Time Management

Does your to-do list seem longer than the U.S. Tax Code? Do the papers on your desk look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa? You are not alone. Many people find that no matter how much they accomplish, they can’t seem to catch up. How can you fulfill your work obligations without feeling constantly stressed? Here are some strategies that you may find useful:

  • Look at how you currently use time. Is it “time well spent?” Are any of your personal habits or routines stealing time that could be better spent? The key is directing your efforts to high priority tasks and goals.
  • Do you feel overwhelmed by everything you have to do today (or this week)? Take a few minutes to set priorities and map out a schedule.
  • Can you identify those times when you are feeling least productive? What could you do to be more productive? For example, schedule the most mentally challenging tasks for the time of day when you have the most energy. Find ways to “perk up” when your energy is lagging.
  • Do you spend a lot of time looking for misplaced items? If so, it would be worth investing your time to develop a filing system to help you find what you need.
  • Take advantage of modern technology. Using group email or voicemail to share information, when appropriate, may take much less time than having several discussions. 
  • Can you improve the way you handle phone calls and in-person interruptions? For instance, you could designate specific times for returning non-urgent phone calls or for having an open-door “office hour.” Consider brainstorming with your supervisor or co-workers to come up with additional suggestions.Spend a little time now looking at how you can work more efficiently, and it may pay off in greater productivity later.