In today’s fast-paced world, time is an invaluable asset. In order to effectively achieve the work life balance that everyone craves and strives for, we have to first learn to master the art of time management. How often do we hear that there aren’t enough hours in a day? I know I have been guilty of saying this many times. But realistically, there are plenty of hours, we just have to learn how to prioritize our tasks and hold ourselves accountable to our priorities as best as we can!
Ironically enough for me, I first learned indirectly about time management over 25 years ago, when my English professor told my class that we would be required to start a journal and write in it every day. It sounded ridiculous to me at that time, and I didn’t see the relevance since she said she wouldn’t be grading it. Then what was the point? But what I didn’t realize at that time was that this simple exercise was practice for starting my day by putting my thoughts, ideas, and plans on paper. It was the basic foundation of time management; it was the practice of journaling! Fast forward, it has been my secret tool to navigating through a 25+ year career, many travels, marriage, divorce, relationships, finances, health journeys, and parenting. It has been the root of maintaining my sanity through it all. How? By writing it all down! On top of that, I must admit, my notebook-buying addiction may have also contributed, and that definitely helped tie it all together. Every time I purchase a new notebook, I feel like it’s a new chance to clear my mind and lay out my life plans. It has been life changing for me!
I am reminded daily that time management is not about overwhelming your day with tasks or a long to do list. It’s more about taking your thoughts and putting them on paper. By doing that, you are allocating time wisely based on your priorities each day. Sometimes it’s just about giving yourself that time to think 1st thing in the morning or at the end of your day. Taking that time, and writing out your thoughts, helps in setting priorities, breaking down tasks, and creating a schedule that balances work and life but it’s also your own personal therapy session! Writing it all down is crucial because, let’s face it, if it’s not on paper it doesn’t count!
This is a topic I have always been very passionate about discussing because it’s always a work in progress. The truth is, I don’t think anyone truly masters it, but the quest ensures we are always on the right path!
So here is my summary of my Time Management Tips:
1. Prioritize Tasks: Focus on high-priority items to maximize productivity and reward yourself for completing tasks promptly.
2. Set Realistic Goals: Break down achievable goals into manageable tasks, taking one step at a time to prevent overwhelm. These goals can be professional, personal, fitness, etc., whatever you are thinking about and striving toward at that time.
3. Create a Schedule: Establish a reliable daily or weekly schedule to build consistency, which in turn builds positive habits.
4. Learn to Say No: Understand your limits and avoid overcommitting. Saying no to non-essential tasks is liberating and helps combat distractions. It’s ok to say no and write it down. It’s a great way to reflect on whether you have managed to stay on track or not.
If all else fails, buy a great book & pen just to see how much more fun it can be!
– Andrea Sielken, National Managing Director, Technology & Cybersecurity