At the end of last year, I did a podcast interview about time management for young professionals and it aired this week. Listening to myself talk about effectively managing my time was actually a refresher for some areas in which I've been slipping lately. 2019 me got 2020 me together! And, because I love y'all, I thought I'd share the link to listen (check it out here) and some of the gems that you can apply to managing your own time. I'm not a master by any means but I have learned what works for my routine and how to best prioritize for the balance I'm seeking. For me, time management is the difference between doing it all and doing all the things that matter.
[click_to_tweet tweet="Where you invest your time is actually where you place value. Regardless of what you say or think, if you are spending all your time at work, work is what is most important to you." quote="Where you invest your time is actually where you place value. Regardless of what you say or think, if you are spending all your time at work, work is what is most important to you."]If that doesn't sound right, make some adjustments. Time management is what has allowed me to balance my professional life and my personal life, which means doing both the things I need to do and the things I want to do.
My Time Management Tips
Define your priorities. The first step in effective time management is to define your priorities. Your schedule should naturally flow from these priorities. In reality, many of us fill up our schedules with lots of things that we feel like we have to do then try to squeeze in the things we want to prioritize. But if you truly prioritize something...it needs to be scheduled first and foremost. Then let everything else fill in around it. For example, if you say it is important for you to get in shape, schedule your workouts and time to make healthy meals first. That doesn't mean devoting all your time to fitness but rather making the time for it because you say it matters to you.
Own your calendar. Time blocking is a major time management key for me, especially because I work in an organization where my calendar is visible to colleagues. I have found it so helpful to get into the practice of blocking off chunks of time throughout the week that are dedicated to getting my individual work tasks and projects done. If I don't, I can't really get mad when my calendar gets filled up with meetings and trainings, can I? Even in my personal iPhone calendar, I set up alerts and calendar items for everything from phone calls I need to make to virtual workout classes.
Use the right tools. If you are really into basketball, you probably don't need any reminders to tune in to the playoffs...or in our current environment, The Last Dance. But what about the things you know are important but struggle to do? Empower yourself with apps, podcasts, and other tech tools that will make it easier. Typically, easy = less time. Think about the tasks that you put off or that seem to take forever then figure out why. Whether it's staying on top of your finances or keep your home organized, there's probably an app for that! If you have the resources, this could mean outsourcing some things to a professional. Either way, you will then have more time and energy to devote to your priorities.
Stop Multitasking. In college, I thought I was doing the damn thing with time management because I was doing a lot and staying afloat by multi-tasking. I was active in my sorority, dancing and choreographing, held leadership roles in multiple orgs, had two majors, and two jobs almost the whole time. The thing about multi-tasking, though, is that it's a not a productive way to get anything done.
We can only truly devote focus to one thing at a time. So when we try to do two or three, they all suffer. Nothing is at it's best. This might be tough to swallow in our multi-hyphenate generation but it is true. To really make the most of my time, I divide it up between different tasks and focus on each one in its own time. This minimizes mistakes and makes for better end results in everything I do. Put your phone on DND and block out whatever distractions you can in order to give each thing its own focus. Because wasted effort is not effective time management.
[click_to_tweet tweet="As the saying goes, we have the same 24 hours in a day as Beyoncé. What we don't have are her resources. I leverage time management to get everything I can out of those 24 hours." quote="As the saying goes, we have the same 24 hours in a day as Beyoncé. What we don't have are her resources. I leverage time management to get everything I can out of those 24 hours."] So look at time management as trying to get more like Beyoncé, sis. And share this post with whoever you think it may help. Thanks for reading!
P.S. More career gems: