YourABA: March 2013
YourABA April 2013 Masthead

5 time management tips for achieving balance

Tame your schedule and to-do lists with these five tips to help you find a better balance from a recent article in The Young Lawyer.

  1. Track your time. Learning where and how time is spent will help you understand what needs to change in your current time management techniques. This is just like tracking where you are spending to gain control of your finances. Track the time you spend both at work and at home and then take steps toward a more balanced schedule.

  2. Get a time plan. Working from your current calendar system, make sure you know which appointments require special attention. Mark down those times as being unavailable so you can focus on them exclusively. Recent time management studies suggest that we are much better at focusing on one task than multitasking. Do one thing at a time by placing major projects and personal task items directly on your calendar and allocating enough time in your schedule to accomplish them.

  3. Try out technology. Use automated timers, note-taking programs or apps, and electronic reminder systems to help manage your time. There are also many free voice-assistant services available for today’s smartphone and tablet devices. Try out Siri on the iOS or Jeannie on the Android OS. Apps like Vlingo (free, Android) and Dragon Dictation (free, iPhone and iPad) can also extend this functionality to help you save time. You can dictate quick text messages, tweets and emails faster than you can type them on the small keyboards of most mobile devices. Look up productivity apps in the Great Apps directory to find more tools for your mobile devices. For Macs and PCs, learn to use practice management and document management software to help stay organized and in control of information.

  4. Hone your habits. Fine tune work and personal habits to save time. Pay attention to your daily habits. Put items you need every day in the same place. Limit the number of places you store items so you can find them fast. Learn which environments make you most productive. Once you get your body and mind on track with what really works for you, you can be more productive and focus on getting more done.

  5. Block out your day for everyday tasks. You can set up specific time slots to deal with and delegate both calendar entries and email so you are in more control of your time. Begin by setting up times to check voicemail and email. Turn off the notifications that interrupt you as you work and then focus on only checking email and voicemail at your set times. There will be interruptions, but they can be managed by either addressing them immediately, if they require little to no time to complete or by delegating them to be handled at later times or by someone else. Keep things in motion by either dealing with them or moving them to times you will deal with them. Make it a goal to have all of your time blocked out each day going forward.

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