Andrew Mellen is an expert professional organizer and life coach on how to effectively manage your time between work and home. He tells his clients, “There is enough time in a day for what is important when you KNOW what is important.” If you don’t prioritize your tasks by importance you will have this “I don’t know where to start” type of feeling. We’ve all been there. The common “I don’t have enough time in a day” myth in society can be put to rest with these simple tips and tricks from Andrew Mellen.
Where Does the Time Go?
Being busy may not be your central problem. How you spend your time is. Time management can be overwhelming when it comes to balancing work and life tasks. You cannot manage time. You can only manage your relationship with time. All we can do is manage ourselves and our relationship to the clock.
Andrew discussed 5 things that occur in your day to day routine:
- Interruption versus Distraction - Interruptions happen to you, distractions are self-generated. Communication and Technology interrupts us every 10 minutes and it takes 23 minutes to recover from one of those interruptions
- Multitasking - doing too many things at one time. Decide what is urgent and what is important and put the earlier deadline first.
- Overcommitting - Learn how to say “no”. It is perfectly okay to say “no”. Don’t try to juggle a million tasks and think that each one of them will turn out the way you want it to.
- Procrastination - don’t put things off too long. Prioritize your day to day tasks and long term plan. You will end up stressing yourself out and having to cram in work at the last minute. There is no magic secret formula to curing procrastination.
- Meetings - it is important to make sure with your meetings that you are using your time wisely. Make sure that you are present in your meetings in order to make your time valuable.
How to Get Organized:
Your calendar is to time, what your budget is to money. Every decision you make about how you will spend your time in a day is based on your calendar. Check email only when you have time to read it and answer it. Don’t answer during your most productive time in a day.
Exchange excellence for perfection. We can all get to excellence, but no one will be perfect. Try to put away the people pleasing and perfection tactics and realize that reaching excellence is more than enough.
Focus on important instead of urgent. When the house is on fire, urgent and important will be in sync. When the house is not literally on fire, urgent will always trump important even if you do not know what is important. To discover your core values to determine what is urgent versus what is important Andrew has Core Value Exercises available in his book Unstuff Your Life.
Eat the frog. This is a phrase coined by Mark Twain. If you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, the rest of the day gets better. Take on that big thing that you have been putting off in order to make the rest of your day go smoothly.
Delegate. No matter who you are or what you’re needing to get done, everybody has somebody they can delegate to. You must be willing to let go of your perfectionism and spread tasks across your team. Not everything has to be on you. You can let go of that.
You Can Bank Money. You Cannot Bank Time.
Everyone gets the same amount of time in a day and has the same 168 hours in a week. It’s how you use your time that matters. Are you using your time effectively? Andrew shared with us an app called Toggl that helps you track your time by the second. You simply set the timer every time you begin a new part of your day. This app will help you show where you are truly spending most of your time. Andrew recommends to even track the simple things like how long it takes you to get to work or how long you eat your lunch.
Leverage something that used to hobble you into something that you can actually work with. Andrew has a plethora of helpful tips and guidance to help you manage your time effectively to make sure your workdays are productive.