Have you found yourself at the end of the day sitting at your desk while everyone else passes by, waving and going home? Are you the one on Friday afternoon, who someone thinks will work all weekend if they drop an important report on your desk that’s due by Monday morning? If you are one of those people—and trust me, we’ve all been there—one of the lessons to learn is that we must establish good habits to manage our time better. How do we do that? Here are five more tips for better time management:
Sync Your Devices
Have you ever been in a meeting and someone is scheduling future calendar items, but you are not sure when you are available because you haven’t been syncing your mobile device with your computer, and so you overbook yourself? Use software designed to sync your devices.
Allow Calendar Access
Give calendar access to those who need it, authorize people you trust, such as your team or family. They need to be able to see when you have blocked out your time so they know not to plan, overbook or commit you to something that conflicts with your schedule.
It’s hard to say no, and to practice doing it. Project managers typically try to accommodate everyone, but the best way to get things to work in our favor is to set boundaries. You do not have to justify or explain why you are saying no; “No” can be a complete sentence. If someone asks you to commit to something, just say “No” and leave it at that, and let there be a long pause. If you explain, that person may try to find a solution so that you are able to accommodate them; they will try to problem solve for you on your behalf.
Stop Drive-bys and Hot Potatoes
A drive-by is a person that comes by and drops the hot potato on your desk on Friday afternoon. Maybe they’ve held on to something all week, and leave it for you Friday to get done by Monday morning, which leaves you working weekends. Just avoid it altogether by putting a stop to it. Do not allow people to drop the hot potato in your lap.
Change Routines (when routines change)
Our routines do change; when they change, then change everything else. If you no longer work out in the morning, change your calendar. If you not longer have certain meetings, change your calendar. Depending on what work or projects you have, the systems change, so change your routines and calendars accordingly. Keep things up to date.
Bonus: How to Break Bad Habits. We usually find ourselves working overtime, weekends or holidays because we’ve established bad habits. We lose track of time, or we are watching and modeling others who have bad habits. Often the culture in a work environment is one of intimidation or peer pressure to work long hours, to work through lunch, holidays or weekends. That’s a bad habit, and we don’t have to do it. Break the habit. If there’s intimidation or peer pressure in your environment, get over it and protect yourself. It’s up to you to establish good work habits, and to control your time management.
If you found these tips from Jennifer Bridges, PMP (formerly, Jennifer Whitt) of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in her self-paced, downloadable courses at PDUs2Go.com.
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