How to Manage Time, Wellness, and Self: Part One

Today, the average employee has a lot on their plate. In addition to work, they have to worry about managing their time, their own personal wellness, and self. At Culture Works, we recognize that many might not know where to start. (Yes, it can be overwhelming!)

Moreover, sharing these tips with your employees from the top down can prove extremely beneficial.

So, we’re here with the first part of our three-part series. Today, we’re talking about time management. 

How to Level Up Your Time Management Skills

What is time management anyway? According to MindTools, time management is “the process of organizing and planning how to divide your time between different activities.”

At Culture Works, we believe that there are three pillars that contribute to successful time management.

  • Awareness
  • Arrangement
  • Adaptation

Let’s talk about each in a bit more detail.

Awareness

What is awareness? When it comes to time management, awareness is thinking realistically about your time by understanding it’s a limited resource.

There are many practices to develop awareness. Here are two practices that we’ve found to work at Culture Works:

Define Your Peak Performance Time

Break your typical day into three to four time slots. For example:

  • Early morning: 6 am to 9 am
  • Late morning: 9 am to 12 pm
  • Afternoon: 12 pm to 3 pm
  • Evening: 3 pm to 6 pm

Your time slots, based on your work and self, might look different! Perhaps you have three slots of longer time as opposed to four. The options are endless.

Anyway, once you’ve broken apart your day, over the course of a week, rank-order these slots from your most to least productive. Then, organize your to-do list based on your hours of peak productivity.

Shift Your Perspective

Another practice to develop awareness is by gaining some perspective. When working, ask yourself: How will the tasks I am doing right now help or hurt me in the future?

Then, adjust your work accordingly.

Arrangement

Let’s move on to the second pillar of time management: Arrangement. Proper arrangement means designing and organizing your goals, plans, schedules, and tasks to use time effectively.

There are many practices to take control of arrangement. Here are two practices that we’ve found to work at Culture Works:

Schedule Protected Time

Interruptions happen, especially with remote work—so plan for it! Make calendar appointments with yourself to ensure focused time dedicated to your most important projects.

This will help build accountability.

Prioritize Activities and Obligations

Make these things a priority. Oftentimes, it is not enough to simply list out your tasks, to-do lists, and meetings.

Adaptation

The third and final pillar of time management is adaptation. Adaptation is when you monitor time while performing activities and adjust to interruptions.

There are, of course, practices to master adaptation. Here are two ideas that we’ve found to work:

Sprints, Not Marathons

We know… Marathons are impressive! When it comes to work, however, using a short burst of effort toward completing a task can be effective. Remember, progress, no matter how small, is still progress.

Use Meaningful Reminders

The reminders you set in place should have detailed explanations or descriptions.

Time Management Capacity (and Time Blocking!)

Another practice we recommend is the use of capacity buckets to hit targets. This is a simple, four-step process you can use to manage your time successfully:

  1. Identify buckets (work at hand)
  2. Allocate goals
  3. Block time
  4. Reflect on outcomes

However, we believe number three could use a bit more detail.

What is Time Blocking?

“If you don’t control your schedule, it will control you.” —Todoist

First, what is time blocking? Time blocking, according to Todoist, “is a time management method that asks you to divide your day into blocks of time. Each block is dedicated to accomplishing a specific task, or group of tasks, and only those specific tasks.”

Time blocking, for some, might look like the below:

Time Blocking Example

But how do you time block?

  1. Review Your Week: Prioritize items on the list (i.e. urgent vs. non-urgent, deadlines vs. recurring tasks)
  2. Break Down Tasks: Daily, weekly, monthly, meetings, administrative
  3. Estimate Time for Tasks: Slot time boxes into your calendar, review your estimates and results, batch related tasks together
  4. Completing Tasks: Devote your entire focus, close other browsers, put your phone away, find a quiet place, do not respond to emails and/or instant messaging

Not yet seeing the benefit? Below, we’ve provided an example of someone who doesn’t time block vs. someone who does.

Time Blocking vs. Not Time Blocking Example
Image courtesy of Todoist.

Using Covey’s Four Quadrants to Unlock Time Management Success

Lastly, we’d like to introduce the four quadrants of the Covey Time Management Matrix. We promise – it is not as scary as it sounds… (And it’s definitely not as scary as the 1999 Keanu Reeves film!)

Covey’s four quadrants help prioritize your tasks based on urgency and importance. Each task lies in one of four quadrants labeled one through four.

Take a peek below.

Covey’s Four Quadrants Time Management

For example, an HR emergency would land in quadrant one whereas long-term planning or relationship building might land in quadrant two. Quadrant three might be home to interruptions, emails, calls, meetings, and so on. Try to steer clear of tasks in quadrant four; for example, busy work and time sucks.

Stay Tuned for Parts Two and Three!

So, there you have it! Our best tips on how to level up your time management skills. Stay tuned for parts two and three of our series, where we’ll discuss how to manage your personal wellness and self.

Interested in benefitting your employees? Read on for 10 unique ways to support your company culture through human connection.

How to Managing Time, Wellness, and Self

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