When it comes to work, it seems as if our lives become busier and busier each and every day. While it usually impossible to check off everything on your ‘to-do’ list or calendar, there are certain time management tips that you can utilize to help you prioritize your day. This, in turn, will allow you t to alleviate iron out all of the logistics within the workplace, while also alleviating your stress and anxiety at the office.
To begin, it is imperative that you plan ahead. I like to call this backward planning. Yes, we all have a calendar that, at times, dictates our day-to-day. But to create a schedule without an end-goal in mind will leave you scatterbrained and disorganized no matter what you have planned out. To do this efficiently, effectively, and consistently, start by creating a goal of what you want to accomplish within the workweek. You can even go as far as to create a backward plan for the entire month. Whatever is the case, make sure you are planning for the future. From there, you will be able to prioritize various projects and assignments and create a tangible realistic list that you can accomplish each and every day; the more comprehensive your plan and end-goals are, the better. Look at this in the perspective of a teacher. If a teacher is looking to have their students write a book report at the end of the month, they need to make sure they can compile and consolidate various lessons that can help them achieve their goals on a day-to-day basis. While everything cannot be accomplished within a day, having that time frame because of their backward plan strategy will allow them to leverage and capitalize various holes and opportunities for their students Similar to a teacher, you want to make sure you create your daily operations in a similar way. If you know you have a project to accomplish within a three-weeks time, make sure you break it up. This will also give you an opportunity to internalize the problems and task on a deeper level so that you can execute it in the most optimal way possible.
Now to have that sort of plan, make sure you have various systems in place. For many young professionals, one of the biggest mistakes they make is not creating an organizational structure that irons out all of the logistics within the workday. One thing that you absolutely need to master is your calendar. Some people do this in a variety of ways. Whether it is online or by hand, make sure your systems allow you to effectively execute on whatever task you are working with. Allow it to even work in your favor even if there are flaws within the system itself. By creating a system of this magnitude, you will be able to take control of various situations even when they may not seem manageable at the time.
One way to truly perfect your systems is, of course, perfecting how and what you prioritize within a day. Prioritizing will be an extremely important fact when you are planning your day. While you want to, of course, tackle the toughest and most urgent projects first, you want to make sure you have a specific game plan for each task. Remember, projects of that magnitude will always take time. Because of that, break that task down and prioritize and hit specific objectives that can lead you to your end-goal. By prioritizing your schedule in this way, you will be able to alleviate stress and schedule certain blocks of ‘free time’ to answer calls, respond to emails, and eliminate unnecessary distractions. Remember, a simple email will always be there for you to respond to within a day. But the task of getting a project started will always be the first hurdle to your success within your company.
Now, as much as you want to be a go-getter within the office, you will often find out that some things are just impractical to do. This can be a specific team assignment a person is asking you to do or a new task given to you by your boss. If you know you already have a lot on your plate, do not think you are in the wrong or saying ‘no.’ Saying no can be a powerful tool within your artillery. With the armies of work may be at the gates, you as a professional need to prioritize your time for the more important tasks. Because of this, this will require you to say ‘no’ to particular opportunities, even if they benefit you in the future. If you do see a greater return on investment in those opportunities, try and find a way to capitalize it. If you know for a fact that those opportunities will hinder or impact your work in a negative manner, politely decline. At the end of the day, quality will always be better than quantity. Never mistake that.
Lastly, spend some time reflecting on your day-to-day. If you found that today was filled with stress and anxiety, ask yourself what you could have done to alleviate or lighten your load. At times, that type of positive thinking will help you improve and develop as a professional. One mistake many people make is that they allow those bad days to weigh heavily on them. While bad days will always exist, you cannot allow that to question or doubt your abilities. Everyone has those bad days, but to self-reflect and to find various ways in which you can improve on them through your work schedule will be incredibly beneficial in getting you back on track.