As we roll - or barrel - into the end of the year, it can often feel like we have too much on our plates. And I’m not just talking about the three reindeer cookies, two peppermint brownies, and five candy canes you had for dinner last night. The end of the year is often busy at home and work. The increase in chaos leads to a decrease in productivity. If you’re struggling to keep up, here are three tips for managing your time.
Take an inventory. How much time do you spend answering emails? If your answer is “All day.”, I’m willing to bet that’s inaccurate. How much time do you spend in meetings? If you responded, “Way too much time.”, I believe you, but that’s still imprecise. One of the best ways to improve your time management, is to take an inventory of how you currently spend your time. Write down everything you do over the course of one work week. After the week, analyze the results and use the data to inform your time management decisions. For example, if you discover you’re spending three hours answering email inquiries that could be answered on your website, it might be time to prioritize a web page redesign.
Get a handle on your notifications. According to a study released by Deloitte, Americans ages 25-34 check their phone approximately 50 times each day. We have subconsciously trained ourselves to pick up our phones when we are bored, curious, sad, happy... pretty much all the time. One way to manage phone distractions is to get a handle on your push notifications. While this may seem like an obvious change, a large percentage of users opt-in to push notifications. If you don’t have self control, leaving your fate up to push notifications is dangerous. If you grab your phone every time you receive a notification, it might be time to adjust your settings.
Reserve time for emails. Unless you work in a role that requires an immediate response to every email, it can be incredibly beneficial to reserve a block of time for email correspondence. Devote an hour to solely managing your emails. And stick to it! Don’t respond outside of this designated time. Professionals often fall into the habit of responding to every email as it comes in. This practice takes time away from more urgent and important matters and breaks up your workflow. The email isn’t going to self-destruct after 30 minutes. And if it does, problem solved.
So yes, it’s a busy time. Yes, it’s chaotic. Make these three changes and you may actually have time to roast some chestnuts on an open fire.