Time management continues to be a touchy subject, and this morning I woke up wondering how you are at juggling your personal life with your professional life? We’re told time and again to leave our personal lives at home and our work lives at work, but that’s far easier said than done. Often times we wonder how we’ll get the kids from point A to point B, how we’ll get the bills paid, or what we’re going to feed our families after work. Of course, there are often far more important concerns that edge their way into our days.
I’ve seen far too many good employees get sucked into the time management trap. They spend a considerable amount of time worrying about or trying to plan their personal lives and eventually the quality of their work project begins to suffer. This is especially difficult to handle when the employee in question is in a management position and his or her subordinates begin floundering because they have no one to turn to with their questions and problems. A supervisor with personal time management concerns can easily become unorganized and cause the entire department to crumble apart.
It’s important to take the steps necessary to ensure your personal time is as organized as possible so that your day to day concerns don’t have a negative impact on your work life.
Try incorporating the following tips into your daily routine, whether you’re a manager or not:
• Make a prioritized to-do list on a daily basis. Write down everything that needs to be done and then break those tasks down into categories. For example, activities marked with an “A” might be the most important; “B” may be the second most important; and so forth. Make a separate list for your personal life and work life.
• Keep a log of your daily activities. Writing down everything you do each day, from brushing your teeth to checking your email, will help you identify the things you are doing that simply waste time. You don’t need to check your email 20 times each morning!
• Set some personal goals. Setting both short-term and long-term goals will help you to focus and develop a sense of direction. People focused on a goal have less trouble managing their time. These goals can be personal or professional, but I recommend writing a few goals for both aspects of your life.
I personally experienced a huge boost in productivity when I started keeping track of my daily tasks and prioritizing what really needed to be done. I was able to clear my mind at the start of each day, approach my work tasks at work, manage my team, and then effectively switch gears and address my personal tasks after hours.
Start with these exercises and let me know whether or not they help you to both manage your time and keep your personal and professional lives separated. I’m positive you’ll see great improvements!
Originally published: 27 August, 2008
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