Written by B. Lynn Gordon (former SDSU Extension Agricultural Leadership Specialist).
Have you ever heard anyone say they are not busy? I am guessing not. No matter how much technology we have at our finger tips or improved ways to complete an agricultural related task, you won’t find many people saying they don’t have their plate full or even over-flowing. Heavy workloads, and the feeling of being overwhelmed or stressed does not may our days very enjoyable. Is the reason for always seeming busy a time management issue? and learning some important tips to help your organize your time and help with focus. Here are five tips to consider to help you organize your time and focus:
1. Prioritize your tasks/responsibilities.
Do you say, “I don’t have time” because you think you don’t have time available. Is this truly the case? Or could you be letting other issues creep in and take away your extra time. Without prioritizing tasks you may end up doing a task that has lower impact or importance over one that is much more critical to your agricultural enterprise or has a short deadline and must be dealt with immediately.
2. Time Management is not a myth.
Time management is crucial. It does include prioritization of tasks, understanding or estimating how long a task will take, knowing what is on your to do list, etc., but it really in the end is how you manage your time. If you fail to focus on the “time element,” of your tasks and day, you will always feel overwhelmed and like you are not progressing forward.
3. Articulate what you have time to do.
Be clear and communicate with your supervisor or fellow co-workers what you have time to do. If you say yes, to everything sent your way, you can actually bring the team down by taking on too much and not being able to complete what you said you could. If your projects take longer than you expected, speak up and let others like your supervisor or manager know. This will prevent them from relying on you for completing a task you don’t have the time to do and from them being upset that you are not doing your job adequately.
4. Find a system that works for you.
Everyone has a different preference for how they could develop or adjust to organizing their time. Some like to make written to do lists and carry that list with them and check off items as they go. Others find putting their tasks into their phone so they can receive a notice when a project should be started or finished, or they want to list deadlines or projected deadlines on their phone calendar. I know some people who has an alarm go off on their phone so they don’t forget to do a particular item such as: make that phone call to the farm co-op to order parts or call the seed dealer.
5. Stay in control.
Letting your busy schedule overwhelm you, results in poorer quality work, lack of contentment with your job, added stress and pressure. Some believe they work the best under pressure, however, long term working under constant pressure can become addictive and take toll on you, your health and you’re working relationships. Balance is essential to prevent burn out, mistakes and frustrations.
The Bottom Line
Learning and implementing good time management into your daily routine will give you more freedom to do the things you really want to do and feel like you have accomplished your role with more control and satisfaction.