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Do you feel that work and the time needed are out of your control? A survey of 500 office workers revealed they weren’t in control of their daily work. Interestingly, these people also said they didn’t have a formal time management system.
I understand that managing your time every single day can feel daunting. You might be worried about your plans getting ruined. I used to fear the idea that I’d lose time if I tried to control everything. However, my military experience taught me the value of managing time. It’s not scary, and doing it the right way can improve your life.
One of the most important things to remember is to build a routine. We lose interest in a task because we stop trying to do it every day. Did you always wash your hands before eating? Notice how repetition became an automatic response in your mind.
Regarding your schedule, routine is the best way to use your time. Set a daily reminder or alarm for when you are going to do something. For example, remind yourself to start focusing on logging into work by 8:00 every morning. The more you do this, the quicker your mind will shift to work mode.
You can also set time for short breaks, lunchtime, and time off. Your body clock will eventually synchronize with your schedule by placing a time for each task. You’ll feel hungry when it’s time to eat lunch, and you’ll be able to shut off when you finish the day.
One way to start with an effective routine is by time blocking. Section your day into different blocks. In each block, set what your focus will be. For example, 8 to 10 in the morning is dedicated to working. Meanwhile, 6 to 7 in the evening is dedicated to dinner.
Adding specific blocks allows you to develop a routine that your mind can reference. This way, you immediately train your mind to accomplish whatever task you set yourself to do.
The Eisenhower matrix is one of the most popular time management and task priority methods. This scheduling technique divides tasks into four areas: urgent, important, not urgent, and important. Through this system, you can assign which assignment needs the most focus and which one you can put off for future work. Let’s examine these aspects.
When a task is urgent, it is nearing its deadline or due date. Think of the days you should pay your bills or subscriptions. Urgency requires you to work as fast as you can. You can meet the deadline or even finish ahead of time with enough effort. However, keep in mind that not every urgent task is essential. For example, responding to a coworker’s message online is urgent because they are trying to reach you. However, the content might not be necessary. It could be a simple check-up or request that you can do later.
As the title suggests, important tasks relate to any crucial goals you have to attain. The reason why they carry priority is that they can make the difference between success and failure. For example, you have three months to complete a social media marketing campaign proposal. This plan may take a while to form, but it can help your company raise its presence to customers online. Important tasks can either be urgent or not. If they are urgent, make sure to prioritize them right away. How to manage your work schedule without falling apart depends greatly on how you prioritize each task. Without it, you’d be running around to different plans without a clear direction.
One principle that few consider for the Eisenhower matrix is the practicality of each task. Knowing how to do your job will make finishing any urgent and important goals easier. One suggestion is to focus on the most significant task first. By putting it ahead of everything else, you dedicate more time and energy per day to accomplishing it. It’s like an exercise routine; many bodybuilding gurus suggest carrying the heaviest weight first before going to lighter weights. This method allows the most exercise and pushes your body to the limit without hurting your muscles.
Another way of viewing your tasks is by following James Clear’s two-minute method. He adapted the routine from bestselling author David Allen, who famously said, “If it takes less than two minutes, then do it now.” In Clear’s version, he recommends breaking down tasks to their simplest form. For example, if you plan to exercise, focus on developing the habit of putting on your running shoes. The more often you do this, the more you can focus on starting a walk, jog, or run. In other words, Clear associates his goals with a two-minute task he can easily repeat and complete.
Learning how to manage your work schedule like a boss also means being proactive in making changes. Your time and tasks will change due to emergencies or upcoming obligations. Sometimes, this might require sacrificing lesser jobs or free time. To get around these changes, you must review your schedule and see where you can pencil in these updates. By revising your time accordingly, you’ll be able to get tasks done without damaging your routine. It also helps if you learn to cut out habits that don’t seem to be working.
For example, if you’re consistently unable to eat lunch at noon, consider moving it an hour or two hours ahead. The slight change will feel less stressful once you get used to the new time block.
One effective way to proactively review your schedule is through a time audit. You can use an Excel spreadsheet to encode the amount of time you spend on each task. With proper calculations, you’ll discover how much of your day is devoted to these goals. For example, this audit might reveal that you spend approximately 24% of your waking day on social media. That’s a lot of time you can devote elsewhere. Check out this guide by Ben Richardson of Development Academy to learn how to make a time audit.
In the military, soldiers are trained to devote their time and efforts to achieving a goal. The instructors instill the practice of “Think, plan, develop” for all schedules and tasks. In this practice, each person writes down what they will do every day for the week and plan out how to carry it out. Simple things like “exercise time” and “training” are broken into specific activities, like weight lifting and five-mile runs.
This method works best when you dedicate your total effort to each task. Many people fail at their given goal for the time because they hold back or lose focus. Some may think they should reserve their energy, while others try to accomplish two things simultaneously. The military treats it differently, reminding each soldier to give 100% at every step.
If you need a reminder to push yourself as best you can for the next goal, listen to the words of former Navy Seal Stew Smith. He advised those who handle a daily schedule to say this mantra before each task: “I am going to focus 100% on being the best, I can be this next event.” In his words, the right mindset and focus are the key to success. Once you pinpoint your objective, stick to it and go as hard as possible. It’s not only a good lesson on how to manage your work schedule; it’s also a good way to accomplish the plans you have.
Aside from multitasking, people can get easily distracted because they don’t say no. When friends invite them for drinks, they will gladly put down their paperwork and spend time relaxing. While we all deserve downtime, it’s not wise to neglect your work because you want to relax. Distractions like that can disrupt your schedule and cost you valuable time.
To avoid losing yourself to these distractions, learn to shut off and say no. If you’re constantly texting your friends or browsing social media at work, put the phone on silent mode and place it in the cabinet. If your friends keep inviting you for drinks and partying, shake your head and say no. You need to focus on your goals, which means knowing when to relax and focus. They’ll understand and maybe even help you if they are your true friends. Either way, discipline yourself by learning when to hold back. You can rest after you finish your tasks. Once you know how to manage your work schedule, that’s when you can cool off.
Lastly, you must accept downtime when it is necessary. No human being can function at 100% every single day. That’s why every schedule includes time for meals, sleep, and relaxation. Managing your schedule like a boss means knowing when to go hard and when to slow down. I recommend turning off your mind from all work-related tasks when your shift is over. You can do extra work at home, but don’t make it a habit to sleep with your paperwork. Remember, your bedroom is for resting your body and mind. Fit that into your schedule, and you’ll be better prepared.
Knowing how to manage your work schedule like a boss requires a proper management system. The best plan is to devote a section of your time to different tasks and goals. Putting up blocks for your schedule is an excellent way to divide your work.
It’s also essential to cut your priorities based on time, importance, and practicality. You can also audit your schedule to make necessary changes and focus on one task at a time. By giving yourself time to rest and avoiding distractions, you can create a routine that is easy to follow and accomplish.
Once your schedule becomes an easy habit to follow, you’ve genuinely managed to control your time like a boss.
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