An important part of succeeding in today’s workplace is the ability to effectively manage your time and the projects that you are assigned. Mary Crane’s helpful book begins by explaining that most recent graduates are unprepared for an unpredictable and ever changing work environment. This is because they are accustomed to prioritizing and anticipating a three to four month school schedule thanks to a syllabus. There rarely are major changes to this schedule, especially without notice. In many work environments priorities and deadlines can change by the day, hour, or with only a moment’s notice. This book provides plenty of tips on how to effectively manage your time and experience success in this new environment. Here are five that I found particularly helpful:
1. Learn to love lists
One way to succeed is by setting goals and focusing on achieving them. These goals should guide how you manage your time. The book suggests making five separate lists of goals related to the following categories.
* Personal relationships/Family/Home
* Physical Fitness/Health
These lists should consist of S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Targeted) goals. Before making decisions involving your time, look to your list of goals and determine whether this action helps to accomplish any of them.
2. Understand the difference between “urgent” and “important”
It is important to tackle tasks that yield immediate consequences first. An effective way to do this is by categorizing your tasks in the following four quadrants:
* Q1 tasks- Important and Urgent
o These are tasks that have become crises and need to be addressed immediately. You should try to avoid letting any task slip into this quadrant.
* Q2 tasks- Important but Not Urgent
o These are the productive tasks on which you should focus most of your efforts. Procrastination regarding these tasks can lead to a crisis.
* Q3 tasks- Not Important, yet Urgent
o These include daily disruptions like emails, phone calls, and meetings.
* Q4 tasks- Not Important and Not Urgent
o These are useless activities that cost you time without professional or personal reward.
3. Understand what procrastination Is
Every professional, whether they are brand new or experienced, has tasks that they despise doing. True professionals buckle down and get these tasks down, while procrastinators put them off. Procrastinators continue to willfully delay completing these tasks even when they are aware that this will make their situation worse. There a serious costs to procrastinating, and one should actively avoid it.
4. Understanding the myth of multitasking
Many believe that attempting to tackle more than one task at a given time, or multitasking, increases their productivity. However, research suggests that this belief is far from accurate. Most human beings cannot successfully focus on multiple tasks at one time without their performance suffering.
5. Live productively
This is the last chapter of the book, but it presents a few self-explanatory, yet often forgotten tips that I believe are very important.
* Take breaks
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