Time Management Tips - How to Prioritize not Panic
by Paula Eder
Time management tips are rooted in the power of prioritizing. Without prioritizing, it's easy to fall prey to the Musical Chairs Syndrome. Have you been afflicted with the following symptoms?
Symptom Number One: As soon as your day heats up, your priorities are dislodged from their assigned order. Each task has to scramble for a new place. Before long, you are working off of urgency, not overview or efficiency.
Symptom Number Two: You feel out of control. You ask people to bail you out, or you feel people let you down, because you're caught once again with too much to do in too little time.
Symptom Number Three: You lose credibility. People mistrust your plans and your boundaries, because you're constantly revising your priorities, wasting their time and yours.
The good news is, you can overcome this malady! Try practicing and perfecting these three tips:
Tip Number One: Make a list of all the tasks you need to accomplish.
* Sort these into 2 lists: ongoing tasks and one-time events
* Circle time-limited items in each category. (Those that must be accomplished by a certain date and/or time.)
Tip Number Two: Categorize systematically. Develop a system of prioritizing that remains relevant, even when the pressure mounts.
* Determine which ongoing tasks are most important, and, if needed, how much cooperation is required.
For example, you must file a budget report by the third Tuesday of each month. Since it's involves finance, it is probably a high priority. If you simply need to integrate daily records, this job is a relatively short and straightforward. Therefore, you can schedule it around more complex tasks.
However, if you can't proceed without financial data from seven colleagues, and you are unable to collect all the information until the day before you need to hand in the report, this task becomes a time-limited, top priority!
Whenever you are dependent on other people for information or material, your task's level of difficulty increases. This is because you may have to take additional steps to get the data you need. And certainly you need to build in time to integrate the information and create a cohesive report.
So, when prioritizing, look for dependencies. Any task that depends on others' cooperation rises in priority.
* Next, examine your short-term or one-time events. What tasks on this list carry the greatest consequences for yourself or others? Mark these as highest priority.
If, say, your child must be outfitted in a costume by week after next, you have a high priority on your hands! If you do not get this done, your child will be the only one in the play without a costume.
Tip Number Three: Reintegrate. After you have set priorities for each task using this system, combine both lists and create your calendar. Now you are ready to communicate your priorities and start accomplishing them!
The more care you take in setting clear priorities, the easier it becomes to mobilize yourself. How can you develop the action steps you need to experience success at prioritizing and finding time?
Paula Eder may be contacted at http://www.findingtime.net/ezine.html
Paula Eder, Ph.D., The Time Finder, has guided individuals and organizations to effectively align values with their time choices for 35+ years. For free weekly time tips & an award-winning monthly Ezine, visit http://www.findingtime.net/ezine.html And for even more time thoughts and techniques, visit our blog at http://www.thetimefinder.com