This year has helped us refocus on so many thins. And for those of us with multiple responsibilities (i.e., work, home school, co-parenting, etc.), we have really been thrown into the fire. Restructuring our lives to help manage all of these areas has been the key to survival, and one of the main ways to be successful is good time management.
Managing your time might already be a challenge on an average day, but during your professional busy season, wow. A busy season can happen at any time of year. Some of us find ourselves swamped at the end of the calendar year or the end of the fiscal year (which might be different). Others of us find ourselves under time constraints during certain seasons – slow in the summer but busy in the fall.
Regardless of when the busy season comes, do you feel prepared to handle it? Or are you overwhelmed and scrambling? If you’re like me, it is possible that you already use tools such as a planner, calendar, and alarms and are organized with clear goals set. So let’s now focus on the 5 tools you might not be using.
- Identify when you work best. Are you a morning or an afternoon person? Or just an “after I have my coffee” person? Choose the tasks that will take the most brainpower for the time when you have the most energy. You’ll find that the level of your productivity will increase when you pick the right time to work.
- Get an accountability partner. This could be your coworker, spouse, or best friend. It’s the person who knows your schedule the best, might also be the best person to remind you when you are in too deep. Oftentimes we can get laser-focused on a project that we are working on, and forget to do simple things like eat. So an accountability partner will naturally make sure that you will stop, take a breath, eat a snack, etc. An alternative method could also be achieved with an Apple Watch.
- Delegate the smaller items. It might be a challenge, but try to move the smaller things off your plate. Make a list of tasks that doesn’t have to be completed by you or by a deadline, and see if someone else can support you in accomplishing them.
- Learn to say no. You are smart. You are kind. And you are important, but learn to create boundaries and say no. Even though you are in high demand, stop double and triple booking yourself. You still can’t be in two places at once. So reschedule that meeting, delegate that other task, or just say no. Spreading yourself too thin will only limit the quality of your work.
- Find inspiration to keep you going. Have a shortlist of your favorite quotes, songs, podcasts, or TedTalks that can get you back into the groove of things. We all have moments when motivation is lacking. But you can definitely help push things along if you have some good music or encouraging words nearby.
Adjusting how you manage your time doesn’t have to be a chore. Use the tools you have, plus a few new ones, and lighten your load. Your schedule doesn’t have to stress you out. Busy season or not, getting a handle on time management is the key to your professional success.
Author: Erika D. Jones
Erika is a community development officer for Frost Bank. She is passionate about community engagement, outreach and making a difference in the lives of Houstonians. In her position, she plans and implements outreach strategies and opportunities geared toward low-to-moderate income individuals and families. Erika partners with numerous community organizations to host financial literacy education and small business seminars. in her free time, she enjoys reading and retail therapy. Erika is married and is the proud mother of three children.