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The Grind

If You’re too Busy, Ask Yourself 3 Questions 

Despite the technological advances in the work place that facilitate task, time management remains a problem. 

Whether you are behind schedule because your boss keeps throwing more task your way, or you can’t schedule family time because you have too many competing priorities, getting a grip on time management is easier said than done.

Although we feel genuinely stressed about getting things done, inwardly many of us take relief in saying, “I’m too busy!”

Competent and ambitious professionals are expected to be busy. However, being too busy to get things done isn’t a professional asset. It puts stress on the system around us, emotionally and practically and can have negative effects on colleagues and final results.

Here are three questions to ask yourself to challenge your approach to getting things done:

1. What’s my mindset about time management?

Do you think time management is an oxymoron, or something that can be learned? If you feel it’s not doable, then this is a problem. You will never learn to manage your time without first believing it can be done.

Without a positive, mindset, you’re likely to stay stuck with the same old challenges.

2. How good am I at analyzing how much time each of my tasks will take?

Having an accurate understanding of how long some tasks will take, is critical to time management. If you’re regularly missing deadlines for tasks or showing up late for meetings, you need to sit down and track how long these tasks actually take and focus on the causes that make you late for meetings.

Unfortunately, we have a tendency to underestimate the time factor in task. The result is adding too much to our plates. Then we wonder why things aren’t getting done.

3. How regularly do I allow myself to be interrupted?

According to a UC Irvine study, research shows that people spend an average of 11 minutes on a project before they’re interrupted, and it takes about 25 minutes to get back to the point they were at before the distraction. The International Journal of Stress Management cites that professionals who are frequently interrupted have an increase in their levels of exhaustion and physical health problems, such as migraines or back pain.

Bottom line, the effects of interruptions on productivity, energy, and work satisfaction cost an estimated $588 billion a year in the U.S. And chances are, it’s costing you more than you know.

Track how often you’re interrupted at work–whether it’s by your boss, phone calls, text messages, or colleagues. Unfortunately, interruptions are typically handled right away without any consideration for priority. Peter Drucker, a management consultant was quoted as saying, “Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.”

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