We understand. Actually getting around to managing your time in order to achieve work-life harmony can be tough. But the following are some practical tips which you can use to ease you on your way.
Determine Your Responsibilities
The first step towards work-life harmony is determining how much you must do each day. In other words, knowing what responsibilities you’ll need to fulfil with respect to work. Knowing exactly what work tasks you must complete each day will help you understand what your time is potentially being spent on each day. Consequently, you can then figure out if you’re taking on too many responsibilities.
Start by listing down your work-related responsibilities and tasks for the day. Once you’ve done so, you’ll be able to see what your day looks like in a nutshell. But more importantly, drawing up a list will help you determine:
- whether you’re managing/taking on too many task responsibilities/tasks;
- what responsibilities/tasks you can postpone; and
- what responsibilities/tasks you can delegate.
The objective of this exercise is to end up with a list of tasks you absolutely need to accomplish for the day.
Draw Up an Action Plan
After determining what you absolutely need to accomplish for the day, it’s time to turn it into a plan of action. How? Just follow these two simple steps.
- Instead of rushing to get started on work, spend the first 30 minutes of the day determining how you’ll spend the rest of it. You can use Microsoft’s OneNote (available as a browser and mobile application) as a tool to list and prioritise your action items.
- It’s almost guaranteed that as you go through your day, more tasks will be added to your list. Hence, it’s important to “close” your list for the day. This means “drawing a line” under the last task you intend to complete for the day. The rest of the tasks can be moved to the following day.
Minimise Distractions and Pay Attention to Your Time
Once you get down to work, it can be tempting to check that social media notification, WhatsApp message, or email that just came in. Resist that temptation (use the Force if you have to). If it was something urgent, you would have received a call instead of a message. Also, social media, the WhatsApp message, or the email will still be there after you’ve completed your work/task.
The other activity that can be a drain on your time is the number of breaks you take throughout the workday. Whilst it’s understandable that everyone needs a breather from time to time, are you aware of just how much time you spend on casual conversations with colleagues or a coffee break? Try being more aware of the time you spend on unproductive activities so that you can minimise the time spent on such activities and maximise the time you spend on productive ones.
As the saying goes, “if you want something done right, do it yourself”. Not quite.
Whilst it may be difficult to relinquish control of your tasks, not being able to delegate and taking everything upon your shoulders can lead to burnout, missed deadlines, and compromised work quality.
Try to remember that delegation – if done with the intent of improving efficacy or efficiency – isn’t a sign of weakness. Instead, it’s a leadership quality that can be further developed.
In the next part of this series, we’ll be covering… YOU. More specifically, what you can do to dedicate more time for yourself and improve harmony between your work and life.
This article was originally published by Golden Equator People Experience Management Team