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No Excuses! Here’s How to Improve Your Time Management Skills

Do what you can, where you can, with what you have - Teddy Roosevelt

How many times do you promise to get organised after juggling 3 or 4 different tasks at once? Some people often feel inadequate when it comes to keeping home and family organized. How about the simple idea of breaking down big tasks into bite-sized pieces? A simple idea that can reap big rewards. Improve your time management skills.

Discipline is key. It is too easy to get derailed by everyday distractions. The excuses pile up. Excuses like:

I keep getting interrupted.

Open plan offices are not the easiest obstacle to overcome, there are going to be colleagues wanting to talk to you at inconvenient times. So learn to tactfully set time boundaries. Communicate to people when they can talk to you and when they can’t. If you are in a management position, create policies that discourage team interaction at certain times of day, and encourage it at others.

I have more tasks than I can possibly manage.

 Work from a master list. The purpose of the master list is so you can constantly be emptying your mind out. The reason you can’t focus on any given task is because there’s so much buzzing around in your head. Everything ‘to do’ goes on the list: personal, professional and social. Items then get transferred to a weekly list that gets checked off. The aim is not to try and get the master list done. Your aim is to try and get your weekly list done.”

My work style isn’t working.

On your own, there is a tendency to dawdle and make a rush to finish at the last minute. A lot of people adopt this technique and they think that’s wrong. It’s not wrong. It’s important to remember that if something’s working, let it work. Just because your technique is different from someone else’s doesn’t mean it’s incorrect.

Schedules stifle my creativity.

Statements such as ‘having schedules interferes with creative output’ are a bit of a cop out. Why not let your schedule serve as a tool for facilitating creativity? There are many Apps on the market to help you stay true to your schedule by tracking your productivity. For example, some writers adhere to a writing schedule for a set number of hours each day; others write a set number of words. But generally, those who succeed stick to their schedules.

My colleague is holding me back.

It can be exasperating when your work is dependent upon another team member’s contribution and they are holding you back by slacking. Set time limits on projects for both you and your colleague.

The Internet distracts me.

Anything computer-related is like a mine. You just keep digging deeper and deeper. Close unnecessary tabs. Use a timer, or indeed use the internet to find an anti distraction site.

I struggle with procrastination.

For solo entrepreneurs and homemakers, procrastination is the biggest threat to productivity. Both the perfectionist and the procrastinator are constantly looking for more information, because they’re scared they’re going to miss out on something. Be honest with yourself about the problem, then prioritize tasks and limit the amount of information you need to complete them.

It’s spring and it’s a lovely day out there.

Once your schedule is under control in the first place, you’ll have more time to go out and smell the roses. To get there, focus not so much on time, but on blocks of work and outcomes, For example, sales professionals should schedule at least two items daily that are revenue related. They can then just pad everything else around that.

We’re all different, so our approaches to time management will vary. The key is to find solutions that work for you — and then use them.

For more tips on getting things done and squeezing all the juice out of your day, Have a look at
the Fusion Model

Frances Masters

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience. Follow her @fusioncoachuk, or visit The Integrated Coaching Academy for details about up coming training.