Regardless of how much we’d all like to have extra hours in our day to get things done, we’re limited by what we have to work with. Instead of wishing for more time, there are ways to make the most of the hours available by practicing time management tips.
The majority of hard-working people want to practice good time management and they start out well with this, but they forget to figure in the one biggest thing that sabotages time.
Time Management for Interruptions
Interruptions are one of the biggest time thieves in your life. You may not have actually tallied how many minutes or hours have been stolen from your day by other people or situations barging into your day.
Here are some tips to help you eliminate or better deal with them:
1. Build time into every aspect of your day for those interruptions that we all experience.
You will never have a single day that’s not interrupted by something unexpected. This is usually what throws people off course. It can break your concentration, making it harder for you to get the flow back.
If you’re at work and someone pops in for “just a minute,” you’ll notice that it always turns into a lot longer. Before you know it, half an hour to an hour will have passed and you can’t get that time back.
You want to allocate time for these interruptions by looking at your day and figuring out how much time you have to give these. For example, when someone walks into your office, you can say, “I’m working on a project so I can only spare five minutes.”
At the end of five minutes, if the other person is still there, you say, “I’m sorry, but my time is up and I have to get back to this.” If you respect your time, others will, too.
2. Plan your day the night before.
This gives you a go-to launching place. You know what you have to start on first. It helps you to manage time if you have a map to follow – even if it’s simply a list of what you must accomplish that day.
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3. Plan your phone conversations.
This is a huge time waster. But if you plan your conversations before you make the call, this helps you stay in control of how long the conversation lasts. If someone calls you and you need to get off the phone, you just say that you have to go.
Most people don’t want to risk sounding rude, so they’ll remain on phone conversations that are taking up a lot of their time. If that sounds like you, there are several easy ways to end a phone conversation.
You can say that you’re in a time crunch and have to go or that you need to take care of something. Usually, that will cause the other person to say goodbye and end the call.
It’s okay to tell someone you can’t talk at the moment and will have to get back to them. The second you start being someone else’s sounding board for all of their problems, on an endless loop is when you get taken advantage of constantly.
4. Don’t let technology interruptions disrupt your time management.
When someone isn’t dropping by your office or home, they’re reaching out to you through technology like email or on social media. These can quickly take up hour after hour of your day because it’s easy to get sucked into playing a game while you’re handling something business or personal related online.
If being on social media is a must for you, let it be a scheduled interruption. For example, you just write it on your planner that at lunch, you’ve scheduled ten minutes to be on social media.
Stick to that time just as if it were an appointment. If you have to, use an alarm on your smartphone or set an egg timer so that you’re made aware of the end time of this distraction.
5. Separate the interruptions between what must be dealt with and what doesn’t have to be dealt with at that time.
You don’t have to make someone else’s urgency your priority and you’ll see this a lot when it comes to working things. Someone didn’t get what they needed or didn’t accomplish what they needed and all of a sudden, they want to drop it in your lap.
Or, they want you to stop everything you’re doing to help them get out of a jam. There’s something to be said for good teamwork, but if this is a recurring situation, it’s time to put the brakes on bailing others out.
Either you run the day or the day will run you!