It was just over a year ago that I was sitting in a library for 17 hours a day, paired with an extra large double double in my right hand and chocolate chip muffin in the left and very confident that there was no way I was going to get enough cramming done to prepare for my five final exams in six days. Yep. I remember those days. The phrase 'time management' was so cliche in university. Everybody talked about it, but no one actually practiced it.
While the words 'time management' all sound great in theory... Chances are good that, at some time in your life, you've taken a time management class, read about it in books, and tried to use an electronic or paper-based day planner to organize, prioritize and schedule your day, and you fell off the bandwagon real quick. Am I right?
Sadly, as you move out of post-secondary into the career world, time management is a must. You either learn it real quick, or you suffer in mounds of paper work and an endless 'to-do' list everyday. No. Fun.
Before you close the door on your post-secondary life, check out these '3 Essential Gen Y Time Management Tips' from blog writer Elizabeth Grace Saunders (found here) from the Huffington Post to get you on the right track to becoming a time management ninja in your next life adventure!
As a member of Gen Y, you have some advantages when it comes to time management, such as quickly understanding new technology and thriving in quickly changing work environments. But sometimes your natural strengths can keep you from having the best time investment when you transition from college to career. As a time coach, I've seen that Gen Y can benefit from these three tips:
1. Set the Pace, Instead of Letting Technology Set it For You
Just because someone sent you an e-mail or text, doesn't mean that you have to respond right away. It's essential that you set the pace of your workday so you can get important -- not just urgent -- items done. For example:
- Block out "communication free" times when you want to focus on a big project. This could include turning off your phone and going to a location without Wi-Fi access.
- Set the expectation that you will respond to e-mails in about 24 hours so people don't get used to an instant response.
- Limit the amount of time you spend on social media or avoid it completely at work so can stay focused.
2. Decide Whether Flexible Really is Best For You
Given the connectedness in our world, it's tempting to think that flexible hours and work locations will give you the optimal level of productivity. However for many people it doesn't, and you could actually accomplish more and feel less stressed if you had more structure to your day. To find out what's best for you, try out these strategies:
- Notice if you get more done and then have more fun (without guilt) outside of work if you set standard hours instead of having them vary from day-to-day.
- Observe whether or not you increase your productivity by being at an office or away from it. Where do you feel the most motivation?
- Pay attention to the type of activities you need to get done and the location and time that best suits them. For example, you may find that doing day-to-day items is best during the morning and early afternoon in the office. But then if you need to write a report or work on a complex problem, that you should head over to a coffee shop or the library in the late afternoon.
3. Respect Other Generations' Relationships With Time
Gen Y tends to have a more relative sense of time such as perceiving arriving five or even 15 minutes after the posted meeting time as still "on time," while other generations often believe that you should arrive at 3:55 PM for a 4 PM meeting. Of course a particular sense of timeliness can vary from person to person. But these tips can help you to show respect for your co-workers and thrive in your work environment:
- Pay attention to the company meeting norms. Does everyone arrive five minutes early or do the meetings tend to start late? Then try to match your behavior to your environment. It makes you look professional and dependable.
- Be observant of the expectations around deadlines. Does a due date of Tuesday mean that you have it e-mailed to your boss by 9 AM, or that it needs to arrive some time before midnight? Sometimes deadlines don't matter as much and other times they're extremely important. Get clear on the expectations and try to work within them.
- Respect the pace of decision-making and action. Sometimes, it's tempting to get impatient when you feel like everything is moving slowly and you don't understand why you need to do more research before moving forward. Instead of feeling frustrated and perceiving other generations' requests as attempts to thwart your plans, respect the fact that they have more experience than you do that may make them aware of potential issues you've never faced.
By following these three time investment tips, you can thrive in your work environment as a member of Gen Y.
All credit to 'Tuesday's Tip: 3 Essential College to Career Time Management Tips' can credited to blog writer Elizabeth Grace Saunders from the article "Essential Gen Y Time Management Tips" from the Huffington Post and can be found here.
Until next time,