I Got A Problem Y’all: I’m really frustrated at work and can use some help. No matter how hard I try or how many hours I work; I can never seem to accomplish more significant projects. My time seems to be consumed each day by the overwhelming number of emails, people who require my attention, or the ever-changing priorities around the office. As soon as I am focused and in the grove on one task, someone pulls me elsewhere, and that requires an entirely different skill and mindset. I feel like I can never give my best to anything, because I am trying to provide a little something for everything. I feel like I’m living in Groundhog day… Can you help me break the loop? — Over My Déjà Vu
Hi Over My Déjà Vu: Thank you for the question, and we can definitely help you take back control of your time. This is a common and reoccurring problem for many people in their personal and professional life. We have to start by acknowledging a well know fact; time is finite. We only have 24 hours in any given day, how we use them is the real challenge before us.
First things first, how much time do you have available for the identified task? Before you answer…this is your chance to carve out time for family, friends, sleep, and self-care. If you start this process by over-committing, we can be confident that it will only become more challenging as life happens around us. So let’s say we carve out 10 hours for our workday Monday-Friday. Let’s start by pulling out 1 hour for lunch and 1.5 hours for our commute to and from home, leaving us with 7.5 hours. Now think about your must do’s in your daily routine and how much time they take to complete. Let’s assume that it takes 6 hours, we now have 1.5 hours remaining to work our magic.
Have you ever stopped to think about when you are most productive? Are you a morning person, or afternoon? We all have a peak and low productivity points during the day. What if you took that in consideration during daily planning? Some daily task are time sensitive, so we cannot move those…but what about the remainder? What would happen if you viewed them from an “effort required” standpoint versus some other method? Now align the task that requires the most effort and energy during your peak periods. Try splitting that time between your daily work and the project. Now we need to determine what are the essential items to complete for this project today. This process will help us focus on where we put our energy during that 1.5 hours.
Let’s recap what we have done so far: 1) Assessed our available time and started with a realistic work day (10 hrs.) 2) We identified the nonnegotiable task and the time required to complete them on average (8.5 hrs.) 3) We have arranged our schedule with consideration for time sensitive tasks first, then aligning the other items based on their efforts with our peak energy periods in mind. 4) We have determined the essential things to complete for our project today. Wowwww. Well Done!
Now a few additional tips that will help you stay on task. Do you deal with time and energy vampires during your day? Are they people, a specific function, or a combination of both? When do they occur? Can you rearrange the most critical work to occur during a timeframe with the least amount of distractions? Can you relocate to a quiet space with fewer distractions for a brief period to focus on this work? If the task drains your energy, place it at a time when you can give yourself a little self-care after completing it. Like just before lunch or a coffee break if possible. Identify what depletes your energy and then plan a recharge after it is complete. On the rare chance that we could be referring to another person. What if you approached the person first, asked what they had going on during the day that might require your help? Now tell them when you are available and more importantly, when you are tied up. This may not stop every interruption, but you are being proactively helpful and sharing your agenda as well. It is a chance to dialogue with the person and set some boundaries. It also makes them aware of how often they are taking your time. If it is your boss, you may find the dialogue helps clear up any confusion about priorities for all parties involved.
This entire planning process should only take about 10-15 minutes to complete. If you make this part of your daily routine, the process will become more efficient and successful outcomes will become more frequent. Just remember, only you can and should decide how you use your 24 hours. Do not forget you can apply this process to your personal time as well. Identify the time available and your task. Connect your skills, energy level required, and productive space needed to complete the task. Organize the time, objectives, and a little sprinkle of self-care love…now Move those Ideas to Action. Your Déjà Vu days are over my friend! You got this!
Do you have a problem and want to see if we can help? We would love to hear from you and help Move your Ideas to Action. Email us at: Info@bscorbettconsulting.com.