Ever wondered when or even if time will ever be on your side? Instead of stressing over it, try taking a more mindful approach at managing your time at work.
According to a survey, the average American employee wastes 2.09 hours per workday (not including lunch). This amount of wasted time scares employers and employees alike. In fact, the number of time management books, training programs, and devices seem to increase with each passing year. So, when it comes to conquering time, what’s the solution?
Our sometimes unreasonable expectations may be the answer. There’s a fine line between pushing yourself for success and extending beyond your breaking point. As with everything in life, time management requires balance. This means working hard to accomplish your goals while still being realistic about when and how you can accomplish these things.
For a mindful approach to time management, start with these suggestions:
- Study your habits. Time management requires personal reflection. Spend a few days or a week logging exactly how you spend every hour of your workday. Notice patterns (like your tendency to “zone out” after lunch). See what needs to be changed in your schedule.
- Make lists. Create a full, detailed list of all your work-related responsibilities from special projects to returning emails. With three highlighters and your daily log, mark which of your tasks you’re successfully, occasionally, and not completing.
- Start the day right. Every morning when you wake up, schedule your day with the help of your log and list. Try assigning start and stop times for each task. Be honest with yourself; when scheduling tasks make sure to give yourself enough time to complete them successfully. Don’t forget to schedule time for interruptions and breaks, too.
- Review. After work take a few minutes to reflect on your accomplishments. Did you complete what was needed? Did you underestimate or overestimate the time needed for a task? Use this information to help with future planning.
- No one and no day is perfect. Routines aren’t set in stone. You may get an unexpected assignment at the last minute. Or a document that took you one hour to complete one day may take you two hours the next. It’s alright. Give yourself the permission to be happy with the amount of work you accomplish any given day.