There are few resources more precious than time. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day, and according to professional-development expert and WordSmithRapport CEO Karima Mariama-Arthur, there are two ways you can go about using them. First, you can move will-nilly through your day and “fall into activity,” she says, but this isn’t the best option. It’s better to be proactive and engage in tasks that are likely to yield the highest return on your time investment. Easier said than done? In a helpful post for Black Enterprise, Mariama-Arthur shares “3 Strategies for Ultimate Time Management.” Spare a few minutes of your precious time and read on for a summary of her advice.
1. Start With an End Goal — Before the workweek begins, think about what you’d like to accomplish by Friday afternoon. Mariama-Arthur calls these “critical outcomes,” and she recommends listing no more than 10. Next, set aside certain times each day to work toward these objectives. Along the way, it’s possible other tasks will pop up and compete for your attention, and when they do, some analysis is required. If the new project is more timely, by all means, put your critical outcomes aside. But if you take a close look, Mariama-Arthur writes, truly pressing things come along less often than you’d think.
2. Nix the Distractions — If we’re honest with ourselves, we know what what types of distractions we’re most susceptible to. Some of us love looking at friends’ photos on Facebook or Instagram. Others like chatting with coworkers near the coffee machine. In order to really make headway with those critical outcomes, Mariama-Arthur writes, we must confront distractions in advance, before they have a chance to eat up all our valuable time.
3. Self-Evaluate Regularly — Tips No. 1 and 2 may not be easy, and given the ever-changing nature of life and business, you may need to make adjustments, even when your strategies are working. The only way you’ll know, Mariama-Arthur writes, is by performing daily and weekly assessments. At the end of each day, take a moment to ask yourself what’s working and what isn’t. At the end of the week, take a step back and look for patterns. When are you most successful in working toward those critical outcomes? Are there distractions you never even noticed throwing you off your game? Take stock, make notes, and move forward!