Fight deadlines like a pro!
Many people strongly believe that work is a sequence of deadlines and crunch time. The plans are ruined and deadlines are missed. How comes it? Turns out, we trust in huge misconceptions about time management.
How many hours do you work in a week? I work 40 hours minimum, you will tell me without a moment’s hesitation. You spend 9 hours in the office including a 1-hour lunch break. It looks big time. Seems like you work 1800 hours a year. Impressive stuff! But you feel that you don’t have enough time for smooth work, relaxed mood, and job satisfaction. I faced the same problem and I was rescued by the article by Jory MacKay, my favorite copywriter, editor, and content strategist. I was exhausted and always felt tired by the deadline date. I dreamed about level work and life according to the clear and firm schedule. These tips are really helping so I’m glad to present them on my blog.
People who work from 9 to 18 strongly believe that they work 8 hours a day. It’s the biggest misconception that makes time planning pointless. The researches claim, that a common office worker is focused on job responsibilities on average 3 hours a day. It’s an obvious conclusion if you observe and calculate on what actions the time is spent.
Every job position presupposes certain responsibilities. It can be copywriting, website design or software coding. When people plan their work for a week, they set most of the time to their main responsibilities. But in the end, they are really disappointed. Most of the time leaks to:
- meetings. On average it takes minimum 15% of the day for business meetings. We can’t omit the discussion of plans and tasks;
- communication. We spend a huge amount of time by chatting via messengers or email. It’s also a part of the working process;
- multitask work. Every person loses concentration and speed of work when he or she constantly distracts for different tasks. The efficiency goes down and the distractions take 40% of the working time.
Researchers claim that the realistic picture of working day looks frustrative. A common office worker is productive only for 1 hour 12 minutes. So the annual plan of work, that is estimated for 1800 hours is totally unrealistic.
If you rely on an unrealistic amount of time to execute a job, you will be mystified why you always miss deadlines. Consequently, it will be very hard to avoid stress, overwork, and professional burnout. One might wonder that we should plan the job just for 2 hours a day. But not everything is as it seems. There’s one more common misconception for people, who tries to schedule the working process as a clear and firm deal. Psychologists say, that usually, we are too optimistic about the estimation on how much time you will need to complete the task. We overleap ourselves and face failure to deliver on time.
Make realistic plans and fight your false optimistic expectations. Be honest and develop a habit to reserve extra time for nonscheduled delays. How do plan and manage your time effectively? Try to follow the next advice:
Define the task in fixed terms.
The main problem of the planning of work is that we define the intentions to do something, but we don’t do it as fast as we can. If you want the realization of your intentions you should define it as a clear instruction. For example, change the point ‘write a post to blog’ to ‘from 9 to 11 a.m. study the materials and make a plan of the post to the blog; the main topic – time management’. The correct point in the schedule also notes what you will do if you will be distracted. Like you should not chat with a colleague about the project in the time of writing a blog post. Do things in the time you have defined. Researchers who studied this approach for working claim, that people who stick to a detailed schedule work faster and critically evaluate time for task fulfillment.
Think about 100 blocks a day.
Make a planning routine your usual habit. You know, that an average person sleeps about 7-8 hours a night. So he or she has 16-17 hours awake for a day. That equals to 1,000 minutes. And now imagine those 1000 minutes like a 100 10-minute blocks. That’s what you have every day. Every day, you have just 10 minutes of your life on every block, until you eventually run out of blocks and it’s time to go to sleep.
How many of these blocks do you use to make your work better, and how many do you waste just for nothing? Try to think about your time in the context of these blocks. Are 10 minutes of learning new skill a day significant enough to give a block to it? Gossiping 20 minutes a day allows you to lose 6 hours a month for nothing. Or two blocks, that you could spend on reading a new book. Think about the time you have every day like a limited amount of gold. And use it wisely.
Take a detached view.
It’s always easier to give advice than to follow it. You know, that this rule is absolutely true when it comes to working schedule planning. The planning mistake magically disappears, if a person has to estimate other people’s time for task fulfillment. It’s a great power of a detached view. We are optimistic about our work and tend to overestimate our possibilities. But we are truly realistic when it comes to possibilities of other people.
If you want to overcome all difficulties in time management ask yourself and give honest advice. How long had I been doing that task last time? How long does it take to do this task for a specialist of my competence? I’m sure it will help you to estimate your time more clearly. And it will definitely save you from another end-of-the-month syndrome.
You have all chances to forget about the end-of-the-month syndrome, breach of the agreement, postponement, stress, overtime working, and other anxieties. It all happens because of common mistakes of the time planning process. Just get rid of the main misconceptions and develop useful habits.
- Trace your time. Define how many hours you spend on your main job responsibilities. And you will have a clear picture of your actual working hours.
- Try to avoid multitask working.
- Get rid of unreasonable optimism when you estimate your own possibilities and resources.
- Make detailed planning of your tasks. Write working instruction for your day and make it an everyday habit. Save some time for unexpected emergencies.
- Remember, that you have a limited amount of time for every day. Treasure it like gold and remember about 100 blocks a day idea.
- Take a detached look when you estimate your time for task fulfillment. Think, like you give a task to another person and honestly mark the time.