Time Management and Organisational Skills
Some key principles
- Keep it simple
- Work on only a few issues at a time
- Habits are acquired by working on the same task over a long period of time
1. PLANNING and GOAL SETTING
Planning is an investment in the future. It is the way in which we ensure success because it enables us to turn dreams into achievements. Planning enables us to see where we are in relation to where we would like to be. forces us to think ahead to the future and to anticipate events. helps us take all the relevant factors into account When we plan we must look at our long term goals and break these up into immediate and short term goals..
Some ideas to use when planning:
- When given a project begin the task the day you are given it and do something towards it every day thereafter. This is the Swiss cheese method.
- Write down all you will need to do. Set mini deadlines. It is even better if you get other people to set these with you.
- Put the plan up somewhere prominent where you will see it often.
- Watch out for “time thieves” that get in the way of you achieving your goals.
- Learn to estimate how long things will take you to do. Always err on the side of over-estimating how long it will take.
- We will always have competing demands for our time so we need to develop skill in prioritizing tasks. “What is the most important use of my time right now?” It takes wisdom and practice to figure out the best use of our time at any given point.
- Set time limits when planning. It is often possible to keep working on a task indefinitely but this prevents us moving on to our next goal. Planning requires we set realistic standards of achievement for ourselves.
- Use other people to help you plan: a supervisor, coach or college lecturer can be helpful here.
- Avoid procrastination by playing games with yourself: do one unpleasant task before rewarding yourself; ask others to make demands of you; take a bet on doing something. It is always possible to create new habits.
- Deal with your fear of failure by visualizing yourself as a success.
Planning and goal setting go hand in hand. If you have no goals you cannot achieve anything.
When you set goals:
- Be specific
- Identify priorities
- Write it down
- List the barriers
- Break it down into its parts (Swiss cheese method)
- Assume success
- Identify the first steps and then determine the next steps in the sequence
2. ORGANISATIONAL SKILLS
“The only way to begin is to begin”
A. TIME MANAGEMENT:
- Develop a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly routine
- Use an appointment book, diary, calendar, electronic organizer, cell phone Use only one system and avoid creating complicated or new systems
- Use beepers, alarm clocks, pagers, clocks which show how much time is left
- No matter how you do it find a way to get up on time
- Identify the best times of day for doing various tasks. Work on the most important part of the project where your energy is high. Use low energy time to do more mundane tasks
- Figure out ways to motivate yourself to begin
- Behave as it time is within your control
- Develop the art of estimating how long things will take but allow extra time for all tasks because your ADHD will prevent you using all the available time
- Aim to finish the task before the due date
B. TASK MANAGEMENT
- Set clear goals and have ways to remind yourself of your obligations
- Swiss cheese method to break tasks down into their component parts. Complete one task each day beginning on the day you are given the project. Keep all the things you do towards the project in one place such as a box or a file on the computer
- Use white boards, post it notes and other systems to remind yourself of things
- Limit the number of projects you have on the go at any one time
- Do, Dump, Delegate, Defer
- Manage the documents and paper. Do one unpleasant task
- Create patterns and routines where possible
- Chunk together similar activities
C. POSSESSION MANAGEMENT
- Divide all possessions into four categories of use: always, often, seldom and never. Get rid of everything in the never category. Anything you have not used for more than a year usually belongs in this category.
- Cluster possessions into categories: keep your gardening things in a single place
- Create “homes” for your possessions. This is especially important with items like keys and cell phones.
- Clean the clutter
- Take a photograph in your mind when you put things down in unusual places
- Create a simple system to deal with paperwork and filing
D. SPACE MANAGEMENT
- Simplify the physical environment and clear out clutter regularly
- Provide a clear space in which to work. If necessary tip what is lying around into a box and get working
- Get the equipment you need
- Make room to move
- Develop functional systems
- Place your desk so that it faces away from “traffic”
- Manage noise and distractions. This includes how you use the coffee machine or water cooler at work.
What is the one thing I can do consistently that would make the biggest difference in my life?