Time management is a must when working in a high-stress environment. Throughout the day, there are many competing priorities battling for our attention. The way in which we respond to these challenges can determine the course of our working lives. Connor Mulvey, an honors graduate of Loyola University Maryland, explains how proper time management can help anyone succeed in the workplace.
According to Connor Mulvey, a Chicago native, the first principle of time management to keep in mind is the management of distractions. In today’s fast-paced digital world, we are often required to respond to messages within a few minutes of the time when they are received. This “always-on” mind-set can be truly damaging to our productivity. As much as possible, turn off notifications while you are concentrating on a task. Let your coworkers know that you are reachable once per hour or less frequently, depending on your preferences.
The constant chatter in a busy office can also be damaging to productivity. If you work in a cubicle, break people of the habit of stopping by to chat. If you sit next to someone who entertains a lot of visitors, ask to be moved to another part of the office. If you have an office of your own, shut the door as often as you can.
You should also consider setting up filters or apps on your devices that will prevent you from using social media and other distracting websites. Freedom, a popular app for smartphones and PCs, is an excellent way to cut down the clutter in your mental environment.
Each day draw up a list of every task you need to accomplish. Rank these tasks from top to bottom priority. Do your top priority tasks first. When you are organizing your task list, decide what are the most important to get done today and which could possibly wait until tomorrow. You may need to build some time into your schedule for tasks that your supervisor or other employees may bring to you during the day.
Prioritizing your to-do list will also help you determine which tasks should be done by someone else in your organization. Go over this list with your supervisor and find out how many of them you can change.
Protect Your Time
When you are managing your priorities in a busy office, you need to make sure that you are protecting your valuable time. As much as possible, make sure that only authorized people are bringing you assignments. It can be extremely problematic when someone outside your team decides to monopolize your time. If your direct supervisor can’t protect you from these people, be assertive and protect your time.
When you are constantly trying to multitask, your attention is pulled into too many directions at once. You will find yourself always scattered and anxious. As much as you can, focus on one task at a time. This will keep you calm and focused. Your coworkers will become accustomed to your new workflow.
Do Take Breaks
It may be that you work best when you take a break hourly. It is also a good idea to get up and stretch to avoid some of the problems that come with working in a sedentary job. Many people find that a walk outside is the best kind of break. Whatever makes you ready to come back to work with a smile on your face is a worthy way to spend your time.
Get Enough Sleep and Food
In a high-pressure work environment, it is tempting to run on caffeine and to avoid getting a good night’s sleep. On the contrary, you should be making rest a priority to make sure your mind works at its top capacity. Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Stop drinking coffee in the early afternoon.
Make your bedroom a restful place where you don’t do anything involved with work. If you have to bring work home, do it outside your bedroom. Keep your room cool, quiet, and dark. Listen to progressive relaxation music if you have difficulty falling asleep.
Focus on nourishing your body so that you will be able to achieve the best possible performance. Get plenty of protein and vegetables and try to avoid sugary snacks when you can.
Shift Your Focus
Working in a high-stress environment can be damaging. Using these tips can help you create order from chaos. Prioritize the tasks you need to complete, and make sure that no one infringes on your valuable time.
Shifting your focus from overwork to thoughtful work can help you create new prosperity for yourself. Connor Mulvey recommends following these guidelines to make time management easy.