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Simplifying Soft Skills Series: Time Management

Effective time management is crucial to both personal and professional success. See tips for managing your time from Accel5®

After taking a look at your week’s to-dos and meeting invites, you start to worry you won’t have time to complete your usual tasks. What do you do?

Start Your Day with To-Do Lists

Everyone should start their day with a “to-do” list. This is an absolute must for managing time like a pro. Time Management by Brian Tracy outlines a method for effectively prioritizing these “to-dos.” This method, called the ABCDE method, is a very effective technique for prioritizing and eliminating items on your list. Once created, tasks are assigned a letter based on their level of importance.

  • “A” tasks are tasks that must be done first.
  • “B” tasks should be done, but not before “A” tasks.
  • “C” tasks are “nice to do,” but have no consequences on work performance.
  • “D” tasks are those that can (and should) be delegated to others.
  • “E” tasks are those that should not be done at all because they have no value to overall goals.
  • Assign any new task that comes along during the day to one of the letters, and then manage them accordingly.

Master the Art of Time Blocking

You’ve prioritized today’s to-dos but need to find time to put them into action. This is where time blocking comes into play. With time blocking, you focus on a singular task at hand for a predetermined timeframe until it’s finished. Blocking this time helps prioritize your specific goals and lets others know that you are busy. Time blocking can be achieved by the following steps:

  1. Open your email.
  2. Create a meeting invite.
  3. Set the attendees as yourself.
  4. Label the meeting as the task you need to complete.

Take Time to Reflect

Similar to time blocking, we should all take time for reflection. More often than not, we find ourselves in meetings to appease the needs of others, but do we make time for our own goals and priorities? John Baldoni explains that with little time to self-reflect, we must schedule “Think Time” to succeed in any role.

So, take a moment to reflect on your day, your “to-dos” and digest information to consider your perspectives. Go grab a cup of coffee, honor your lunch break or just take 15 minutes to sit outside.

Make the Most of Your Workday

We should all aim to make the most out of any given day. Mary A. Camuto’s Make the Most of Your Workday provides these tips for being more productive and happier in your day-to-day work life. Steps to help achieve this goal include:

  • Think positively. Work on transforming your typical negative reactions to stresses and problems by changing your mindset and turning issues into challenges.
  • Stay calm. You can easily waste precious time and energy when angry. By staying calm, you’ll have a clear head for making the right decisions.
  • Accept that you can’t do everything, and traditional methods of time management aren’t always effective. Focus on the priorities that need your immediate attention and evaluate your priorities often.
  • Realize you have the power. Conduct self-assessments to get a sense of what you really want and then determine how you can get it.
  • Be self-aware. Understand your motivations, communication style, and priorities. Only then can you work on improving yourself and your behaviors.

For more tips on managing time, check out these resources from Accel5®.

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