Time and Task Management: 2 of 6
Step 1: Be realistic about your time, and about how much time you really have.
Have you heard someone say, or maybe you say it all the time, “I didn’t get as much done as I thought I would” or “I never finish everything I plan on doing”? Ever wonder if maybe you were trying to do too much in too little amount of time?
On a certain level you don’t want to run out of things to do, which will be covered in Steps 4 and 5. However, I find it frustrating for myself when I don’t reach the end of my planned work in a day. My previous employer used to say that the average person’s max – not average, but max – output is about 6 billable hours out of 8 worked hours. I think this can vary depending on the field you work in, and your particular position – for instance, an administrative person will have far less billable hours versus, say, a web designer or developer.
This being said, I do think too many people over-estimate what they can get completed in a day’s worth of time, and not by a little. It’s as if people feel that they have to get more done than is humanly possible to keep their jobs.
I am not suggesting people should slack off! I am calling employees and employers to be realistic. Whatever your hours of work are, set realistic expectations. If you are driving to a meeting, the meeting is 30 minutes from your office (at whatever speed limit or lack thereof you drive), you cannot end your meeting and expect to be back at your office in five minutes. If going through your emails takes time, set aside five, ten, fifteen, thirty minutes if it takes that long to go through your emails. People need to stop pretending they are superhuman, and set realistic and achievable goals. You’d be surprised at not only how much you get done, but how much better you feel at the end of your day.
Have too much to do that you have to run your life at this hectic pace? I would suggest that something has to change. People can do this on a temporary level, but if you’re looking at keeping the same frantic run and rush around and overwhelming workload for more than a year with no change in sight, I would be concerned that you have bitten off more than you can chew. I can’t say this for certain for all areas of business – there are too many variances and life stuff that just happens to people that can’t be helped – but if you are constantly overbooking yourself, please consider getting some help. We are a stressed out society as it is, we don’t need to do more damage to ourselves.
Time and Task Management Series:
5 Steps to More Effective Time and Task Management (1 of 6)
Be Realistic About Time (2 of 6)
Schedule Time for Prioritization (3 of 6)
Prioritize (4 of 6)
Work Down the Prioritized List (5 of 6)
If Emergency Re-Prioritize (6 of 6)
Time and Task Management Includes Break (Bonus)