Monday, January 3, 2011

Those darn Technical Errors!

This post is a continuation of yesterday's post on Time Management using the book "Time Management From the Inside Out" by Julie Morgenstern. We were talking yesterday about the three ways that you could have time management issues and we identified one of each type. I am going to continue today by giving you a few more examples from her book.

Technical Errors:

Error # 2: You've set aside the wrong time

We each have natural ways that we are productive. Some of us are morning people while others are "night owls." I myself feel very motivated in the morning hours and am really lethargic after lunch and I have another boost of energy in the late evening. If you know your specific cycles, you may be scheduling tasks that are difficult for those times of day. Schedule things that require a lot of energy and may not be enjoyable for times of the day when you are energetic and at your best. Also, consider not scheduling important tasks when you will be low on sleep, are sick, or even just have unique circumstances like house guests.

Error # 3: You've Miscalculated How Long Tasks Take

If you would really like to get your taxes done in the hour you have for lunch yet you do not have all of your documents together, you probably will not get that task completed at lunch and therefore, will feel badly about yourself. Being able to adequately prepare and give yourself time for the task at hand is so important to managing your time affectively. If there are tasks you do each week and they must be done, time yourself doing these tasks in their normal routine. A great example is grocery shopping. If you go to the regular grocery store, a department store like Target, and follow up with the farmers market...time yourself on the drive over, the drive from place to place and the time it takes to shop and add thirty minutes to that for any unforeseen circumstances. You will feel less rushed and not over committed when you are realistic about what you need to do and how long it will take.

Error # 5: The Task is overly Complex

You may have large tasks that take a long time and require a lot of work. The best way to manage your time on projects of this nature is to break them down into feasible steps that feel good each time you achieve them. The task I thought of immediately was cleaning out a garage. It is usually a pretty big task due to our nature of accumulating things and treating our garages as catch alls. If you break the task of cleaning your garage out into several steps like Organize tools, Hang up shelving, get out all trash, remove all donation items, and general cleaning like sweeping and shelving items your garage could be clean in a few simple steps and you won't continue to put it off.

Error # 6: You Can't Remember what you have to do

This one is super simple but using your tools is a great way to not procrastinate and get behind. Most people say that they "forget" to do something but never get a tool to help them remember like an electronic scheduler, a simple pad of paper with a to do list, or the many amazing planners that are out there. Although I have all of the new technology to be able to use my phone as a planner, I do not do very well at entering appointments and responsibilities into my phone so I use a basic pen/paper type of planner that has plenty of space to write daily tasks and a monthly calendar so that I can put in things like my exercise logs and more personal matters. The main thing is DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU!

Error # 7: Your Space is Disorganized

Some people are great at working no matter how their space looks but I am one of those people whose house has to be immaculate to be productive. I need a clean kitchen to create a great meal, a clean table to write a great blog, and a clean bedroom to relax in. Many people are not this way but finding out how you work best and keeping your space organized helps anyone because it keeps you from leaving your work to look for something you need to complete the job. A great example is getting your child ready for a field trip and realizing you have no idea where you placed the permission slip so you spend an hour looking for it the night before. That is time that could be much better spent for sure.

Error # 8: There is an absence of planning time

Taking time each day to look over your to do list and notice any possible obstacles or conflicts will save you a lot of hassle, time, and frustration. A great example is knowing that you have to get your oil changed during the afternoon as well as see the doctor for your checkup, pick up your child from school, and bake cupcakes for your child's school party. Being able to see that the next day is so booked and you will be tired when you get home might lead you to bake the cupcakes the night before and save the decorating for the next day. Being prepared and aware is very important when trying to use your time more effectively.

Error # 9: You have an unrealistic workload

This topic can fall under those Psychological obstacles as well because a lot of us who have "time management issues" also have a little issue called perfectionism. Realizing that you are limited to 24 hours a day like everyone else and realizing that approximately 8 of those you are sleeping, 3 of them you are eating, and some of them you should be resting is a great way to get perspective on what can honestly stay in your life. I was talking with a friend tonight who is very busy with many things including working full time, being a wife, being a mother to two smaller children, and working within her church on several projects. She was considering taking on a new task of coaching one of her child's sports teams but knew that it would be far fetched that she could handle this detail. I suggested she take 1-2 hours per month and take her daughter out to a girls day out instead of doing the coaching. Her daughter will probably feel more valued this way and she will get more one on one with her daughter and won't be overextended with coaching obligations. This is a good way to compromise on things that may be of importance to you.

Tomorrow I will tackle the External Realities with you....come on back!

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