt like I was treading water every day. No wonder I was tired!
How do you manage your time? Is there a tool that works great for you? Feel free to share your time management tips here and we will grow our list. And make sure to block off time each week to read the wonderful articles posted on the Every Woman Blog! 🙂
Wishing everyone a great day!