Do you manage your time or does time manage you? I speak to many executives in Westchester County who tell me that their biggest challenge is managing their time. In fact some report feeling overwhelmed. When that happens things seem to spin out of control, leaving everyone feeling overworked, overloaded, and overwhelmed.
Having a system in place will not alone solve the problem because time management is really not a time management issue. No you first need to know your purpose. So here are some tips on surviving being overwhelmed.
1. Know Your Purpose.
Know your vision, your goals, and your plans because these help you set priorities. Each day, identify the tasks you must accomplish and prioritize them. Also, set aside time to invest in your future. If you have yet to write out your life priorities, then take time to do this. It could be the most important hour that you spend in your life.
2. Say No.
Be fiercely protective of your time. Make sure each new commitment adds value for you. Do what is necessary and then stop. Rather than ask yourself, "What can I do?" ask, "What can I not do?" Avoid low value tasks, new projects, and distractions. Then tell people about your decisions. Huge amounts of effort are wasted by people trying to complete tasks that someone else decided to ignore.
3. Schedule Life.
Even if you ride an accelerating treadmill, you can step off once in a while. Leave work at 5:00 p.m. on Friday. Take Saturday or Sunday off. Give yourself a two minute break to close your eyes, rub your neck, or meditate. Set a date with family members for a meal or an activity. You may want to put this date on your calendar as if it were an important business appointment because it is.
4. Protect Yourself.
When you’re tired, your efficiency falters. Thus, eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, avoid toxic habits, and exercise (use the stairs, do crunches or push-ups in your office, take a five minute yoga break). If possible, schedule exercise as if it were a business appointment.
5. Be Efficient.
Spend time only with people who add value to your life. Buy only from companies that provide adequate support. Hold effective meetings. Decline invitations to meetings without an agenda as I guarantee these will accomplish nothing. Avoid conflicts; they always cost time to repair. Keep your cool; anger always costs you more than what it achieves. Take a moment to plan before starting a task.
Above all set goals for your work and your life. A good work life balance and a time management strategy will keep you on track and avoid becoming overwhelmed.