5 Tips on How to Spend Time Well

by julia.hanigsberg | October 28th, 2013

One of my professional challenges is how to spend my time. Time is a precious resource as we all know. It is a cliché that we are all so busy! Every once in a while I feel like I hit a wall and have to do some re-evaluation—am I using my time in the smartest way?

Google “productivity” and you get 168,000 hits. I’m not the only one trying to figure out how to do more with less. Many of us are also committed to work-life integration: the quest to make our professional and personal worlds mesh to increase our well-being. For me this includes most days seeing my kids off to school and being home for dinner, making parent-teacher interviews, competitions and performances, most days getting a workout in before the workday begins, and having a chance to compare notes with my husband. All of which means there rarely feel like there are enough hours in the day.

So, here are some tips I’m testing out to make the most of my time:

  1. Put People First: meet with people who matter. For example, students who ask to meet with me always get priority and so will members of my team. In my work focusing on what students care about is critical to doing my job well.
  2. The 2 Minute Rule: this is a GTD tip. If you can get something done in 2 minutes, do it, don’t put it on a list or stick it in your calendar.
  3. Don’t let the urgent get in the way of the important: just because someone wants you to do something fast doesn’t mean that thing is a priority. Sometimes you need to say no to the other person’s priority to stay on track with yours.
  4. If it will help you learn it’s probably worth doing: keep enlarging your world. It is never a waste of time to meet new people or learn new things.
  5. Question the usefulness of “inbox zero”: this correlates to #3. Just because you’re being emailed about something doesn’t make it important. But remember #2, a quick email you dash off that completely resolves an issue is productive. (But beware the email that generates 10 more!)

I’ll report back on how this works for me. What tips really work for you?

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