By Bob Sadowski, APR, Public Relations & Social Media Manager, ACCO Brands
These days, time is probably our most valuable asset. It’s usually in short supply and, even when we do get a little bit of extra time, it’s quickly absorbed by monumental to-do lists. In order to lead a productive life and reach your short- and long-term goals, time must be managed properly—this definitely includes those rare moments of free time.
Since this time is hard to come by during the course of any normal day, you need to make time to make time. Whenever you can, work pockets or chunks of free time into your daily schedule. This is the most important step to take to ensure you have the proper time needed for particular tasks on which you want to work. You can do this by:
- Grouping similar or related tasks together. For example, take all to-do items involving communications, such as e-mail, follow-up phone calls and the like, and address them in a single defined time during your day. You can also do this for meetings and other routine tasks.
- Designating a daily time slot where you can work on your task list without interruption. That means not looking at e-mails, texting or becoming side-tracked by other small distractions. This is your “Do Not Disturb” time.
- Maintaining a reasonable schedule. It’s all too common to overbook ourselves and try to keep a schedule that only a super-human could manage. Make rational decisions and move items that aren’t urgent in nature to a later time. Also, always make sure to work in flex time for meetings that run long and, of course, for you.
- Taking advantage of unplanned down time. Whether it’s waiting in line at the store or being stuck in a traffic jam, don’t look at these events as distractions. Rather, look at them as opportunities to knock off small tasks off your lists.
Significant moments of free time will not always present themselves—you need to create them. This is essential if you want to succeed in managing your time and being productive in your daily tasks. There’s always going to be pressure to use your time for everyone but yourself. This is one time where selfishness pays off, no matter what your mom tells you!
[photo by mag3737]