For any young professional, time management is tough to tackle. With the innovations and advancements in tech media, our lives are constantly bombarded with digital stimuli; it doesn’t take much to detour your day. Distractions like Buzzfeed, Instagram, and others offer an express ride down the rabbit hole. While very few truly master time management, I thought I’d put together a short list of tips that have helped me stay on and begin the long journey towards time management, albeit very slowly.
Don’t Be Afraid To Say “No”
One of the most challenging aspects of the workforce in your 20’s is feeling the demand to ‘prove yourself.’ You think by accepting more work than, say, your coworker, you are validating your work ethic. In reality, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Know your limits; don’t be afraid to say “No”. Overloading your professional plate will do more harm than good. It’s not how much you get done that shows ethic, it’s how well you’re doing the work.
You’ve likely heard this from every professor you’ve had: you accomplish more by dividing one large task into many smaller tasks. Seems crazy, right? Well, it’s true. Your brain manages a process best by allowing it “little wins”. Plan, then execute. Then plan some more, then execute further. Divide that intimidating project your manager gave you last week into 20 single tasks. Ask yourself what pieces are needed to complete the whole. Plan, then execute. Then plan some more, then execute further. Gain momentum. Believe me – you’ll be all smiles as you consistently check items off the task list!
Keep Your Personal Life Out of It
This may seem like common sense, but leave the personal drama at home. The influential French author Gustav Flaubert once said, “Be regular and orderly in your life so you may be violent and original in your work.” When your personal life isn’t a complete mess, you won’t feel as distracted in the workplace. Tidy up any loose ends before heading into the office – I promise it will greatly improve your productivity!
20 Min or Bust
This tip is pretty simple. It takes more than 20 minutes to start a task, re-file it and begin another. Productivity relies heavily on your momentum, which is why having larger projects divided into smaller tasks works so well. The longer a project takes, the more it drains your morale. By collecting those “little wins” throughout the day, you’re far less likely to crave a distraction!
Wear A Watch
It’s rare that I’m caught without a watch. It has become one of the most integral parts of my productivity. I assign my tasks fairly strict time limits so I focused throughout the day. You don’t need all the bells and whistles, just a timepiece that can serve your needs during the work-day. I recently picked up this handsome watch from COACH – minimal, stylish, and light as a feather. I love that it not only adds style to my workspace, but it also helps to accelerate my momentum. You should never have to guess what time it is – wear a watch, save yourself the minutes.
Manage Your Energy
It’s important that you give yourself breaks throughout the day because – look – we’re only human. During my work week, I give myself two 30-minute breaks and 3 ten-minute breaks. In my half-hour breaks, I’ll run an errand, watch a TED talk, text a friend… whatever I need to do to relax my mind. In my 10-minute breaks, I’ll always step away from my desk, stretch my legs, and just breathe. Breaks are as important as the tasks at hand. You wouldn’t drive a car without gas, so don’t push your body and mind beyond their limits either.
I hope these top-level tips help to eliminate some of the stress and cacophony of your profession. Work-life balance is an important part of your overall happiness and satisfaction, so don’t forget to put the work away and enjoy your evenings.
This post was sponsored by COACH watches and the #TimeForCoach campaign. In this post, I’m wearing the Bleecker Slim Watch in gold featuring a black leather strap. You can shop the full collection of COACH timepieces here. Which one is your favorite?
Scout Sixteen is a lifestyle blog from Justin Livingston. Justin grew up in Mississippi but relocated to New York City in 2008. On Scout Sixteen, Justin shares his passion in fashion, travel, food and drink, and mental wellness.