Time management exercises can help you learn to control your day and get more out of your most productive times. You can learn to pinpoint the things that wear you out and derail you, and figure out what motivates you and keeps you going.
The main thing to remember when starting to analyze your wasted time is how much of it is due to other people and how much is due to sheer disorganization - and how much is due to procrastination. Most people have a problem in all three areas.
Do you say ‘YES’ to any request from a coworker or team member - or anyone else for that matter - the PTA, the basketball coach, the church, your friends?
If you commit to too much, you won’t be productive - you’ll just be a chicken running around without a head, trying to keep up and failing miserably.
Exercise your right to say “NO!” instead!
You can’t be everything and do everything and fix everything for everyone. There has to be a line you draw in the sand when you reach maximum capacity where you say “I’m sorry I’m already fully committed and simply can’t take on any more right now.”
Do you waste precious minutes searching for misplaced things, trying to find notes for a meeting, redoing work because you got off track, or shuffling through mail and papers for an important document?
Being disorganized can keep you from productivity as well, and frustrate you at the same time. Exercise control over your workspace! Have a place for everything, and take a two minute break at the top of every hour to make sure anything that needs to be filed away is put where it belongs. You’ll save way more than 2 minutes per hour, I guarantee it!
Do you get lost on online forums, chatting via IM, or playing senseless online games?
With the internet everywhere, it’s easy to yield to temptation and play just one more farming game, check in with a friend, drop in on your favorite social network, or spend way too much time surfing funny blogs or interesting websites.
Exercise will-power and reward yourself with online fun time AFTER your work is done.
You’ll be amazed at how much faster you get through your workload when you devote yourself to work instead of play. Get a quick fix at lunch, and you can relax at the end of the day knowing you got everything important done - and your downtime will be much more enjoyable.
Finally, keep a log for a week of every single thing you do. Wear a watch that will beep every hour or two, and take five to list your actions.
You’ll be amazed at how much you learn about yourself and where your time goes! Once you’ve identified areas of ‘time suck’, you can work on improving. Taking it a day at a time and isolating those times when you are most productive can help you maintain that level of effort for more of your day. These time management exercises can help!