Create: Time Management Quest

posted May 21, 2016, 11:24 AM by Emily Kroutil
Everyone that knows me knows that my husband and I are avid Star Wars fans.  Our dogs are named Luke and Leia (our previous lab was named Obi), and after our son was born, my husband reminded me that Obi Wan was also known as Ben Kenobi, thus continuing the Star Wars trend.  So when I saw that the Forbes article about time management discussed "Jedi time tricks", I knew I'd like it.  The article mentions quite a few time management tools.  I picked the 5 the would work best for me:
  1. Say no
    • I learned this one a long time ago.  If I say yes to everything that is asked of me, I won't get anything that I want to do done and the things I do have time to do will be done using about 50% of my effort (I believe they call this half-a$$ing it...) and won't come out as nicely as if I'd just agreed to do a few things.  When I was working on my masters thesis, I knew someone who said yes to everything that was asked of her.  This was nice when you wanted something from her because you knew she'd do it (Hey, can you go in the field with me tomorrow?), but she was constantly frazzled, lacking sleep, and worn down.  After seeing her like this, I vowed to never try and do more than I knew I could handle.  Sometimes, I think I can handle more than I really can because other, more important, things pop up (like a sick baby), but overall, I've learned to just say no or like the 4th time management trick, ignore it or pretend I didn't get the request email in time (Yeah, I do that....if you send an email to a lot of people asking them to cover your class and I know I have a lot of things to do that day, I might wait an hour or two to reply, hoping that someone else will volunteer).
    • This relates to both my personal and professional life.
  2. Schedule your priorities
    • If something is important to me, I've learned that I absolutely MUST schedule it.  I put all sorts of things in my calendar: my husband's work meetings that may cause him to be home late, my mom's doctor's appointments because I know she will be taking the baby if I'm at work or because I'll need to get home ASAP after school, the baby's and my doctor's appointments (obviously), faculty meetings, sick days (so I know how many I've taken), tutorial, the baby's month birthdays, trash day, recycling day, paydays, etc.  I also try to go on a walk/run (soon it will just be a run...) around 6pm each day.  So, I plan these things. I know that if I don't have a plan for when I do these things, that I won't get them done or I will forget them (pregnancy brain seems to have lasted at least 8 months past pregnancy...)
    • This relates to both my personal and professional life.
  3. First things first
    • I feel like I have a million demands on my time, both at work and at home.  I create lists at home and school so I don't forget the things I need to do.  Sometimes, my parents or husband ask, "why did' you do such and such?"  And I'll say, "It was on my list, but something else took priority..."  I try to mentally rank the tasks on my list and try and do the most urgent one first.  For example, I have both 'cleaning the house" and "washing my work clothes" on my home list.  Washing my work clothes always takes priority because I need those clean by Sunday night so I have something to wear to work the next week.  Same with my school list.  I have "clean my classroom" and "print such and such test".  Printing the test takes priority over cleaning my classroom because I have to have those copies made in order for my students to be able to take their test, while cleaning my classroom isn't necessary for anything to function (its not *that* messy!)
    • This relates to both my personal and professional life.
  4. Ignore
    • If there's something I know I can't do, but don't know how to tell someone I can't do it, as sad as it is, I ignore it.  Whether its neglecting to send a read receipt (you can choose whether you want to send one or not!), waiting to reply to someone's request (see above), or pretending I just didn't check my email and read something, I've found I have to do these things.  I just don't have the time to do everything that is asked of me.
    • This relates to both my personal and professional life.
  5. Kill notifications
    • I am SO guilty of checking my phone, looking at the notifications, checking that notification, then checking my email, then checking the deal of the day on amazon, then checking tracking for a package I'm waiting on, then checking my email (again), then checking Facebook, and finally putting down my phone.  This can take anywhere between a minute to many minutes, and is a complete waste of time and distracts me from my workflow and interrupts my train of thought.  So, I've started choosing the option "do not allow such and such app to send notifications" so I don't get as many notifications and get distracted.
    • This relates to both my personal and professional life.