Have you ever found yourself thinking there aren’t enough hours in the day?
It’s no secret we have 10,000 things to do – and about 100 of them you have to get done today. Is this just a question of time management?
John took a break to check his e-mail. “Just for a second,” he thought.
He read, responded, and shazam! 2 hours later he was still in front of his computer. He had just edited a presentation, used his iPhone to comment on Vegas bachelor party photos, had a second cup of coffee, and responded to an urgent request from his boss.
Amanda instant-messages her co-workers to facilitate prompt communications. But it is hard to keep up with the expected instant response because her desk phone lights up, someone knocks on her door with a request for documents to be sent ASAP, and her cell phone rings from a number that caller ID indicates is from her son’s school.
How can we be so busy without accomplishing enough? Simple. We are pushing our brains to gather, track and synthesize information, ideas and plans more rapidly than ever before.
Psychiatrist Edward Hallowell reported in Harvard Business Review that he has seen a mushroom of executives having symptoms of what he calls “attention deficit trait (ADT),” which is a direct result of our fast-paced modern culture.
People with ADT have “a constant low level of panic and guilt” and in the face of being overwhelmed, they “become increasingly hurried, curt, peremptory, and unfocused, while pretending that everything is fine.”
This is why smart people, just like you, perform below their potential and have difficulty “managing” time. We lack control over the demands of our pressure- and technology-filled lives.
But luckily this is something we can change. With focused action, you can decrease the overwhelmed feeling, increase your productivity, and decrease stress.
Follow the following 6 tips to increase not only your performance, but satisfaction, at work:
1. Every morning write down 3 things you want to accomplish today. Keep looking at the list throughout your day.
If you really want to be productive, break your day down into 30-minute segments and plot what you will do in each of these time slots. Sticking to the plan will result in a highly focused and productive day – even if you get off track a little.
2. At the beginning of each month write down 3 goals you want to accomplish that month. Connect these goals to days on the calendar.
Do you know what you want to accomplish this month?
3. Want to have a great year? Do this for a full year so you plan what you will accomplish over the next 12 months.
Of course you can adjust them along the way, but putting a stake in the ground creates a strong foundation for progress. What are the 3 things you want to accomplish this year?
4. During the day when people ask you to do something that is not associated with your goals, tell them, “Let me get back to you,” giving yourself pause to prioritize your goals.
If it is not a good fit, you can simply say, “I don’t have time to do the project service.” If it is your boss that made the request, show her your list and ask her to reprioritize since you can’t get it all done at the same time.
Yup, that’s right: You can say “no” even to your boss!
5. Take care of your brain and mental health by getting adequate sleep; avoiding processed, sugary carbohydrates; and exercising at least 30 minutes every other day. Sleep and a good diet not only help you think more clearly leading to better decisions, but it can also help keep your thoughts positive, which boosts your chances of being effective.
6. If you find yourself stuck or overwhelmed, reset your mind. Do a mundane task like winding your watch, reorganize books on your shelf, or do a sudoku puzzle.
Next, move. Stand up, climb stairs or walk down a hallway in search of a brainstorming partner or a free hand to delegate to.
It’s time to take back control!
What strategies do you use to stay focused and manage your day? What do you need to work on the most? Let me know below in the comment section.