You’ve been in this situation before: you have so much work to do and a project that’s almost due for a client you cannot afford to lose. How do you solve this dilemma once and for all?
1. Examine the effect of your inability to manage your time. Does losing clients or opportunities make you feel depressed, anxious, overwhelmed, easily agitated, hopeless, or remorseful? If so, your chances of improving your time management skills are great. If you don’t feel any negative emotions, nothing will change until you accept there’s a problem.
2. Identify the root of your issue. Maybe you’ve had trouble concentrating since childhood. Perhaps you have a lazy or procrastinating streak. Maybe you’re not adept at scheduling tasks. Perhaps you don’t enjoy what you do for a living. Maybe you’re spending too much time socializing instead of working.
3. Destroy the root of your problem. Use one of the many time management methods available today to help you with scheduling. Purchase an alarm clock and will yourself to get out of bed when it rings. Download a computer application, such as RescueTime or Toggl, which lets you monitor the amount of time you spend on an activity. Or use a good ole fashioned calendar instead. Enroll in a time management course if you need formal guidance. Consider changing your employment situation if your job is holding you back from improving your time management skills.
4. Keep prioritizing. Always write down what needs to be done for each day and arrange everything according to their due dates. Do urgent tasks first. If you’re having an off-day, delay the not-so-urgent items until another day. If after prioritizing you find that you still don’t have enough time to complete all your important projects, you’re probably taking on too much work. In this case, stop accepting new assignments for the time being or hire help.
Final Thoughts: Organizational apps and alarm clocks won’t help you if you’re determined to procrastinate, oversleep, or spend all your time on social media sites. Beware of taking too many off-days; this can cause the little chores you set aside for another day to add up, then you’ll be flooded with work. Seek therapy if you feel you must, as your issue may be too deep for a calendar or an alarm clock to solve. Lastly, never underestimate the power of your will. Ultimately, willpower is all it takes to break a habit.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
First Things First by A. Roger Merrill and Stephen R. Covey