Working with time

Person working hard against the clock

Working with time

With everyone starting something new, whether that’s a new job, a new year or even a new university, you might find yourself with either more or less available time on your hands. The demands on this time may also have increased and I was reminded, by a recent article I read, that long hours can not be sustained .So this week I’m going to waffle about working with time.

You will often hear people stating that they don’t have the time for things. From the start of this waffle, I would like to say, that we often can find the time to do things we really want to do. The trick, I think, is organising everything so that you still have the time for the things you really want to do without falling behind with the things you need or should be doing. so here are some of my ideas to help you make best use of your time.

  • Timetable/Calendar – Organising your calendar/to do list is an essential beginning to getting organised. There are many applications available at the moment, including programmes such as Outlook and iCal that can allow you to add and plan your day. Once the essentials have been planned into your calendar – such as lectures or lessons and meetings – make sure that you timetable in breaks and meals. These are important, allowing you to have a break from your work as well as allowing some time to socialise and/or network. If these times have been identified you can often use these to meet your colleagues/friends so not interrupting the times when you are working. If you are starting university for the first time then you might be aware that you appear to have ‘free’ days or afternoons. These can be available to be timetabled for activities, so remember that if you are not using these times for ‘working’, you might end up working the weekends or late into the evenings (or in some cases early morning).
  • Achieve today lists – Lots of people are list makers – I wrote a blog post on this.However, when creating your list for the day it is important that your list is achievable and has been planned for. Many people’s ‘to do list’ is actually a list of everything they need to do in the next couple of months. This is not achievable and will only mean you will get to the end of the day and you will feel demotivated that you haven’t achieved anything or enough. From your calendar for the day you have planned, look at the gaps and use this to create your list for the day. Doing it this way you will create an achievable list but will also have planned times to do the tasks/activities.
  • Learn to multitask – Although you will have heard that only women are proficient at this, its not really true. Have a look at the activities you have planned for the day and think if anything else can be done in this time. Now before you get me wrong, I am not suggesting that you should listen to your latest downloaded album while in your first lecture! But while walking to work/university or doing the ironing, you might be able to listen to an audio book or watch video podcast. Indeed, through carefully planning, you might actually be listening to this while doing something else. (if you have found yourself smiling at this point please stop before you get any more funny looks :)). I often get some of my best ideas walking somewhere or sat waiting for a meeting, so make sure you have an effective way of recording these thoughts though, there’s nothing worse than remembering you can a great idea, but not being able to actually remember the idea.
  • Reward yourself – At first you will find it difficult to plan the right amount of tasks/activities for the day. When you become more proficient at this, there might come a time that you finish early or complete an activity faster. This is the point that you should reward yourself before looking at your long term list. Have a coffee, read your book, spend time with your friends in the period of time that has been ‘created’. Alternatively, look at your long term list and complete something from later on in the day or tomorrow – as long as you then reward yourself later with the time. As the above article mentions remember that you can not sustain long hours forever!
  • Everyone has the same amount of time so when it appears that people are getting more done, it is usually down to planning the use of that time. It will takes about thirty days for a new routine or habit to become embedded so stick with it.

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    Have fun and catch you later!