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Time Management for the New Year

Time Management Tips for the New Year

The New Year brings new resolutions for personal and professional improvement. If managing your time more wisely so your time isn’t managing you is on your list this year, Smoky Hill Education Service Center is here to help. The following are some tips and resources that can help you get a handle on your time so that you can make the most of your days in 2021.

  1. Make a list

This sounds like a no-brainer, but it is a sure-fire way to make sure that you don’t inadvertently miss an important item during your busy day. Make sure that your list is ambitious but doable. Making a realistic to-do list can help keep you focused and on-track.

  1. Start and end with a purpose

Starting the day with accomplishment can carry you through the rest of your day. If you start the day “adrift” without a specific purpose it seems like that continues through the rest of the day. Set a specific goal for the first 15 minutes that you are in the office or your classroom. Accomplishing that task sets you up for a productive day… and you can cross something off your list which is also very satisfying. Ending your day the same way can help you leave feeling that you have put a bow on the day and will ensure that you arrive the following day without too many items hanging partially finished.

  1. Organize the day by priorities

When organizing your day try making your lists with if/then priorities. If you finish A, you will work on B during any specific time period that you have set up. This allows you to accomplish those critical items first while still having an opportunity to work on those less pressing matters.

  1. Set aside personal time

As busy as you are each day it can be difficult to find a minute or two to catch your breath and reflect on what you’ve accomplished so far, and what still needs to be done. Reflection is the key to learning. John Dewey said, “We don’t learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience.” Scheduling time each day to reflect on our experiences is critical in being a life-long learner. Whether you take those few minutes to meditate, read something new, or reflect on what you’ve done so far, it is time well spent. It also allows you to reenergize for the rest of your day.

  1. Learn to say “no”

Sometimes less is more. When we spread ourselves too thin we don’t do justice to those things that are truly important. It’s o.k. to say no to things once in a while. There are some things that can’t be avoided, but be intentional about those things that you say yes to and you’ll be much happier.

  1. Hide

Okay, this one is a little tongue in cheek, but it is o.k. to close your door if you have to get something done. There are items on our to-do list that require intense concentration and even small interruptions can mean that a task that would have taken you 30 minutes ends up taking you 90 minutes instead. When you need to focus to get things done… hide.

  1. Don’t touch it twice

This is one piece of advice that has had a tremendous benefit in my own time management journey. Whenever possible I try to only touch each item once. For instance, when I am checking my email I try to resolve the issue it is related to immediately if possible. Once I skip it and go to the next email, yet leave it unresolved in my inbox my list of things to do starts to grow. Previously I may have opened the same email 2 or 3 times before getting to it. Now, I respond and delete it. This works for mail as well!

  1. Follow the 2-minute rule

Author David Allen talks about his 2-minute rule. If something takes you less than 2 minutes, do it now. This will help you from touching the same piece of paper or email again and again robbing you of precious time. If it is something that will take much longer but isn’t of a high priority you can add it to your to-do list and move on to the next short task to keep your list from getting out of hand.

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