Finding Time to Get Ahead

April 9, 2013 — Leave a comment

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There have been times when I’ve felt like other people must have more hours in their day than I have in mine. I see the things they accomplish, and I’m honestly jealous. I’ve realized that I waste a lot of valuable time that could be better used to get ahead.

My world has changed a lot in the last couple of weeks, so I’ve begun a massive overhaul of my work routines. I’m hoping to find more space and more hours to get ahead and accomplish more.

Here are some things I’m doing to get ahead (or at least caught up):

1. Updated To Do List

I’ve always kept a To Do list, but I’m making a concentrated effort to categorize the tasks that go on the list. I’ve even setup a color coded system to use. (Thanks Debby Hamilton for the awesome pens!) When I find myself losing time in a week, I can quickly review the To Do list to see what area is taking up the most time. This will help me to rearrange my routine when the season calls for it.

2. Schedule Breaks

I’m a procrastinator and a people-person. In a large office, that’s not a good combination. I tend to spend more time out of my office each day than I do in my office. I’m setting alarms to alert me when a schedule break is available to use. After the break, it’s back to work and the alarm is reset. (I’m searching for a Mac app that will help with this. Any ideas?) Scheduling breaks will keep me focused longer and minimize my self-inflicted interruptions. I’ll still make my social rounds around the office, but less frequently than I did before.

3. Designated Times for Designated Tasks

I pride myself on my ability to multitask. However, I was surprised to learn that multitasking actually makes the worker less productive. While I’m writing, I tend to still check email or answer phone calls. When I’m in a creative planning meeting, I’m still jotting down notes for the writing tasks that I have on my plate. There are times when multitasking will be necessary, but I am minimizing it by creating designated times for designated tasks.

4. Establish New Routines

One of the most damaging effects on my productivity is my inconsistent schedule. Most weeks, my afternoons are meeting-free and great times for writing. This week, however, every afternoon is packed with counseling appointments for an upcoming baptism. I’m working to find the times in my schedule that are consistently open so that I can utilize them for my most important tasks.

How do you get ahead?
Where do you find the “extra hours” in your work that help you to get more done?

I’d love to hear your tips and advice to better help me in this schedule overhaul.

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