Time management may not seem the most exciting topic to read about but if by the end of this blog I or anyone else has learnt something, then it has been a worthwhile exercise.
The biggest problem I have with completing projects is allowing me to get side-tracked and switch tasks (multitasking) to the point where I end up trying to do numerous projects throughout the day. After doing some time management tutorials online from Lynda.com it’s becoming clear that multi-tasking decreases productivity and increases stress levels. To combat this I am going to try and practice setting myself more time to focus on one job, without switch tasking or letting myself be interrupted by emails or online messaging. With emails I will set myself 3-4 times a day to respond and make sure my phone is facing down while working. I have also setup forwarding addresses from my three emails into one, making it easier to see all emails in one location thus saving time.
The next biggest problem I have is the massive to do list inside my head; this also promotes stress and takes my focus away from the task at hand. To help with this I spent some time writing down everything I could that needs doing with help from some trigger words made available from Lynda. This list was then put in my inbox to be transferred later into my calendar and planning software. I am using Trello but you could also use One Note etc.
One good tip that stood out during this course was the saying “if the task will take more than five minutes put it in your calendar. If the task can be completed within five minutes DO IT NOW!” Also if you have similar tasks that can be batched together then assign them into respective groups and calendar in some time to complete these. Doing tasks that are similar in nature requires less switching.
Mentioned in the course was a three step tip that we do sometimes without thinking but can sometimes be forgotten when busy or stressed. This is the “What? Where? When? Process “
What refers to, first analysing a task and deciding what the next logical step is. This can be sometimes overlooked when rushing.
Where refers to the place in which the item / task is to be stored or actioned.
When refers back to the five minute rule of thumb regarding when this task should be completed. This also includes prioritising jobs to give you the maximum amount of time per job in respective order.
Overall these small changes have made me start thinking about work in a new light. I am going to start strive for a healthier work, life balance ratio which can increase productivity, quality of work and quality of life. Audio engineering is especially acquired taste in terms of lifestyle and can be quite hard to manage. Often this is not a lot of repetition and adjustments to workflow need to be changed on a daily basis. Because of this it can be tempting to fall into the trap of multitasking; learning to say no to someone so you can focus on the job at hand is an important skill to learn.
Crenshaw, Dave (2015) Time Management Fundamentals Retrieved from http://www.lynda.com/Outlook-tutorials/Time-Management-Fundamentals/77533-2.html