by Shannon Senger, Director of Human Resources and Administration at Remedy Intelligent Staffing
As a busy professional, I often find myself sitting at my desk, looking at a never-ending to-do list. I cross one thing off and immediately add three more. Then after the workday is over, I go home and find a similar list waiting for me in my personal life. Sound familiar? When we wear a lot of hats, it can be difficult to figure out who and what should come first and where our time should be focused.
How many hats do you wear? Have you experienced time management stress?
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to attend our company’s annual franchise conference. Along with several colleagues, I completed many workshops throughout the week, but one of them changed the way I look at everything. The workshop’s purpose was to teach us how to look at our roles and tasks and efficiently prioritize each of them in order to be the most effective we can possibly be.
Our professional and personal roles in life frequently intertwine. In the workshop, we were asked to make a list of all roles we fulfill. For me, the list included employee, boss, daughter, sister, friend, runner, mentor, and colleague. It was truly eye-opening to see how many roles I attempt to juggle every day. After creating this list, we spent some time thinking about the self-perceived level of importance we place on each role. This helped me to identify what is most important in all aspects of my life.
What roles do you play? Which of these roles are most important to you? Role priority can shift frequently, so what we deem to be most important today might not be priority 6 months or a year from now. That’s okay!
With each role comes a list of tasks we must complete in order to consider ourselves successful within that role. Hence the never-ending to-do list! This is where things started to change for me. The presenter showed us how to look at each task with respect to urgency, importance, and value of output. Then we learned how to categorize tasks into buckets (similar to the rock-sand-water theory … look it up!) and keep those things that carry the highest value at the forefront of our time management and scheduling. Once those things are set, we can fill in around them with the smaller, less critical tasks.
I have found great value in shifting the way I look at my time management. I used to operate minute-by-minute with my task list each day and raced to cross every item off the list before the end of the day in order to feel complete and successful. Now I set aside time before the start of each week to schedule the most important tasks. By doing this, I have been able to ensure that I am doing the most valuable things in each of my roles before anything else. This was an instant stress reducer! When emergencies or urgent unforeseen tasks come up now, I take some of the filler tasks and shift them around to create space to resolve whatever issues are in front of me without having to delay the other important things I want or need to accomplish.
In conclusion, I learned that I do not have to give some things up in order to be successful in other aspects of my life. I feel more organized, energized, and productive in all of my roles.
How are you feeling? By looking at our roles and their respective tasks and seeing how we can reorganize to be the best version of ourselves—without changing who we are and what we value—we become time management masters and maximize what we are capable of accomplishing.
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