How to Break Your Hurried Pace and Manage Your Time
It has been a busy day as usual. The phone has rung at least a dozen times, you've attended four meetings, spent nearly an hour replying to emails, dealt with five enquiries from colleagues who unexpectedly arrived in your office, and there have been two major crises to sort out. You've been busy but you don't really feel as though you've accomplished anything. Before you realize that, it is time to go back home. Unfortunately, the chaos goes on at home as well.
You always appear to be in a hurry. There seems to be too much to do, and not enough time. Do you feel like you're chasing after something, but you never really catch up? Don't you think it's about time to work out just why you're always in such a hurry and do something to improve it?
1. Study your current use of time. That sounds so simple, but actually, most people find it hard to practice. We can get involved in our daily life without taking account of where our time goes. Try maintaining a time log. You'll be able to distinguish people you do not need to talk to on the phone, number of papers mislaid, and meetings lasting longer than expected.
2. Check the time-wasters. When finishing a time log a lot of people are shocked at the amount of time that has been wasted during the day. What is a waste of time is always a matter of opinion. You decide for yourself when you pick out priorities. And yet, people often keep on spending time on an activity they have decided is a time-waster, usually because it is a habit or something that provides instant gratification. For example, excessive television, games, pointless online surfing. If you find an activity that is wasting your time, you could try to schedule a smaller amount of it rather than totally eliminating it.
3. Accept the fact that you do not have time for everything. Do you have a hard time saying "No"? Make conscious choices and priorities about what you're going to do. Don't feel obliged or guilty about the other things. People always have desires and needs that don't coincide with your own. You would do well to learn when to take time for others and when it is better to say no. You must decide whether or not the person will receive your time by analyzing your values and priorities. There are times you would like to be sensitive to others' needs and go the extra mile. But when you consider the situation and decide you must say no, do not hesitate to do so.
4. Finish the important things first. Do you spend additional time getting things 100% right when 95% would do? Do you pay too much attention to details so that something else more important cannot be done? It takes too much time and effort to try to be perfect. It also creates too much stress and most important, it is impossible. Doing your best is good enough. Aim to a high standard, not to an impossible obsession.
5. Assign Tasks. If you can afford the cost of hiring someone to do an unpleasant or time consuming task, you should. Less enjoyable responsibilities like laundry, house cleaning or house repairs are not only time-consuming but also can make you run out of energy. Why should you do all the work yourself? Share those household tasks with your family. Besides getting rid of stress yourself, there will be more time for you and your family, and your kids can also learn what responsibility is. Make sure to write a list of tasks and the member responsible for each.
6. Set time limits. If you have to work late, or during the weekend, you must set time limits for yourself. After two or four hours of work, stop at the end of that time and enjoy the rest of the night or weekend.
7. Make things easy to find. Spending time to look for items is not only wasteful but also frustrating as well. It also has a side effect of delaying daily appointments, which will make you pressed for time. Try to put things in the same place so you don't have to think about where they are. Life is too short to waste time looking for things!
8. Schedule fun time. Although you are highly motivated to succeed, do not forget to leave a little time for pure relaxation. Enjoy everything you want and like during this "fun time". A hard-working person may find it exciting to think of an activity as fun time. You can spend time with your kids and take that as your fun time. You can also take your daily walk as fun time that nobody can interfere with and no phone calls or interruptions.
In a word, when you are striving to attain and maintain your balance and working toward your goals, your pace should be relaxed and confident, not rushed and worried. When you put your big top priorities first, take one thing at a time, and do your best. The more important things get done while the less important ones will simply have to wait. If you have many priorities which are all important, you just have to decide which the top one is, and finish it first.