If you want to get more done, don’t wait until tomorrow to get your time management in-line. Start today, right now, by planning out what needs to get done and setting a hard schedule for it.
Over at Harvard Business Review, Elizabeth Grace Saunders gives us two insightful tips for how to better manage our time in order to get everything done that we need to:
Unless you make a conscious effort to change your behavior, poor time management today will only lead to poor time management tomorrow…
Eliminate future options
Challenge yourself to find specified times during your workday to complete your commitments. Look at your project list and estimate approximately how long it will take you to get certain items done. For example, if you have a presentation at the end of the month, determine how long it will take you to gather the information, put together the presentation, review it with your team, and run through it. Then assign specific times in your schedule between now and the presentation for you to complete each piece.
The other approach Saunders mentions is to decrease variability in your schedule. That is: set a schedule for your work and stick to it. Doing so ensures you get done what you need to get done, as well as making it easier to do what you need to now rather than later.
These approaches work by disabling psychological loopholes where we say we want to do something, that we’ll get to it later, but when the time comes to do it we find ourselves either too exhausted or distracted to get it done. This leaves us feeling like we either have to play catch-up or like we’ve failed, causing us to put off other tasks until a future time, endlessly repeating the process.