Five tips for effective time management

By Generation Next Governor at Large Shane Woodman
Muncie Power Products, Inc.

This article was originally published in the June 2016 issue of Generation Next Edition.

As we enter the professional world, our lives become extremely busy. Time becomes much more sensitive to us as we seem to have less of it. There are only so many hours in a day, and in those hours we try to balance work, family, hobbies, and more.

The backlog of things we need to do keeps growing, right? No matter what we do, we just can’t keep up. This is why time management is so vital to a successful career and personal life. Here are five easy tips to practice when it comes to time management.

  1. Prioritize: Everyone tells us we have to prioritize. How do we decide which action items come off the list first? You need to differentiate between “important” and “urgent”. Urgent tasks seek your attention immediately, but whether or not you choose to act on those items may not matter in the long run. As for important tasks, not completing them may have serious consequences for you and possibly others.
  2. Calendar utilization: The majority of us likely use Outlook, but there are many other calendar options available. Keeping commitments current on your calendar will allow for more efficient planning of your time. Take a moment to review the features your calendar offers. When you commit, immediately update your calendar. This will eliminate forgetfulness.  

Don’t worry, I’m not against paper calendars. If this suits your needs better, by all means, write away.  

  1. Ask for help: No one can do it all. It’s important for you to be aware if your workload is too heavy. If you feel overwhelmed or maxed-out, ask someone for help. A successful organization will believe in teamwork and the availability of everyone to help. Someone will come to you for help one day too.
  2. Eliminate: The amount of things we want to accomplish daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly are endless. It’s up to us to eliminate the things that bring no additional value or serve no purpose, but drain our physical energy, emotions, and mental state. This may be the most difficult one of all. All of our lives we have compiled more and more interests and responsibilities. Now you have to decide what is truly important and where to spend your energy.
  3. Organization: The worst filing cabinet is the top side of your desk. A clean workspace can provide a sense of accomplishment. Ever walk into someone’s office who has papers piled on their desk? You assume they have a lot to do, but in reality they may not be organizing or filing properly. Filed your items may alleviate stress. You often don’t have as much to do as the eyes see.

Time management should be taken seriously as you continue down your career. Find a process that works for you and stick to it. Seek out those around you that manage their time in an effective way and ask questions. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish when you are organized. Lastly, don’t forget to leave plenty of time for yourself.