Sunday, April 3, 2016

Using Proven Strategies to Improve Time Management

Time Management Improvements:

As part of my coursework with Five-Star Technology Solutions, LLC, I am completing an interesting class called; ‘Successful Online Learning’, and that course has a Time Management component where I took a quiz on my time management skills, discovered I could improve on my prioritization of tasks, and I learned strategies for how to apply that new learning by making improvements over the past few days.

Over the last few days, I have been evaluating the choices I make with my time based on the ‘Urgent/Important’ matrix from Grantham University’s module because I know that I sometimes chose easy fun tasks first, even though they may not be the most urgent or important, because I think that I will later have time to get to less pleasant or more tedious tasks, and as a result, I sometimes end up more rushed on those than might be desirable. I tend to prefer to work to get five quick and easy things off of my list so I have a feeling of accomplishment and don’t have to think about them anymore, and then work on the two or three more demanding tasks afterwards. 

Reprioritizing my time and actions by asking myself if it is urgent and/or important has helped me chose which of my many responsibilities to work on first. This has been helpful for me to structure more of a schedule to meet the most urgent needs and accomplishing them, and consider what is most important. One example was getting the update done for the board meeting tomorrow night, and choosing to schedule time for that over other choices.

Secondly, I also considered what was said in the TED talk on Health and Habits from November 10, 2012, where the professor spoke on starting with a small change that can be associated with another activity that triggers you to do that new change, such as starting with flossing one tooth after each time you brush your teeth and then working up to more teeth flossed over time, rewarding yourself with cheering yourself on. He also gave the example of starting with two pushups six times a day, and working up to ten pushups six times a day, triggered by a regularly occurring activity, followed by praising yourself for doing a good thing for yourself.  

I actually do need to work on flossing more regularly with brushing, so I chose this, and saw some improvement. I notice that it is not natural for me to do positive self talk as a reward.  During part of my formative years, I was raised by a very modest grandmother who did not believe in boasting about accomplishments, so I find myself feeling it is vain to do so, and it would be good for me to work on allowing myself to feel proud of my accomplishments and saying to myself that I am doing a good job on something. This was the hardest part of the assignment for me, because I want to say to myself that I should have been doing this good change all along, so I am negative towards myself rather than positive, which probably does the opposite of providing an encouraging support for the behavior. I praise others all the time, but to do so for myself feels silly, and that was interesting to learn. I wonder how much of this response comes from a gender based culture mindset. 

I also benefitted from the ’26 Time Management Hacks I Wish I’d Known at 20’ by Etienne Garbugli. I was most intrigued by the statement to; “Only plan for 4-5 hours of real work a day”. I have always over planned and over booked myself, and things always come up that cause delays. Additional processes get added, or more people are included in the process, requiring time to coordinate and bring them up to speed, or it just takes longer, sometimes because I do focus on quality more than completion, another mindset addressed here.  I have tried to plan ten to twelve hours of work because that is what my life seems to sometimes demand, and then I end up staying up late trying to finish.  I probably need to work on accepting that things I would like to do may never get done. It was further mentioned that; “More work hours does not mean more productivity. Use constraints as opportunities,” and also stated that is it best to stick with one project per day rather than toggle back and forth between multiple projects.  I certainly lose a little time toggling between things as I switch gears, but sometimes I have to stop a process to work on something that has become more urgent, or wait for another person to contribute their piece, so while I can sometimes work on finishing one thing at a time, I see this will still be a struggle because of constraints that are probably beyond my control.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you've found the information helpful and valuable, KathyAnn! Your point about vanity struck a chord in me as my mother did the same thing...hmm...