French sculptor Auguste Rodin once said, “Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.” That may be, but the reality of the world is that your time is your most precious resource and it must be used efficiently. After a year + of remote working, virtual schooling and well managing all the things, it can seem like everyone else has it down. They have made small changes and now they are trucking along. Wrong! To help you break free of striving to master time management practices that don’t deliver what they might promise, here’s a list. Kick those myths to the curb!
Myth #1: There’s a finish line where everything is done, once and for all. Ditch the idea that you will ever be done! Time is not unlimited so there will always be something to do. So stop trying to finish it all and set and reach for end-goals. So, make deliberate choices that move the needle toward accomplishing your goals. Productivity should not be measured by what’s left undone, but rather the focus is better spent on the quality of tasks accomplished, rather than the number of tasks completed.
Myth #2: Making a to-do list will make you more productive. Stop making to-do lists, they in fact will not make your more productive! Why? Because I am pretty sure that once you make it, you either A) lose it; B) never finish it; or C) make a new one and fail to move uncompleted tasks to the new one. Instead, brain dump and then transfer those tasks to your calendar!
To-do lists in and of themselves do nothing to further a project or task. They are just what you would like to do or intend to do. Until you have taken you tasks off a list and put them into your calendar, they are just hopes and dreams.
Myth #3: Don’t be distracted by emails, calls or sudden deadlines. Emails, phone calls, Zoom meetings, notifications: These are indisputable parts of today’s working world. Even calling them “distractions” minimizes the importance of this kind of collaborative work. They are for all intents and purposes obligations! I get that we need to be able to communicate with others and especially in w work setting, but when that becomes your prime tasks, you are losing precious time! You can be responsive and available without letting these things inundate you. Schedule time to respond to emails. Leave open time for meetings. Managing the flow of communication is an essential tool for your time management toolbox.
Myth #4: A perfect time management system exists. There is no single magic system or cure to manage your time more effectively. So many factors play into what and how you need to manage your time from your company’s rules to what time of day you are most productive. Your best bet is to make small changes and see if they work. Trying to make huge sweeping changes all at once can overwhelm you and will fail. Begin with short-term goals: practice adding executing or planning time into your calendar, set aside one day a week to return calls or non-pressing emails, or even book a free hour for sudden meetings into every afternoon. Over the course of a couple of weeks or a month, you can evaluate which changes and tools for best for you. Then, adjust accordingly.
Myth #5: Undivided focus is king. One of the most cited time management tips is that productivity comes from hours and hours of completely focused, uninterrupted time. Well, who has that?!? Reality? Creativity and productivity respond best to routine. Break up large projects or tasks into manageable pieces and complete those tasks on schedule. Always plan some extra time beyond what you think you’ll need. Find a work rhythm that fits your lifestyle and then be consistent about achieving daily goals.
You will find, see and read about tons of methods and best practices around time management, but the truth is, you have to find what works for you and follow through. how to manage time effectively.