Manage Your Time Wisely
After completing this unit, you'll be able to:
- Conduct a time audit.
- Prioritize which tasks to do now versus later.
Many things are changing right now, and that probably includes how you’re spending your time. You may have new responsibilities and tasks. If you have children, they might be at home with you instead of at school, and you might need to help them stay on track with their education. You might be providing care for others in your household, or doing extra cleaning to sanitize your home.
If you share responsibilities with other people, whether at home or in your company, now is a good time to talk with them about these new demands. Try to identify what is critical to do now, and what can wait. Talk about how to divide and balance the work among all the people who share responsibilities.
This unit provides tips to help you manage your time effectively, so you have more available to care for your loved ones and yourself.
If you want to maximize your productivity, you have to get serious about your time management. The first step is to figure out how you’re spending your time. If you want to know how you’re using every moment of the day, do a time audit.
A time audit is, like it sounds, a detailed way of keeping track of everything you do—for a week. Just grab a piece of paper or create a spreadsheet, and every 30 minutes throughout the day, simply make a note of what you’re doing. Or you can use a time-tracking app—see the Resources section for a list of options.
Once you know where you’re spending your time, you can figure out if your time-intensive tasks are delivering the most return on your investment (ROI).
So how do you know if you’re focused on the right items to deliver that ROI? Figuring that out is as easy as ABC 123.
ABC 123 is a method to choose which task to do first and which later. Use ABC 123 to consider each task for its impact on your overall goal and the amount of time it takes to complete.
Impact on your overall goal
Time to complete
Take your list of tasks, and assign a value to each item on the list (A1, B2, C3, and so on). Then look at your list and prioritize it, starting with the A1 items. Do those A1 items first, since they have a big impact on your goals and are quick. Do C3 items last, since they have a small impact on meeting your goals and take a long time.
No matter how much you hack your task list and manage your time, there are those moments where you get stuck on a task. So how do you get unstuck? Try these tips for success.
- Let people know early the project is late.
- See if the due date can be pushed out.
- Give your brain a break and get back to it later.
Don’t underestimate that third tip. Sometimes all you need is a short break, and you can come back and get unstuck on something that stumped you for hours.
So you’ve learned some strategies and tips. Now let’s look at the apps you can use to stay productive with managing your time.
||Get conversations and tasks out of your head and into tools.
||Know exactly what you are supposed to do and when you are going to do it.
By now, you’ve got some great ideas on how to manage time with grace.
- Do a time audit.
- Rank what’s most important using ABC 123.
- Review strategies for getting unstuck.
- Use your technology.
In the next unit, we explore how to manage your email and calendar like a pro.