Too often we are faced with an increasingly long list of things to do and less time than ever to get it done. Balancing various work projects with personal life and free time can be especially challenging. Taking advantage of strategies to help juggle these responsibilities can free up time to relax or create extra time to spend on important work. These five concepts can help improve your time management and ensure you get everything done in the week
Visualize Your Week
Trying to organize a week full of responsibilities solely in our heads or on easily-misplaced sticky notes is not a very effective way to keep things in order. Often, important responsibilities get forgotten this way, and besides, it is very taxing to try and keep everything in order through this method. Visual representations of the workweek make it easier to see when time is free and where responsibilities come into play. Being able to see where your time is allocated also helps put your week into context, letting you know if there is time to take on added duties or if there is simply too much on your plate. Setting up calendars, filling out a planner, and checking what hours you are working on an online scheduling service are great techniques to help visualize your workweek.
Focus On Communication
In all aspects of planning, from discussing your work schedule with your employer to planning a night out with your friends, communication is essential. Giving and receiving clear details about events helps with planning. If your boss tells you there will be a meeting in the “afternoon” the lack of specific detail forces you to block out a whole chunk of the day because you don’t know what time in the afternoon the meeting will start. Asking for more specific times can reduce the amount of time allotted to uncertainty. More precise communication can also cut down on time going back-and-forth trying to explain things. Sending a confusing email just means spending more time later trying to explain in a second email what was unclear in the first one.
Sometimes we take on too much burden to shoulder all by ourselves. When that happens, there is no shame in asking for help! Often, large solo tasks that normally could take hours can see drastic reductions in the time needed when assisted by another person. Knowing when and how to delegate responsibilities to coworkers or other people is important, you can’t be afraid to ask others to pick up the slack if you feel like you are overextending yourself. More often than not, other people want to see you succeed and will be willing to lend a helping hand. In many cases, working as a team or with the help of someone else is mutually beneficial, allowing everyone to save time by working together.
Prioritize Your Responsibilities
One of the hardest things to do is, to be honest with yourself when taking on responsibilities. We often say yes to extra work when we know deep down the burden is becoming too much. Knowing when to say “no” is vital to prioritize your responsibilities an important part of creating a manageable workload. We all have work we aren’t allowed to refuse, prioritize this work first, then be selective with what additional responsibilities you take on. Everyone wants to be a go-getter, but trying to do too many things at once often leads to certain tasks not getting the attention they deserve or being lost altogether in the shuffle. Separating responsibilities based on their importance will help determine where time is best spent and make it easier to know which things need to get done first.
Schedule Free Time
When planning out our week we often leave out one of the most important aspects of a healthy work-life balance: free time. Leaving time to relax and recharge can be daunting in the face of increasing responsibility, but it is vital to reducing stress and maintaining a high level of productivity. Being too tired or too drained mentally to properly focus on tasks or complete them efficiently creates a vicious cycle: it takes longer to complete things, leaving you less free time, making you even more tired the next day. Cutting out a little extra time to recharge can help save time elsewhere by increasing your productivity. Additionally, it can help reduce stress and improve your mental health, making it easier to stay happy while you tackle a tough schedule.