How familiar does this line sound? Let me guess – the next step is pulling extra hours and running consecutive late nights to meet the deadlines. If you face this situation frequently (and if reality says that it’s within your control) then it’s time to look into this ASAP. Let’s address the elephant(s) in the room first? (Yes, this place has room for more than one elephant.)
- Have I been procrastinating?
- Am I able to handle this workload?
- Am I agreeing to unrealistic timelines?
We’ll come back to these elephants later, but in the meantime, improper time management can break your spirit and affect everyone and everything around you. Let me explain.
According to Psychology Today:
“Time Management is not about having all of those things done; it’s about having enough time for what matters most to you. Time management is really “personal management” and it is a skill necessary for achieving a better quality of life. By managing your time in a more efficient way, not only you will get the right things done, but you’ll also have enough time to relax, de-stress and breathe more freely.”
Putting this into context, this means that we’ve only got 24 hours in a day and we need to balance the time we spend on work and things that matter most to us. If we’re spending more time at work because we’ve procrastinated, we have less time for things that are important to us.
So, what’s important to you?
Within a day, our activities and engagements tend to fall within 4 main categories:
- Spiritual (for some it may also include religion)
A day typically looks like this (Based on a 5-day work week)
Work Days: Eating + Sleeping + Working = 18hrs/day (6hrs of 24hrs available)
Weekends: Eating + Sleeping = 12hrs/day (12hrs of 24hrs available)
Total Time available in a week: 54hrs / week
We’ve only got 6hrs on weekdays to balance time for ourselves, our loved ones and our spiritual engagements! Does this work for you? If it does, you can understand how spending extra time at work WILL end up eating into quality time that was made available for what’s important to you!
If this doesn’t work for you, then it’s time to prioritize and look deeper into what’s important.
A personal recommendation to start you off:
- Create your list of priorities. List up to 5 key items within each quadrant – things that you absolutely cannot do without! (Omit “WORK” as that’s already factored in)
- From this list, allocate the time you’d like to spend on each priority per day and/or week. Work it out within your list
- Go through your list again – are you pleased with your time allocation for your weekdays and weekends?
Your table might look something like this at first, where you try to pack everything in, but as you’ll soon realize – it’s unrealistic.
So, after moving things around, you might just be able to prioritize what’s most important during your weekdays and what can be shifted to the weekend. So, this is what we could potentially pack into a week.
As you go through this process, I hope that you’ll become aware of a few things:
- I know what’s important to me.
- I am committed to making time for things that are important to me.
- I understand how wasted time will affect not just my work, but the things that are important to me.