For the next few weeks I will be sharing some of the practices that work best for me. They are not revolutionary or out of the box, but sometimes you just need a reminder. Also, changing your habits and routine is easier said than done.
Plan Out Your Week (or Day) Ahead
If you want to begin using your time more effectively, start at the beginning. On Sunday afternoons, I sit down and look over all of the assignments, meetings and due dates that are coming up in the week ahead. Before Monday I have already prioritized assignments and carved out time in the afternoons and evenings to work on them.
Know about how much time each task will take, and then add in some wiggle room. This is especially important if others are contributing portions of the project, but you are the one who ultimately has to turn it in. Plan for the worst so you are not stressed when tasks take longer than you would like them too. Also, budget time for interruptions.
Of course, you will not know of all tasks and meetings a week in advance. As new assignments arise, adjust accordingly. You can't expect to always follow your schedule with military precision, so be flexible and adjust as needed.
Take the time beforehand to make a game plan so you aren't caught off guard in the middle of the week and have to burn the midnight oil working to finish a project. The importance of looking to the week ahead is to make sure you don't let anything slip through the cracks.
- Look over all assignments, meetings, due dates coming up
- Prioritize deadlines and pencil in specific time in your day to work on each one
- Budget extra time for delays and interruptions
- Each day quickly look over your schedule and to-do list and adjust it for any last-minute tasks that arise