“There’s just not enough time in the day!”
Deadlines, meetings, reports, customer service, projects – the list goes on and on. With these seemingly endless responsibilities, it’s not uncommon for us to feel or say out loud that there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. And the truth of the matter is, you’re right! Setting a to-do list for every task you are responsible for and expecting it to get done by the end of the day is setting yourself up for failure. So, what do you do then?
There are several proven and successful actions you can take to improve your time management skills. In this article, I’m going to introduce three to you that I have found to make a profound impact.
Change your mindset
You can make as many plans as you’d like but the mind is a powerful thing. If you truly believe you don’t have enough time in the day, you will constantly feel behind, rundown, or unmotivated to even attempt to complete your to-do list. Instead, change the narrative – there is enough time in the day to accomplish my most important priorities. We’ll look at establishing priorities in a moment but leading with positivity and reasonable expectations will set the pace for the rest of the day. Remind yourself that despite the unexpected interruptions and the curve balls we have thrown at us from time to time, you ultimately control your day. Each of us have the same number of hours in a day – how we choose to spend it is up to us. This brings me to skill number two.
We’ve all heard this term before but with so many tasks, how do you know what to focus on? Start by identifying three to five of the top roles you are responsible for in your position. This would be a great topic to discuss with your supervisor in your one-on-one. Take a moment to honestly evaluate how you are performing in each of these roles. Would you say you are “underperforming”, “ordinary”, or “extraordinary”? After completing that quick assessment, how do you feel about it? Based on yours, or the department’s goals, is there something you feel you should be putting more energy, attention, or focus into? The tasks and roles you choose to put your time and energy into should be making an impact and moving you and your team towards the established goals. When things are thrown at you or asked of you, decide the level of importance based on these goals, and then decide how it fits into your existing priorities.
After you decide what roles and tasks you want to invest time and energy into, you know, the ones that are going to make the most impact and result in the highest level of productivity, you need to implement steps make it happen. There are the two strategies that have made a difference for me. The first consists of planning and scheduling. The combination of these two not only allows you to set your sights on upcoming goals, but it blocks out time for you to focus on specific tasks.
The second strategy that I’ve found useful, as both a manger of people and an individual contributor, is delegation. Although delegation can have a bad rap at times, when done correctly, you are able to cross-train team members, establish trust, and make time for the things you prioritized to accomplish in your day.
Grow with Lewis by reviewing our open opportunities here and learn more about the skills that are essential to making the most of your day. In fact, a Franklin Covey class summed it up well: “Productivity isn’t about getting everything done. It’s about getting the right things done.”