Professionals will always tell you that making a [...]
Professionals will always tell you that making a list of to-dos of the tasks for the day is of utmost importance. But, one has to remember that making this list of to-dos also involves arranging the list in order of priority. How do you arrange this to-do priority list?
These days there are a number of sticky notes both in paper and digital format available to you. The Digital one (Windows has an inbuilt one available) immediately pops up either in your email app or on your desktop. The paper ones come with colored paper which helps you determine its priority (i.e. if you remember what color is for what priority)
Can you actually create a strategy of your priorities at the start of the day? Your to-do list will definitely be one that either makes or destroys your productivity at work. Also, your to-do list will have to depend on how you use your clocked time! You have 8hrs at work with lunch and tea/coffee breaks thrown in, along with meetings and that untimely interruption!
Here are 5 tips on what to factor in when you create your To-Do Priority List for the day.
1. Manage Untimely Interruptions or Disruptive Time- Joan Lloyd’s write-up has a few tips on managing your clocked time, especially those untimely interruptions. This is necessary to factor in when doing up your to-do list
2. Managing Email Overload – Email as a communication tool can be both a curse as well as a boon. Often people require instant answers to their email. Here You have to learn to divide the emails into priority and non-priority emails and even into work and friendly colleague emails asking for advice. Keep specific times to answer your emails and let your colleagues know about the times. This gives them an opportunity to know when to write in and expect a reply. If work is really urgent, they can always follow up with a phone call to let you know the urgency. Usually, the best time to answer emails is around 2 hrs after you begin work. And half an hour after lunch. Clear up pending emails before you leave for the day.
3. Meetings: There are a lot of Dilbert jokes on Corporate meetings. They are known to take a lot of time. Keeping an agenda and adhering to this is very essential to your clocked time. Also do leave time in your meetings for additional free flow discussions. Usually it is good to hold discussions just pre-lunch or pre-tea time as people will work on a short lease and also not drag it for too long. However, crucial meetings that require deep thought and implementation for far reaching results, should always be held post lunch or post teatime.
4. Manage Your Set-up Time: Bodil Jönsson in her book Ten Thoughts about Time, offers some great insights into how to go about this with very pertinent examples that I too can relate to. She begins with dividing time depending on easy & fun tasks, easy & boring tasks, hard but fun tasks & hard & boring tasks. She cites that we often procrastinate with hard tasks (even if they later turn out to be fun or boring). However, she cautions that this should be worked on over time and it is not so easily done.
5. Manage to Keep Time for Self: This is the most important of all in your priority to-do list for clocked time or Time at work. This does not always mean “time to stand and stare”, but time for yourself- update your work knowledge, time to have some friendly banter with team and co-workers as interpersonal relationships are essential in workplace, etc. If you can clock this in twice in a week, it will help you go a long way towards creating a good balance in your clocked hours at work and thereby give you enough of time to handle your personal lived-time.
These basic tips can help you deal with your clocked Time at work. Given that each person works at different levels and each person’s tasks are different, the above tips, if employed, can be fitted to anyone’s clocked time in a day.
Inspiration on thinking and sharing my thoughts [...]
Inspiration on thinking and sharing my thoughts on this topic arise from two books -Eva Hoffman’s book on Time and Bodil Jönsson book on Ten Thoughts about Time (How to make more of the Time in your Life) (summary of the book).
These days, although retired from what is called an active 9-5 job, I still am hard pressed for time! I slowly got into various other activities which now keep me occupied 24/7. It’s only these days that I have gotten to escaping into what is called my “lived-time” or personal time. The “Measured Time” that both authors talk about in their books, had certainly boxed me into a straitjacket
Did you know that in 1990, Peter Heintel, the German philosopher, founded a society called Tempus, whose main focus was to extend or delay, or slow down- Time. Members are encouraged to present practical examples of their own and other people’s ideas on personal time management. The book that they published, Signs of Time (Zeitzeichen), is marketed as the gift for people who have everything- except Time
Manage Your Personal Lived-Time in 3 Simple Ways : Lived Time is the time you make for yourself.
1. Be The Hermit : To have time to yourself you need to shut off all devices, communication channels, and stop doing anything that does not make you happy! (remember productivity will come in only if you are happy). This can be done anywhere, at home or even in your office, and at anytime! ou need this to replenish your body and mind! Watch the clouds, the trees sway, people go by, etc.
2. Maintain a Rhythm: This is much harder to maintain, but with slow and tiny steps, it will help you get there. Rhythm is not the same as routine. Routine is fine, but sometimes it can get boring. So maintaining a rhythm to whatever your tasks are, will be easy. Divide household tasks and office tasks, so that you don’t have to do the same task everyday, but the broad categories help to get time to do what you want for yourself as well as office.
3. Listen to your Body Clock and not the Timepiece: These days there are PC alarm clocks that you can download and which promise you an increase in productivity. But if you have read late into the night, you feel certainly get up feeling fatigued and your productivity will decrease during the day. Hence, follow your body clock, to do the things you want to do. Keep a chart which can help you break up easy and hard tasks. Learn what tasks can be managed at what time. Pay close attention to the tasks performed by you at different times – some tasks are easy to do in the mornings, some later. I do most of my writing at night, so that I donlt get disturbed by the “ringing” of any device. Once you have learned that, then it will certainly be easy to set up your own time and get things done much faster.
Many writers on Time Management are of the opinion that if you rise early, it increases productivity, and your Time is better managed. I would like to disagree on this point of Time Management – you “don’t have to be” an early riser to get more productive.
In some countries, daylight is longer, so should people work long hours during those days? and when daylight diminishes at 3pm should they stop working? Some places with extremes of weather, if people were made to work during those hours that were less draining, then a lot of resources can be saved, and people as well as environment will lead to a much happier workplace.
So it is very essential to find your own Lived-Time, where the activities and tasks you like best can be performed, rather than let your own preferred tasks be subjected to the Measured Time. Keep Measured Time for your office hours. My next writeup will be on Measured Time and how to manage that to get the most out of it.
If you would like to share a few insights into how you manage your Lived Time, that would be most appreciated by readers!
Inspired by Eva Hoffman’s book Time, I will be writing a series of blogs in the coming days. Given that I can expend only a certain amount of words on each blog upon your tired eyes, I will take Time to spend more Time on elaborating about Time.
Eva Hoffman has authored a series of books, the most famous till recently, has been, Lost in Translation. In this elegant and slim, but deceptively simple looking book, “Time”, she has expounded her ideas on Time using the tools of our modern technology. Time has always been studied from different angles and perspectives, but has nevertheless been relegated to the musings of philosophers.
Her four essays, “Time and Body”, “Time and the Mind”, “Time and Culture” and “Time in our Time” take you across the full spectrum of Time, back and forth. And you are left pondering about the “Future Time”. She takes you across the cosmology and physiology of Time, from neuroscience and into the most darkest recesses of our consciousness to understand Time from all its dimensions.
It takes Time to go through this book. You need to savor it, ponder over the lines and words, and I had to revisit the essay on Time and the Mind twice!
Hoffman sprinkles her essays with her own experience of Time when she was a child in Poland and, to Europe and America, as an immigrant. She paints a lazy picture of the time spent by the people in communist countries as compared to the hustle and bustle of America, and to the quaint Time periods often captured in some spots of Europe. She also explores what Time today costs us and what exactly “lived time” has evolved into. How technology and medical advancement has brought about longevity, but our lives are still governed by “measured time”, which has now come to equal the old adage, Time=Money. One is often reminded of the March Hare in “Alice and Wonderland” who forever is late and believes its tea-time as his friend the Hatter has supposedly “murdered time”.
This books is rich in information and detail. Hoffman’s bibliography stretches across disciplines, from biology, culture, psychoanalysis to neuroscience. Hoffman also explores the many scientific as well as artistic treatments that help individuals deal with the stress of Time, especially on the rise being ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), now seen as a result of our “hurried and harried” times, and, very visible in the growing generation.
The one thing that I missed in her essay, “Time and Culture” that would have added a zing, is an exploration of Time adages and proverbs that we have all grown up with – “A stitch in Time saves Nine”, “A little too late is much too late”, ” All good things come to he who waits”, “Procrastination is the thief of time”,”The early bird catches the early worm”, etc. Exploring Time through these adages and proverbs across different cultures and across various eras, would have painted before us the progress of Time itself- of how Time has marched on!
Nonetheless, this is a must read book, if you have pondered and deliberated on Time itself. What should you be doing with your Time, how can you spend it fruitfully, will Time cease when Life ceases – are questions that are woven into her four essays. But this cannot be read and kept aside. You will find yourself going back to it often to reread and ponder on her passages of Time.