Getting things done on time and meeting everyone's expectations can be handled with a well-formed plan. However, allowing time for the unexpected can also help you deal with life's little surprises that we encounter every day. Here are some great ideas for time management that you can put into effect right away.
- Looking at your calendar in advance can prepare you for what lies ahead. Every Thursday afternoon or Friday morning, glance at your calendar for the following week's activities. What can you do to prepare for meetings, presentations, your child's school or sports activities, food dishes for office, family, or friend gatherings? Prior to ending your day, take another glance at your day's schedule for the next day. The unexpected can happen at any moment. Be prepared.
- Are you the most efficient in the morning or in the afternoon? Organize your day so you can use your strongest mental or physical assets during your most efficient times. If you are not a morning person, use the morning hours to work with easy duties that need to be done and leave your more intense responsibilities to the afternoon.
- Compile activities. If you have to go out to an appointment, doctor's visit, take children to school, or meet a friend for coffee or lunch, organize other outdoor errands you have to accomplish during the same time you are away from your home or office. Compiling activities helps eliminate having to run out several times a day. Avoid wasting time and gas by combining your errands.
- Prioritize your day's activities. Use a simple legend that identifies the needs that must be met prior to the completion of your day. Color-coding your calendar can help you coordinate your errands or tasks. Red can mean urgent while the color yellow means you have all day to complete the chore. Perhaps the color green can mean your errand can be delayed a day or two. Perhaps adding neon colors can add fun into your time management experience.
- Take a close look at the tasks that need to be done by breaking the tasks into smaller steps. Do not let a major task scare you. Take a close look at what needs to be completed and ask yourself how can you break the task down into smaller, less intimidating steps. Whether the task is a presentation in front of the company's board of directors or meeting with your child's teacher, take time to look at the small steps to manage your task successfully.
- Is the word 'tomorrow' always in your vocabulary? A time eater is procrastination. Learn to live "in the now" and work accordingly. Waiting until a better time to complete your chore can backfire. You may have unexpected tasks sneak into your day and not have the time to handle your new errand.
Effective time management can allow you to be more productive. Enjoy your day knowing you have managed your day to the very best of your abilities. Also, do not forget to allow a small block of time for life's unexpected surprises!