Time: how do you manage yours effectively?


“It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time” – Steve Jobs

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Time. A most precious commodity but one we often use unwisely. I’m sure you regularly start your work week full of good intentions, clear headed and ready to get things done. And how often do you feel frustrated and panicky by Thursday afternoon because nothing you wanted to get done has happened? Let me assure you that you’re not alone and there are ways to break this cycle.

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst” – William Penn
We have more demands on our time and attention now than ever before. Working from home and juggling that with family demands, extended hours encroaching into evenings and weekends, and job roles becoming more fluid. With all that going on, how do you begin to try and manage your time? Without any planning or schedule, your day, week and month can quickly become very ragged and frustrating.

“Never leave till tomorrow which you can do today” – Benjamin Franklin
Procrastination prevents productivity. The more times we touch a task without completing it, the less efficient we are. And the less efficient we are, the more stressed we become. Try out some different time management methods.

  • The Pomodoro® Technique is a tried and tested method of timing tasks into small, manageable chunks.
  • Make sure all your goals are SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound so that you know they can be attained within a certain time frame.
  • Start each day with the 4 Ds process. Look at every task you have and label it to Do, Defer, Delegate or Delete.

“When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself” – Paulo Coelho
The more you say ‘yes’ to people, the more time you need to find to fit in those extra tasks. We can’t stretch time to accommodate everything and inevitably it’s the things or time for yourself that get impacted. Sometimes you need to say ‘no’. You’ll not be productive either for yourself or for others.
“It’s not that we have little time, but more that we waste a good deal of it” – Seneca
We all know that we need to cut out distractions – social media, web browsing, etc – and focus on the task in hand. But that’s sometimes easier said than done, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

You could try to allocate a couple of times each day to respond to emails and messages so they don’t interrupt your working time. Use an auto reply to let people know not to expect a response immediately. That way you’re also setting boundaries and managing others’ expectations. If you respond in your allocated time, it’s done and you can move on.

Engaging with a coach is a great way of helping you sort through your distractions. By talking constructively about your time and what you need to achieve in the day can help you focus on priorities and free up your mind.

Working out how to allocate your time can be a challenge. We can’t change the amount of time in the day. But we can learn how to manage our attention to get the most out of what we have available to us. The right structure, processes and routines can save time, freeing up more of it for yourself. So let’s have a chat to explore how you can manage your attention. I am here to help you work out where you could benefit from making some changes and also talk over some ways to rebalance your life and work. I look forward to hearing from you soon.