As we talked about last week, far too many people are wondering what happened to their days. Where did it go? How do they get back more time, etc. There are some great ways to start recognizing what is the problem with time management.
We all only have a finite amount of time. We each are given the same 24 hours each day. How is it that some people can accomplish so much more? And some people are running around their their heads cut off and never get anything accomplished? So how do some people have such good time management skills?
This mostly has to do with knowing and setting priorities and then standards, expectations, and boundaries for those priorities. But there is a little bit of work that needs to happen before we get to that part. Here are the next steps toward understanding where your time goes and how to start regaining productivity in your life.
First, we need to understand if we are allotting enough time to our activities. Perhaps we think something will take us 30 minutes, but in actuality it takes us 45. Equally as important we need to understand why things take us so long. Does the task require more of our time and attention? Or does are we getting interrupted or are dealing with a lot of distractions?
Generally, speaking we all like to believe that we can be good multitaskers… That we can answer email while on the phone, listening to a game while we write a report, etc. This, however, could not be farther from the truth. We can not give both tasks our full or even half of our attention. When we try and go back and forth between two things, or worse do two things at once, we are actually only giving 40% of our capacity to either task. We lose so much focus in trying to switch back and forth.
So before you go trying to change all of your habits and the way you do things, they first is to simply observe and record how your day typically goes.
For at least one week, but 2 is better, carry around the following template and each 30 minute section write down what you did. Try to make note of what your distractions where and roughly how much time they took up within each block. If you really want to dig in, feel free to just carry one day at a time so you can be detailed in your experiences.
Print out a full copy here. Schedule_5_Day_Landscape_24_Hours
Ideally, before you do this exercise you will be estimating how much time each task should take you. Then you can see if part of your problem is poor time estimation. Additionally, by going through this process you will see what your biggest distractions are and can start planning on how to minimize or eliminate them. Next time we will talk about how to recognize these distractions and how to eliminate or minimize them so you can get the most of your time and make it productive, too!