How to Keep Up in the Digital Age
According to the ABC News Report: Americans: Overworked, Overstressed (May, 2018) today’s workers are feeling the crunch of less time and more demands. Most employees clock in at over 50 hours per week (CNBC.com), with few now claiming to work the once ‘expected’ 40 hour work week. However, the average project manager works an average of 55-60+ hours per week (PMI.ie), leaving those within the project management community with even fewer hours in the day to handle outside work duties, chores, and leisure activities. In an economy that is demanding we produce more with less, and that prioritizes results- how are we to maintain a healthy balance in our lives?
Barring the ability to create more hours in the day (which we cannot do), we must become experts of our own time, and create strategies and practices that lend to better time management. Continuous long work hours, unchecked stress and unrealistic expectations are leading causes of work-related burnout. By becoming experts at managing our own time, we can avoid future stress-related mental and physical health issues, as well as work dissatisfaction. But how do we get started making the shift from over-worked employee to the master of our own time?
- Remove distractions. Love to hang out and share the latest gossip at the water cooler? Do you jump every time your phone dings to show you an update on your Twitter feed? Are you following the latest news on current political debates or addicted to your CNN feed? From 9-5, shut it down. The average person spends 2 hours a day engaging in social media alone. If you feel like you are getting further and further behind at work but you are always the first to comment on a new Instapic from your best friend,it might be time to hide your phone during peak work hours.
- Ask yourself ‘is this important’? Many of us have activities that keep us ‘busy’ but are these busy activities important? For instance, are you working on tasks that no one else is really concerned with, or that never come to fruition? Even if these activities are more enjoyable than others, ask yourself- are they more enjoyable than some extra time with your family or a night our with friends? Replacing these work ‘time wasters’ with priorities, and you might discover that you are packed and ready to go by 5:00 after all!
- Meet-less. If you’re a middle manager, it’s likely about 35% of your time is spent in meetings, and if you’re in upper management, it can be a whopping 50%. Meetings can be a fantastic way to take a team’s temperature and make sure everyone is on the same page, but only if these meetings are ‘productive’. If you spend more time arguing that discussing and find that these interactions lead to more confusion and conflict than compromise- it might be time to think of a more streamlined means of communication.
- Automate. Once upon a time, it was normal for us to have to spend hours of our time making in-depth Excel spreadsheets, timelines, or job lists. Or, we have to spend entire weeks at conferences or read large books to earn our PDU credits. Today, employees have access to cutting edge tools and templates (such as those found on ProjectManager.com) that can increase our productivity while saving us time. PDUs2Go mobile platform provides Project Managers with the ability to earn their recertification credits ‘on the go’, in convenient 60 PDU packages. Take advantage of those hours wasted in traffic, riding the stationary bike or unwinding after work with content from award winning authors, all on your mobile phone. While we are certainly faced with a culture that prioritizes business over a healthy balance, there are things that we can do within our own work environment to help support a more favorable structure. PDUs2Go.com’s Managing Projects at the Speed of Time also offers an array of advice from award-winning authors to help you regain control of your time and schedule, and to get more done with less time:
No matter what your role or responsibilities, cutting time wasters, automating your processes, and removing distractions are an excellent way to reclaim some of your valuable time. Try some of these recommendations today, just in time to look forward to a work-free weekend!
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